Let me confess that for years when I heard people say at the end of their sermons, or smaller stories and messages, “All glory to God!” I really did not know exactly what they meant. I understood the idea of giving God credit for something, so maybe that much I understood. But beyond that, I did not really get it. I didn’t think I could say it with them, and know what I really meant. To be honest, I feel embarrassed.
Since then, I have learned some stuff, namely, more of the Bible. While I do not think I can easily sum up what any verse is talking about when the Bible mentions God’s glory, there is one thing I have learned about God and His glory, and that is that Christ and him crucified is the blazing center of the revealed glory and beauty of God (I think John Piper may use that phraseology, “blazing center,” so lets give credit where it is due).
Galatians 1:1-5 connects, if you will, the glory of God and the cross of Jesus Christ. Verses 1-5 makes up Paul’s introduction to the churches in Galatia. He begins like this: “Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Paul gets right to the core of his letter, and the whole Bible for that matter, when he takes us to Jesus, dying on a cross for our sins, and rising from the dead. Paul immediately begins preaching the gospel to the Galatians, who had begun to doubt whether or not the grace of God was sufficient for their salvation and life with God. Paul wastes no time. He goes right where the Galatians need to go: back to the cross where Jesus shows the immense and inexhaustible love of God for broken, messed up sinners like you and me.
In verse 4, Paul says that the cross of Christ was “according to the will of our God and Father“. Who thought up putting Jesus on the cross? The Jews? Well, yes. The Romans? Well, yes. But ultimately, who thought up putting Jesus on the cross before the Jews and Romans? God. In eternity past, God made a plan, and Jesus voluntarily submitted (is that the right word?) to that plan, to die on a cross for sinners like you and me. Brilliant and beautiful.
Then Paul ends by saying, “to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Ok, we have made it to the point of this blog. I think there is an unmistakable connection here between the cross of Christ and the glory of God. We understand the cross as the ultimate revealing of God’s grace and love for sinners. The glory of God? We don’t understand that so much. But Paul’s words here help us understand God’s glory.
When we think of the glory of God, the immeasurable greatness of God, the inexhaustible perfections and beauties of God, our mind should go to the cross of Christ. Nowhere is God more fully revealed in his holiness, love, grace, kindness, justice, and mercy than at the cross of Jesus, where our sin was dealt with on Christ justly, and yet not on us graciously. This is the beautiful character of God revealed to us, which in one sense is the glory of God revealed to us.
The reason I relate who God is to what God’s glory is has to do with when Moses asked to see God’s glory in Exodus 33. God responded to him by saying, “I will make all my goodness pass before you“. The goodness of God is the glory of God in this case. And the goodness of God is revealed most in the cross of Jesus.
Who thought up this plan of Jesus dying? God. Who accomplished this plan? God. Did we do anything? No, nothing but contribute the problem, our sin. Therefore, who deserves all the thanks, all the worship, all the trust, all the fame, and all the credit? God. When I look to the cross, I can’t help but know God is glorious and that all glory is to be to Him. Do you want to see God’s glory? Look to the cross of Jesus, where God saves sinners.