Summary: God's glory shine through the brokenness of our lives when we let Him be the center of our lives.
Last Sunday we began again a focus on the glory of God, and I skipped the video I had planned to share (which we first saw last September), so I want to begin there today. It helps us with the review: what is “the glory of God”? It is the words of Pastor-theologian John Piper, (play video embedded in powerpoint) from http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/what-is-gods-glory
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
What is God's glory?
Wow. That's a good question, because we talk about it endlessly, don't we? And we should know what we're talking about. And yet it is very difficult to define. I'll make a stab at it.
The reason it is so important is because in the Bible I don't know of any truth that is more fundamentally pervasive than God's zeal to be glorified, which means his zeal for us so to think, so to feel, and so to act as to make him look as glorious as he is. We don't add to his glory.
So we want to make God's glory shine. We want to make it visible. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). So the goal of my life should be to so live that when people know me well enough, they would say, "God is glorious!" Not "John is glorious," but "God is glorious!" (Which is probably why God lets us sin as much as he does. But that's another question.)
What is it? I believe the glory of God is the going public of his infinite worth. I define the holiness of God as the infinite value of God, the infinite intrinsic worth of God. And when that goes public in creation, the heavens are telling the glory of God, and human beings are manifesting his glory, because we're created in his image, and we're trusting his promises so that we make him look gloriously trustworthy.
The public display of the infinite beauty and worth of God is what I mean by "glory," and I base that partly on Isaiah 6, where the seraphim say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his—" and you would expect them to say "holiness" and they say "glory." They're ascribing "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his—" and when that goes public in the earth and fills it, you call it "glory."
So God's glory is the radiance of his holiness, the radiance of his manifold, infinitely worthy and valuable perfections.
“the going public of God’s infinite worth”.
There is a section in the middle of the book of 2 Corinthians which really zeros in on this idea of the glory of God, which we began to study together last week. I’ve mapped it out like this:
Glory Experienced: 2 Cor 3:7-4:6 Jan 20
Glory Internalized: 2 Cor 4:7-16a Jan 27
Glory Produced: 2 Cor 4:16b-5:10 Feb 3
Glory Shared: 2 Cor 5:11-6:2 Feb 10
For the next two Sundays Pastor Garret and Pastor Sue are going to tackle the last bit of chapter 4 and all of chapter 5, and I’m excited that we will get to hear their perspectives on the glory of God and I think that will be rich for us.
Last week we saw the rather amazing truth that God has now chosen to “go public with his infinite worth” through us – through our transformed lives. God’s glory is no longer displayed like Moses and the Israelites experienced it, it is now experienced by us and by the world at large through one another, and the glory of God is something we need to internalize – to allow to penetrate deep within us, and to transform us as we allow and cooperate with the Holy Spirit who indwells us and transforms us from within. That is where today’s passage takes us. I’m going to pick up from where we ended last week in vs 5.
2 Cor 4:5-16a
5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.