The purpose of this study is to introduce the concept of glorification relative to a Christian in the New Testament church. We will define, examine scriptures, and extract the basic truths of glorification to heighten our understanding of it.
GLORIFY means to give glory, honor, or high praise to; exalt. To give glory to, especially through worship.
GLORY means Great honor, praise, or distinction accorded by common consent; renown. Something conferring honor or renown. Adoration, praise, and thanksgiving offered in worship.
"To give glory" is to praise, to recognize the importance of another, the weight the other carries in the community. In the Psalms people give such glory to God, that is they recognize the essential nature of His Goodness that gives Him importance and weight in relationship to the human worshiping community.
GLORIFICATION is the act of glorifying or the state of being glorified
WORSHIP means the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object. Ardent devotion; adoration.
Human response to the perceived presence of the divine, a presence which transcends normal human activity and is holy. We worship God for who He is.
PRAISE One of humanity’s many responses to God’s revelation of Himself. An expression of approval, commendation, or admiration. We praise God for what He has done.
We will use the following definition of glorification: The act of giving great honor and praises to God usually in worship.
Let’s examine some scriptures in the Bible that refer to glorification.
(Psalms 34:3 NIV) Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.
The term ‘glorify’ in this scripture refers to magnifying or lifting up God. That could also mean to boast about God in praise and worship
(Psalms 63:3 NIV) Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
The word ‘glorify’ in this verse refers to praise (aloud). David will praise God because of his love.
(Psalms 69:30 NIV) I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
The term thanksgiving means gratitude directed towards God (except Luke 17:9; Acts 24:3; Rom. 16:4), generally in response to God’s concrete acts in history. The term ‘glorify’ in this verse refers to magnifying as in lifting up in praise. Therefore, David will lift up or magnify God by giving thanks.
(Psalms 86:12 NIV) I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
The term ‘glorify’ in this verse refers to the weightiness (importance to David and people in general) of God. The term ‘name’ refers to the very character and authority of God. God’s name was God because it represented who God was. This is why the Hebrew people were so meticulous about using the name of the Lord.
(Daniel 4:34 NIV) At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
(Daniel 4:37 NIV) Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
The above two scriptures record the praises that came from Nebuchadnezzar after he "regained his sanity." The ‘glorified’ and ‘glorify’ refers to the uplifting or exaltation of God.
(Luke 1:46 NIV) And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord
Here Mary states that her soul exalts the Lord. That is, here inner being exalts the Lord.
(Luke 2:20 NIV) The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The shepherds here begin to praise and exalt God after they witnessed the things concerning the birth of Jesus.
(John 7:39 NIV) By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
The term ‘glorified’ here refers being full of glory, honor, or to magnify.
(John 8:54 NIV) Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.
As one cannot rightfully exalt himself, so Jesus does not glorify himself. The glory that Jesus would get would be induced by the Father or come from God.
(John 11:4 NIV) When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."
Jesus would be glorified by the glory of God from the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Both God and the son would obtain praises and worship because of the miracle of resurrection.
(John 21:19 NIV) Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
This scripture implies that Peter’s martyrdom would bring glory to God.
(Romans 8:30 NIV) And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Paul teaches here that those who are justified, that is made righteous, were also glorified by God.
(1 Peter 2:12 NIV) Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Here we see an implication that our lives can cause the pagans to glorify God.
Ways We Glorify God
We saw in the above scriptures that God can be glorified by our lifestyle or the things that we do. The following are just some areas that we can be conscious of to glorify God in.
The way we behave among others - People will associate our behavior with that of a Christian and therefore God. So if we have a good behavior then we bring glory to God because the good behavior can be attributed to the Spirit of God within.
Our attitude - Having a good and positive attitude can also bring glory to God. A person that is not always down in spirits but is consistently hopeful, positive, and optimistic will tend to draw people to inquire about the source of this positive attitude.
The way we handle adversity - Do we crumble under pressure and lash out at people when things go awry? Doing so will not bring glory to God. However, a person who can handle adversity without offending others or "losing it" can bring glory to God because of the self control aspect of the person’s attitude.
Fair and upright business practices - Glory to God can originate from the way you handle your business. A well run business can demonstrate the power and effectiveness of the Spirit of God in a business owner’s life.
Praise and Worship - Of course praising God and worship God glorifies Him in the sense that you are directly declaring his righteousness, thanking him, etc. Praise and worship should be understood as an activity and not a church service thing. Some of us are conditioned to believe that praise and worship means singing certain types of songs. However, praise and worship are proclamations of God and/or what he has done. We can praise God by simply stating what he has done for us to others. This brings glory to God. We can worship God sitting down on our jobs and recollecting who God is and who he is to us.
Helping others - Helping others can bring glory to God as long as you make it known that you are acting on behalf of God who wants to help you.
Many other ways - There are many other ways that you can bring glory to God. Whatever exalts, honors, or magnifies God gives him glory. So,
(1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV) "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
There are some major points that we notice upon reviewing the scriptures above.
- We can give glory to God through praise and worship
- God is glorified in Jesus (His death and resurrection)
- God can be glorified in the things that we do or the way that we live
- We are glorified by Jesus Christ
God wants us to glorify, that is, honor him. To God be the glory, honor, and praise.
(c) 1997, 2001 William R. Cunningham