Glorifying God Isn’t What We Think, continued

You’ve seen it, maybe even said it. A young child in a situation apart from his parent, acts in an especially responsible way, and an adult responds by saying, Your mama raised you right, or some such thing. The child was the one who did the good deed, but the parent was the one receiving the honor.

I believe that scenario best shows the way “glorify” is used most often in the New Testament.

One definition of the Greek word doxazō which is most often translated as glorify is this: “to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged.” As I see it, that definition best fits the context of the verses related to people glorifying God.

Because of the miracles Jesus performed, people who witnessed them acknowledged God’s dignity and worth. Because of our good works, people around us will acknowledge God’s dignity and worth.

Here are some general observations then.

1) The Christian can glorify God but can also do good works that cause others to glorify Him.
2) Good deeds don’t themselves glorify God; instead, they give others the opportunity to glorify Him.
3) Glorifying God is a “third party” activity. The one doing the good works isn’t the one giving glory.
4) Glorifying God is something done for a visible act, not a private, personal attitude.
5) If God is to be glorified, those watching have to see and recognize, not only the act, but God as the source behind it.
6) Glorifying God is more than calling attention to Him because people can do so in a negative way — it is showing Him in the best light possible.

The Christian isn’t limited to glorifying God. That may sound strange, but I think this is the crux of what I’ve discovered. “Glorifying God” has become a catch-all phrase for every time a Christian mentions God’s name.

I wouldn’t be surprised if those people picketing funerals with horrible signs proclaiming God’s judgment think they are glorifying Him. They are not. Even if they are saying something true, their lack of love and compassion does not magnify God.

Athletes who say they want to praise to God in an after-game interview aren’t giving God glory. I’m not saying they shouldn’t identify themselves as people who believe in and follow Jesus Christ, but the fact that they make that public statement is no different than me putting a license plate frame on my car that said “Jesus is Lord.”

After so identifying, what comes next is what matters. Good works? Or behavior that defames God’s name?

And writers? I think I’m ready to tackle that question next.

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Other posts in this series include “Glorifying God Means What Exactly?”, “More Thoughts About Glorifying God,” and “Glorifying God Isn’t What We Think.”

Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 Comments

  1. One definition of the Greek word doxazō which is most often translated as glorify is this: “to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged.” As I see it, that definition best fits the context of the verses related to people glorifying God.

    I agree with much of this post. What I think I’m chafing at is that you seem to be saying if others don’t glorify God when I do a good work then my good work didn’t glorify God.

    I can’t be responsible for how others react to my good work. I am still glorifying God, before the members of the Trinity, before the angels and demons, and before myself when I do good works. There will come a day when every knee will bow. There will come the “day of the Lord’s visitation” and in that day the pagan’s will glorify God because of our good works.

    2) Good deeds don’t themselves glorify God; instead, they give others the opportunity to glorify Him.
    3) Glorifying God is a “third party” activity. The one doing the good works isn’t the one giving glory.

    I glorify God when I do good works. My acts do glorify God. Otherwise the command that we glorify God in our body has no meaning at all. It doesn’t matter what the context is, it is clear that we can glorify God in our bodies.

    4) Glorifying God is something done for a visible act, not a private, personal attitude.
    Visible before men or angels or both?

    You say that glorifying God is “done for a visible act” so I guess you mean the act is not glorifying but the response from others is glorifying God. Is that right? You say the person’s response to the visible act is what glorifies God, but my response if it is personal and private is not glorifying God. Am I reading you correctly?

    5) If God is to be glorified, those watching have to see and recognize, not only the act, but God as the source behind it.

    When will they see? Not all men will see now. But one day they will see that God is the source of all light and life and goodness. God didn’t appear to be glorified at the cross. Many hurled insults at Him as he hung there naked and dying. But it was his moment of greatest glory before the angels (Colossians 2:15), and before men who could see. Did Jesus worry about the response of others or did he just obey and glorify God by his obedience?

    6) Glorifying God is more than calling attention to Him because people can do so in a negative way — it is showing Him in the best light possible.

    Is glorifying God, then, calling attention to him in a good way or the way people respond when we call attention to him in a good way? I’m not understanding what you believe.

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  2. I like the definition, although it seems as though it is geared more for glorifying people rather than God. It seems woefully inadequate when attempting to make manifest and acknowledge the dignity and worth of God. Even all the synonyms for dignity and worth put together are insufficient. Maybe the act and fact of glorifying God transcends our feeble attempts to define it. And why should we? It is already defined in His Word.

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  3. Wait . . . (tapping my foot!) you still haven’t gotten around to writers? 😉 I’ll be back.

    Thanks for thinking this through!

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