Before the beginning, there was God and since there was God in all his many perfections, there was the outshining of those many perfections, that unapproachable light, that we now call his glory.
The very idea of God’s glory, a reality that exists only as the product of God’s absolute perfection, is hard for us to fathom. Actually, that is the reason God created everything (including us), to magnify his glory, to give us object lessons in creation that reveal something of his glory.
Elsewhere I have written of how the rainbow is an object lesson in God’s condescension to reveal his glory to us in smaller pieces since we cannot approach the light of his glory directly. When the light of the sun, which is relatively unapproachable, shines through the prism of water drops in the sky, the light is broken into its component colors allowing us to see some of the dimensions of the glory of the light of the sun.
To the praise of his glory
It is a humbling reality that we who have been redeemed by his grace should be the cause of praise to God’s glory. Twice Paul uses this phrase in Ephesians 1: 12 & 14.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:11-12
Then again in verses 13-14,
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:13-14
God’s purpose (v. 11) is to magnify his own glory. Paul states that he and the others who were the first to trust Christ and gain an inheritance in Christ, were to the praise of his glory. Then he goes on to say that to the Ephesians who also heard the word of truth and trusted christ are to the praise of his glory. Our salvation is not God’s greatest concern, his glory is. The beauty for us is that by his grace we are in Christ and his salvation working out in us produces praise of God’s glory, the outshining of his many perfections of which his glorious grace is one.
Glory in the church forever
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21
If we are indeed honest about ourselves, we know we are sinful beings and undeserving of the goodness of God. There is nothing in us that would bring praise to God’s glory. Even on my best days, I have to admit that I have had a heart that has departed from unadulterated passion for God. I have idols that get in the way, much to my chagrin. I put forth my half-hearted efforts to tear them down but they seem to be erected once again shortly afterwards.
The beauty of the grace of God, and why Paul calls it the glorious grace, is that it is grace, not works; it is God’s working in us that produces God’s glory. It is not of our own doing and it may not be seen clearly yet, but it is there and the Apostle writes that it will be “throughout all generations, forever and forever. Amen.”
We are being transformed “from one degree of glory to another…” – 2 Corinthians 3:18