To God Be the Glory

What is the meaning of life? Man has pondered this question throughout the ages and has arrived at many answers. Some have said that the meaning of life is to do good. Others say it is to be happy. Still others say it is to advance the knowledge and wellbeing of man and to contribute positively to society. There are many who say that life is meaningless because they believe man is nothing but a highly evolved animal and the product of chance, random, natural processes. All answers such as these, which are derived from the wisdom and philosophy of man, are unsatisfying and inadequate.

To children of God, the meaning of life has been made clear and simple. In Isaiah 43:6-7, God spoke of His sons and daughters and described them as "everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made." From these words, we see that those who wear the name of God have been created for the express purpose of bringing glory to Him. They are not the results of random, natural processes, but instead they are the purposeful creation of an infinitely wise Creator. He fearfully and wonderfully made them (Ps. 139:14) with the intent that they would bring glory to Him.

Let us consider carefully what it means to bring glory to God. The word "glory" in the New Testament comes from the Greek word doxa(δόξα), which is from the root word dokeō(δοκέω). Dokeō is a verb that means "I think." Thus, to bring glory to God is to cause people to think about Him. When we glorify God, we are bringing attention to Him and enhancing His reputation among men. God is glorified when we cause men to think highly of Him with honor, fear, awe, wonder, affection, thanksgiving, faith, hope, trust, and any other quality that exalts Him in their hearts.

With this understanding of what it means to bring glory to God, we who are children of God in Christ must make it our goal to do those things that will cause others to think positively and correctly of our God. The Lord Jesus instructed us, saying, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). Notice that we shine our light by doing good works. Truly, God created us in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10) so that by doing them we will bring glory to Him. Not only should our works glorify God, but our words should bring Him glory as well. Our lips should speak unceasing words of praise as indicated by Psalm 35:28 ("And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praise all day long") and Psalm 146:2 ("I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being"). Our words should always be in harmony with the "doxology" (lit. "glory words") of Jude 24-25:

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Indeed, the glorification of God is life's purpose for the children of God, but what about those who are not called by His name? Their purpose is the same, for it is God's will that they should become His children as well. God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Tim. 2:4). He is "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2Pet. 3:9). When any man or woman comes to the knowledge of the truth and comes to repentance, he or she will be "born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God" (1Pet. 1:23). As newborn children of God, such persons will be adopted "as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:5-6). Thus, all people have the God-given purpose of becoming His children, putting on His name, and bringing glory to Him. He has made this possible for all of us through Christ Jesus.

Therefore, let us make it our ambition to bring glory to God. Let us do good works as God has prescribed so that the minds of men will be directed toward God. Even if evil men will not turn to God in this life, we are assured that our good deeds will cause them to "glorify God in the day of visitation" (1Pet. 2:12). Let us also speak in such a way that will constantly remind others of God. Rather than avoiding the mention of God's name for fear of offending unbelievers, it is Christians' responsibility to bring God to the attention of all men, whether they believe in Him or not. In both words and deeds, we may fulfill our purpose in life, and we may have the privilege of being able to say, "And they were glorifying God because of me" (Gal. 1:24). Truly, nothing better could be said of anyone.

Stacey E. Durham


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