WHAT IS HUMAN?

CALLED BACK TO GLORY

Humans were created for glory. This is clear in the first chapter of the Bible where God deliberately created us in his image, and gave us dominion over the rest of his creation [Genesis 1:26-28].

This original and perfect human glory was always a derived glory, and a dependent glory.

Any ‘image’ takes its significance from the real thing it represents. Because God himself is totally glorious, humans, created in his image, were created to reflect and display that divine glory.

Human dominion was a given dominion, declared and authorised by God. It was neither automatic nor innate. Set in the original context of perfection it was also a flawless dominion.

It is God himself who is our glory [Psalm 3:3 KJV; Jeremiah 2:11].

It is for this glory that we were created [Isaiah 43:7].

Genesis 3 records the harsh details of the loss of this glory. In rejecting God, in seeking to attract glory to ourselves and to promote our own glory, we despised and discarded the glory that was ours by virtue of God’s creative word and by God’s defining decree in that original, unbroken human relationship with God. From this point onwards humans ‘fall short of the glory of God’ [Romans 3:23] for which, and with which, we were created.

From this point on we seek glory here, there and everywhere – in our brawn or our beauty, in our babies, in our bank balance, in our heritage, in our achievements, in our work, even in our illnesses and our misadventures, in exalting ourselves and belittling others, in our goodness and in our wickedness. We crave for glory, for significance. But there is always disappointment, there is always a sense of incompleteness, even when our goals have been achieved, even when our fellow humans honour us.

And all the time God is calling us back to himself. In calling us back to himself he is also calling us back to glory, back to that original glory that is derived from him and granted by him.

He calls us ‘to his eternal glory’ [1Peter 5:10].

He calls us through the gospel that we ‘might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ’ [2Thessalonians 2:14].

He calls us ‘into his kingdom and glory’ [1Thessalonians 2:12].

The gospel of Jesus Christ was ‘destined for our glory before time began’ [1Corinthians 2:7].

This restoration to glory, like the original created glory, derives from God:

‘In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath, for the remnant of his people’ [Isaiah 28:5].

‘… God himself will be your glory’ [Isaiah 60:19].

Jesus Christ gives his own glory to those who believe in him [John 17:22].

Christ in us is ‘the hope of glory’ [Colossians 1:27].

As we look at Jesus Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit continually transforms us into his likeness with ever-increasing glory [2Corinthians 3:18].

Unlike the glory that we try to gain for ourselves, this glory is not always obvious. It is a veiled glory, hidden under the ordinariness and weakness of our lives, just as the glory of the incarnate Son of God was hidden by his humanity to all eyes except the eyes of faith.

The time is coming when the glory of Christ will be seen by all. And at that time the true glory of all who belong to him will also be seen:

‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ [Colossians 3:4].

‘We know that when he appears, we shall be like him …’ [1John 3:2].

‘… our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’ [Romans 8:18].

In the meantime God commands us to be what we are, to express in our daily choices the glory to which he has recalled us:

‘… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven’ [Matthew 5:16].

‘… whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ [1Corinthians 10:31].

‘… to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!’ [Ephesians 3:21].

© Rosemary Bardsley 2013, 2016