“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Rom 11:36)
One of the major differences between Christians today and those who lived in previous centuries lies in the way that we think about God. The problem is that we are modern people, and one of the marks of our generation is that while we tend to think very highly of ourselves, as a rule we usually have small thoughts about God.
Yet Jonathan Edwards, in his spiritual classic, The Religious Affections, reminds us that the very foundation of a Christian’s delight is that, first, he rejoices in God as glorious and excellent in himself, and then second, he rejoices in the fact that so glorious a God is his.
In the verse above, Paul reminds us that it is the Christian’s duty and delight to give God the ‘glory’. Now the word ‘glory’ comes from the Hebrew word, kabod, which means ‘heavy’. The word was used to describe things that were heavy or big in a literal or physical sense. However, over time, it also came to be used to describe anyone who deserved honour or recognition. It was used for people of position, authority or influence – kings, warriors, and very wealthy men. In today’s language, we might use the term, ‘heavyweight’, to describe a person of such importance. Of course, in the eyes of the Bible writers, the greatest heavyweight of all is almighty God. There is no one greater than Him. No one has more power, influence, or capability. No one is more deserving of honour, recognition and praise. The question is ‘why?’.
Paul tells us that we must glorify God because all things are ‘from Him’. He is the source of the entire creation; nothing exists apart from Him. He was the one who planned it since there was no other from whom such a plan could come. Further, the realisation of the plan was ‘through Him’. That is, He’s not only the creator of the universe; He is also its sustainer. Finally, what was God’s purpose in creating and sustaining the universe? We think of the universe as being made for us, but here Paul tells us that creation was made for God’s glory. God did not create the world to promote His happiness, for He was eternally happy. He didn’t do it to add anything to Himself, for He is infinite. He did it so that He might be seen as God and receive the honour and praise that is due to Him.