The Glory Factor

Bible Book: Colossians  1 : 27
Subject: Glory of God; Life, Purpose of; Heaven; Salvation
Introduction

A business man said to me, “You know, image is everything today.” Image has always been important to human beings and building a proper image, for example, is a major factor in politics, business and even in the church. If your church has a bad reputation in the community, it is very difficult to reach people with the gospel or to keep the people you already have. A dirty building, unkept bathrooms, and other property problems can cause people to walk away. A bad image in the life of the leader can have an even greater negative effect. This involves what we might call "the glory problem".

Personally, we all deal with the image factor. We are concerned with how we look and what people think of us. Here is the question: Why does image really make a difference? You will hear people say, "I don't care what anybody thinks about me," and the moment you hear that, you know they are lying! It may seem strange to say, but we actually get the "image factor" from our Creator. He made us in His image and, whether we know it or not, we have all failed to live up to His image.

When we think about image, we need to think about the image the Creator has given us. We read in the Book of Genesis that we are created in the image of God. Some try to explain this by pointing out attributes of God that are found in us: Eternal existence; self-awareness; moral understanding, etc. Though it is true that these are characteristics of God that have been placed in us, there is something God gave us that only belongs to Him – GLORY. Look at Psalm 8:5, “You made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor…”

Adam and Eve enjoyed the glory of God in the Garden of Eden. They lived without an image problem because they were at home in the glory of God. In fact, the Bible clearly tells us that Adam “walked with God.” Wow! We cannot imagine what that was like. Adam and Eve did not have to worry about death or taxes. They were not worried, stressed, or troubled. They enjoyed the glory of God.

The songwriter penned:

“My God and I go in the field together;
We walk and talk as good friends should and do;
We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter;
My God and I walk through the meadow's hue.
We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter;
My God and I walk through the meadow's hue.
My God and I will go for aye together,
We'll walk, and talk, as good friends do;
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly .
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly.” (Austria A. Wihtol)

God crowned Adam and Eve with glory. What exactly does “glory” mean in that verse? Glory is one of those words, like the word “love,” that can be hard to define in one sentence. Yet we use the word glory from time to time. I had a church member at First Baptist Church, Lilburn, Georgia who when excited by a sermon point or especially after a great Christian song would say, “Well, glory!” Occasionally someone will say, of a person that has slipped away in death, “Well, we know he is in glory.” Does the word mean, “I’m excited?” Does the word glory mean heaven? What does it mean?

The word "glory" means the presence and power of God manifested to the people who trust Him. In the New Testament we read, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Christ in you speaks of the Redeemer indwelling the saved ones who have trust Him. The hope of glory speaks of the promise of being with Him forever. Christ in me and the promise of being with Him is the essence of glory.

But one great problem exists concerning this issue, because there is a glory problem in human beings. It is a serious, overwhelming, all-encompassing problem. How does this affect us? To understand it we need to go back and see a few things.

I. Glory Lost

First, I want us to consider glory lost. You see, God intended for us to live in the glory of His presence. God created Adam and Eve, placed them in the Garden of Eden and there He walked with them. God married them. They had no disagreements, no pain, and no problems – that was glory indeed.

Someone has said that there are three rings in marriage. First there is the Engagement Ring, then comes the Wedding Ring and at last comes the Suffering! Adam and Eve had no suffering.

I’m convinced that Adam and Eve had electrified taste buds and likely ate fruit that we have never tasted; fruit that was lost when they were forced from the Garden. They had all that fruit but were not satisfied. Our problem four humans is that we always think there is something out there better than that which God has provided. That was the problem Adam and Eve faced – they were looking for a glory they wanted to create rather than enjoying the glory God had given them.

We all know the story. Eve ate the fruit of the one tree which God had forbidden, Adam joined here, and the glory was gone. They hid from God in the Garden. God came to Adam and asked, “Adam, Adam, where are you, Adam?” God didn’t ask about the whereabouts of Adam out of ignorance concerning his location; he asked Adam that question so that Adam could see his own place – crouching among the shrubs in the Garden. Adam had gone from the glory of walking with God to squatting down among the leaves trying to hide himself.

A great separation had taken place when Adam and Eve sinned. Adam and Eve were not the same with each other, they were not the same with the place where they lived, and most importantly, they were not the same with the God who loved them and made them. They were removed from the Garden of Eden. The glory – the full glory meant for them – was lost.

Look at Romans 3:23 – ‘…and fall short of the GLORY of God.’ Mankind lost the glory that day. In sin we lost the meaning of our existence. We lost our significance. Man wanted to satisfy his hunger outside of God’s will and you cannot satisfy your human longings outside of God. It can’t be done!

The glory was gone! Ichabod can be written over every human heart without Jesus Christ. The glory has departed!

II. Glory Sought

Every person knows that something is missing in life. As good as life is, as a wonderful as some moments can be, we all know that something isn’t right! Something is missing.

Look at two babies in a play pen. One will see the other with a rattle in his hand and a fight will break out. One thinks, “If I can get that out of his hand, I will be happy.” Screaming and crying starts, mom comes in and no one is happy. What are those two babies looking for? Glory! The glory is not in that baby rattle, but they think it is.

We all want to be important and we compare ourselves to other people. We want to be significant. However, when someone brags on something we have done, we usually wave it off. We try to deny that we want the praise. Actually, we love it! Why? Because we were made for glory, it is just a fact that God made you for glory. Of course the glory he made us for cannot be found in the praise of mankind or the possession of things.

Sadly, our world today is seeking glory while trying to remove God. The human family is convinced that fulfillment can only be achieved if they can get rid of God and all the restraints that religion applies to our lives.

Let me show you what happens when God is rejected. In what family did the first murder take place on earth? The family of Adam and Eve - the first family on earth. After leaving the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had two sons. Their son Cain killed his brotehr Abel! Brother killed brother. It is like one had a baby rattle that the other didn’t have – if you know what I mean! Cain didn't like the glory that Abel had with God, so he killed him.

Even among those of us who know the Lord, there is a danger of seeking glory somewhere besides the love and salvation we have in Christ. It is dangerous. If you don’t believe it, just look at the religion leaders who have fallen into grave sin even though they are at the top of world in terms of income, popularity and power.

So, we see in the story of Adam and Eve that the human family lost the glory they were meant to have – the glory of a living relationship with the Creator.

But look with me at something wonderful ...

III. Glory Found

In the search for glory, humans try many things, but there is only one place the glory that was lost can finally be found. Glory is found in the person of Jesus Christ. He came to redeem us from the loss suffered by mankind at Eden and He came to give us the divine glory that was planned for us before the foundation of the world.

When a person turns from sin and receives Jesus as Savior, that individual is united with Christ, who is in the hand of God. We are in the hand of the Savior, who is in the hand of the Father, and thereby we have double indemnity from damage of loss!

John 10:27-30 reads: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

When we are saved, God forgives us, writes our names in heaven, and places His Spirit in us. What a day that is! It is glorious!

People all over the world are seeking glory. Even the men who flew into the twin towers in New York City back in 2001 were looking for glory! They wanted to be remembered among Muslims for what they did. They wanted Allah to honor them. You see, they were making a huge mistake. We cannot create the glory God meant for us to have. It is His glory. He alone can give it. We cannot earn it. We can only repent of our sins and trust what He did for us at Calvary! His glory is a gift!

Ephesians 2:8-9 reads: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Aha! There it is! “…lest anyone should boast.” It is not in our realm of possibility to find true “glory” in our own strength. All the glory of man will collapse one day and pass away. All the great wealth, the great buildings, the achievements of mankind, will be destroyed. What a person receives when he or she turns through faith to receive God’s grace and salvation will never be lost. That is true GLORY!

So, we have glory in us once we are saved, but are we in glory? No, we are not. In this world we will continue to have tribulation. Yes, we have glory in us but we are not yet in glory.

Look at Colossians 1:24-27: “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Paul said that he was going through suffering on the way to the ultimate ‘glory.’ The hope of glory is in me! I am not in glory, but glory is in me. We can’t judge situations NOW. We must wait for another day to come in order to see glory completed.

Paul kept his heart fixed on the Lord and the promises of glory which stretched out before him. Even in prison at Rome, he was able to write the words found in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Whether ship-wrecked, beaten, imprisoned or stoned by his enemies, Paul kept his eyes on the coming glory.

That is our challenge as believers – keep our eyes on the Lord and His promises to us. His glory is in us and greater glory is awaiting us.

IV. Glory Experienced

Yes, one day we will experience the full, complete and amazing glory of God’s presence. Listen to what Paul penned in Romans 8:18: “I considered that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY which shall be revealed in us.” {Emphasis mine]

Whatever you are going through today as a Christian, no matter how difficult, cannot be compared to the glorious kingdom of God awaiting you.

We will see the Throne of God described in Revelation 4.

We will sing with the great redeemed choir, “Worthy is the Lamb,” as recorded in Revelation 5.

We will see that old serpent, the one who first tempted Eve and Adam to sin, and stole their glory, we will see Him cast into the Lake of Fire forever.

Conclusion

We are on our way to glory.

The songwriter penned:

“On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.
I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.
When I shall reach that happy place,
I'll be forever blessed,
For I shall see my Father's face,
And in His bosom rest.
I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land. (Samuel Stennett, 1787)

Is there someone here today who is tired of looking for the meaning of life in all the wrong places? Do you want to know the glory meant for you in this life and the life to come? Come and go with us, we are bound for the Promised Land! You can know Jesus as your Savior today.