(Friends: Most Saturdays for the duration of this year, I plan on sharing a message that relates to the character and nature of God, and our response thereunto. I hope you will find it helpful, and as always, thanks for allowing us to send the devotionals to you. Glen).
The Saturday Series - 20
"The Hope of Glory, the Hope of Goodness"
We find the most direct Biblical definition of God's glory in the episode of Moses requesting to see this aspect of his Lord's reality.
"And he said, I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory. And He said, I will make all My goodness pass before thee" (Exodus 33:18-19).
The Lord clearly equates glory with goodness. This identifies glory first as a character quality of God. He is glorious because He is good. He shines forth His glory as the fruit of His goodness. We are to glorify Him for the primary purpose of revealing the truth that "the Lord is good" (Psalm 100:5). Thus, to think of God's glory in its primary meaning directs us to the essence of who and what He is. This raises the question: what does Scripture mean when it declares that God is good?
Again, we find a beautiful ray of light in Moses' request and his subsequent experience of God's glory unveiled. "And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift (crevice) of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by: and I will take away Mine hand, and thou shalt see My back parts: but My face shall not be seen" (Exodus 33:22-23). Herein we see a beautiful foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose saving grace makes possible our relating to God despite the vast spiritual and moral gulf that exists between His character and ours.
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2).
Apart from the Lord Jesus, God's goodness would condemn us rather than give us "hope of the glory of God." True Goodness, if it created and sustains all things, could not relate to those dominated by the self-centered evil of sin. "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God" (Isaiah 59:2). A way must therefore be made whereby the gulf can be spanned and whereby God can relate to sinners without violating His holy character and nature. We must be hidden in the crevice of a rock, as it were. And we are, if we have believed in the Lord Jesus: "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). Through Christ, the glory of God can be known in a redeeming rather than destructive wonder of goodness. Moreover, our Lord institutes a process of change when we believe, conforming us more and more to the spiritual and moral image of God by His presence within us: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). We are hidden and made holy by the Lord Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit's working in us to transform us into the growing goodness of Christlikeness.
In His goodness, God exists in the perfectly unselfish purity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He greatly desires relationship with human beings, but again, He cannot violate His moral nature in so doing. Nor can we relate to Him directly without being destroyed. Thus, as the hymnwriter so beautifully expressed, "Rock of ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee." This is the Gospel of God's grace in the Lord Jesus, and the most beautiful revelation of His indescribable goodness. He hides us in Christ in order to have living and loving fellowship with us through Christ. Nothing more reveals the truth of His wondrous character, and nothing else will fill and fulfill our hearts with the hope of glory and the expectation of God's goodness.
"Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."
"There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
(I Timothy 2:5)
Weekly Memory Verse
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.