God’s plan has always been for the world to be full of people displaying His glory and character

God’s plan has always been for the world to be full of people displaying His glory and character. 

Adam and Eve were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) to display His glory and character.  They were given the command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28), and as they did, “the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).  Just as there is no part of the sea where there is no water, his plan was that God’s glory, His character would be found everywhere on this earth. 

The problem was that Adam and Eve failed to display God’s character.  Before they got going on filling the earth with other people who displayed His glory, they sinned, and God’s image was corrupted. 

But God’s plan to display His glory through gathering a people who would display His character was not over.  He chose to bless Abraham, making some wonderful promises, including a big family (a people, the nation of Israel), who He rescued from slavery in Israel, and gave them the law which revealed His character and the command.  God said: “I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). 

Israel was called to represent God, display His glory and character, so that as they obeyed God’s law, people saw what kind of God they followed.   So if you wanted to know what God is like, you looked at the people of Israel.  God wanted all the peoples of the world to look at the nation Israel so that they would come to know Israel’s God:  “See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it.  Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.  What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?  And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:5-8). 

Like Adam and Eve, Israel failed to display God’s character, so God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3), who represented God perfectly, He succeeded where Adam and Eve, and Israel failed and through His death restored the true image of God by gathering a people who would come to Him in repentance and faith, and He changes them so that they become more and more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). 

Through the church, “the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10-11) is being made known.  The church is a display of God’s glory in a messed up world and as they show His character, it is anticipated that this will lead to opportunities to share the gospel and conversions so that on the day Jesus returns others are found to be glorifying God (1 Peter 2:12). 

On that day God’s people will perfectly display His glory.  When Jesus “appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2), and then the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. The New Jerusalem will shine with the glory of God (Revelation 21:10-11), because all the people inhabiting the city will perfectly display God’s glory.

A Danger of Blogging

“We receive our ‘seductive applause’ almost immediately through hits, comments, Technocrati ratings and so on. If you desire the approval of your peers, or would-be peers, then you say the rights things, commend the right books, knock the wrong people and so on. Within a constituency it can all become dangerously self-reinforcing. We commend one another for echoing back the same thoughts. All the time, we feel we are part of the cogniscenti, the cabal of people who know what is right. But ‘on the last day we stand or fall on the approval of one Person, one Master, the Lord Jesus.”

(Tim Chester, One of the Dangers of Blogging)

The Glory of the Cross

What a wonderful little booklet ‘The Glory of the Cross’ by James Philip is!  With the main content of the book less than 30 pages, it can easily be read in one sitting, although it’s definitely worth taking your time and really thinking about what has been written.  

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Sinclair Ferguson is right when he writes in his foreword: “From time to time a publication appears, of modest size and author, its value greater than a whole bookshelf of contemporary bestsellers.  The Glory of the Cross falls in this category.”  From start to finish we have are taken to heart of the gospel and are reminded about how wonderful the cross of Christ is. 

James Philip takes us on a journey through the events of Jesus’ final 24 hours.  Starting in the upper room as Jesus and his disciples celebrate the Passover meal we then moved to his betrayal as Judas visits the high priest.  We then are taken to the Garden of Gethsemane which is followed by Jesus’ trial and the cross itself.  But more than just telling us the story, we are told the meaning behind the events and how this should lead us to worship and evangelism if we are gripped by the truth of the gospel. 

As the book closes we are remind of two important truths.  Firstly, that the cross must never been left out of our gospel message: “Without the cross there would be no gospel.”  And secondly, that all who bow before the cross find salvation: “The gospel transcends cultures and political divisions; it is for all, paying no regard to education or to wealth.  What was true of the centurion that afternoon is also true of Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60).  There could be no greater contrast between these two men: one a rough soldier, the other a rich Pharisee and counsellor of the Jews – yet at the cross they are both on the same level, and both found salvation.” 

I definitely agree with what the author says at the start about this book: “Lend it to friends; talk about it; but more importantly, let it lead you back into the scriptures – to reflect on the cross, and to rejoice in all that Christ’s death achieved.” 

Do the sensible thing and get a copy and marvel at what Jesus has done for you! 

‘The Glory of the Cross’ is available to buy HERE

Some more quotes from the book: