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What is glory?

God’s Glory

The Hebrew word for "glory" is from the same root word for "heavy/weighty". Glory refers to the sheer, mind-blowing, weightiness of God's presence. (And this metaphor fits with the extreme reactions of people in the Bible who get even a glimpse of God's glory. They are literally/physically blown-away, overcome, almost crushed at times as they glimpse the “weightiness of God”). As one might describe a King’s glory so the Bible tells us that God’s glory is so awesome that even the angels in heaven bow down on the ground before Him (see Revelation 19:1-2, 4).

Christ’s Glory

The Bible tells us that it is through Christ that we really see what God is like (see Colossians 1:15, or Hebrews 1:3). So through Jesus we see God’s glory in the flesh (see John 1:14). This is no surprise because in John 17:5 we read that Jesus shared in the glory of God since before the world was made. We also read that God the Father glorified the incarnate Jesus by raising Him from the dead (see 1 Peter 1:21). It is through the resurrection that we see who Jesus really is and recognise His “weightiness”.

Man’s Glory

The glory of man is that we were created in the image of the glorious Creator. When Adam and Eve sinned the glory of God reflected in man was marred or broken. The Bible says that since the fall man’s glory is passing and imperfect (see Isaiah 40:6). The good news of the Gospel is that through Jesus Christ we can be reconciled to God and will one day share in God’s glory as we were originally designed to (see 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15).

Experiencing Glory

In the Old Testament God’s presence with His people is sometimes described as “His glory” (see Ex 40:34-35). Christians know what it is to experience the Glory of God’s presence with them. Christians who repent from their sins and ask Jesus to be king of their lives receive the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell inside them (see 1 Cor 6:19). But believers also long for the new Creation when all those who trust in Jesus will physically share in His glory.