From Glory to Glory
I recently completed an “Operation World View” study with a group from my church. One of the lessons I learned is worth sharing. Besides, writing about it forces me to think through it so I better understand it. The lesson is all about glory and world missions. It’s all about the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20) from God’s point of view. It explains why God wants us to go and make disciples in every nation on earth.

Some see the Bible as an Operator’s Manual for successful living on planet Earth. To a degree, this is true, but at its core, the Bible is a story about God. Since we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we should try to see the Bible from His point of view instead of ours. When we do that, we see that the Bible is actually a love story that pictures God’s ultimate purpose for the universe-the production and preparation of an eternal companion for the Son, called the bride, a “wife” for the Lamb of God. God’s love for His people, however, is just the beginning. He then begins the process of transforming those who are part of Christ’s bride, the Church, into molded, pliable individuals who are better able to love Him back-individuals who will then worship Him with all their heart, soul mind and strength. The goal of the whole progression is worship. There’s a lot to digest in this brief paragraph, but here’s the bottom line:
God reveals His glory to all the nations of the earth so that He will receive glory from the people through worship.

While God is producing and preparing a bride of His Son, He is sending His glory on a round-trip journey. It flows in two directions. It flows down from heaven as He reveals His glory to all the nations. Then it flows back up to God as believers glorify Him through their worship.

We tend to see the salvation of lost people as the culmination of a process; it becomes an end in itself. What I learned from the study, however, was that the ultimate value of a new believer’s salvation is not seen in what he has been saved from. The real value is in what he has been saved for. He has been saved to serve God in worship. That’s the goal of every spiritual transformation. As I said earlier,

God reveals His glory to all the nations of the earth so that He will receive glory from the people through worship.

It’s all about God and His glory. We here on earth have the obligation to see that the glory God has revealed to us is sent back to Him. Our goal is to make disciples who will worship God with all their hearts. In case you think this whole idea is something some writer dreamed up, take a look at Psalm 96. God mandates a declaration of His glory to the nations in verses 2 & 3:

Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

After giving this eloquent portrayal of world evangelism, the psalmist goes on (in verses 7-9) to tell the purpose for world evangelism-returning God’s glory back to Him from the nations:

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Worship the Lord in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.

He is due. He sends it. He receives it back again. We must not interrupt the process. We must keep it going – from glory to glory.