The mission statement of Sound City Bible Church starts with the most important aspect of what it means to be human seeking to live according to God’s divine design – glorifying God. As the Westminster Confession puts it, “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
What Does “Glorify” Mean
“Glorify” is admittedly a hard word to define with precision, but it has to do with celebrating, honoring, with declaring something as valuable or beautiful or admirable. Here are a few common examples:
- When a concert hall gives a standing ovation for a masterful performance
- When we write poems about the beauty of nature
- When a stadium shouts and cheers for an amazing play
- When we can’t stop telling people about our favorite new restaurant
Honoring. Praising. Valuing. Celebrating. All of these are examples of “glorifying” someone or something. So why is glorifying God so important? Let’s look at a few passages from the bible that help us understand this massive theme.
Creation is About God’s Glory
Psalm 19:1 says that “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” When we see a beautiful sunset, when we are overwhelmed with the majesty of the mountains, when we catch our breath at the sign of the Grand Canyon – all of these are meant to point us to how powerful, glorious, and beautiful God is.
Mankind Was Created for God’s Glory
Isaiah 43:6b-7 says “[I will] bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (emphasis mine). Mankind occupies a unique space in God’s creation. We are intended to be reflections of God’s glory.
Always Reflecting God’s Glory
1 Corinthians 10:31 gives us this instruction: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Not only are we supposed to reflect God’s glory as created beings, but our actions – our every word, thought, deed, and motive – are supposed to display his glory as well.
In Romans 1:20-21, we see that sin is described as failing to give God the glory that he deserves: “For although they knew God, they did not honor [glorify] him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Additionally, the famous passage in Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Ever since the fall, mankind has failed in our duty to glorify God properly.
Jesus is the Glory of God
But then, Jesus shows up on the scene. Jesus is not only fully God, but he is also fully man, the true man, the man who would glorify God perfectly. Hebrews 1:3 says this about Jesus: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” What mankind has failed to do, Jesus has now done perfectly.
Restoring Broken Humanity
But God is not satisfied to just leave humanity alone, like broken mirrors who don’t accurately reflect God’s glory. No, because of Jesus’ perfect life, death and resurrection, God is now putting mankind back together so that we might reflect God’s glory more and more. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says it this way: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
This process of being put back together is called sanctification, and it literally takes a lifetime. None of us will be perfected on this side of eternity. However, when we understand all that God has done for us in Jesus, it causes our hearts to rejoice and to want to glorify him more and more.
The Westminster Confession, as noted above, also rightly makes the point that God’s glory and man’s greatest joy are not set in opposition each other, but are perfectly aligned. God has designed us such that he will be most glorified when we are most satisfied in him. God, then, is not some divine narcissist. Rather, he loves us and wants what’s best for us and what will bring us the greatest joy – and that’s him, and his ways, and his purpose for us.