God’s Economy (3)
“For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2.14
The glory of God
The glory of God in every aspect of life is the end toward which God’s economy is unfolding. As the Son of Man goes forth each day in the field of the world, His aim is to bring glory to the Father. He glorified God while He was on the earth, through the work God gave Him to do, and now He is continuing to seek His glory through the work of those who labor with Him amid the tares of this secular age.
To be sure, the glory of God will not be fully realized until God Himself brings it in with the new heavens and new earth. In the meantime, however, Christians, to whom the stewardship of the divine economy has been entrusted, have been charged with seeking to do all things in such a way as to bring glory to God (1 Cor. 10.31).
There is not a facet of our lives, not a nook or cranny of the cosmos where God does not intend that His glory should shine forth. Indeed, even now He is showing His glory in created things, and even in aspects of the culture that human beings make to meet their own needs (Ps. 19.1-4; Ps. 68.18, cf. Eph. 4.8-10). God is manifesting His glory; the task of those entrusted with the divine economy is to discern that glory and make it known (Prov. 25.2).
Making God’s glory known
But what does that entail?
The glory of God is the manifestation of God’s presence, glimpsed through created things, as they capture, refract, and radiate His beauty, goodness, and truth through their own unique features and functions. Every human being has an innate sense of beauty, goodness, and truth. That’s not to say that human beings agree on these matters, just that they all have a sense of them. This is because, as we have seen, all people are made in the image and likeness of God, and the knowledge of God is inherent in them. The ultimate standard of beauty, goodness, and truth is God Himself. He is all beauty, goodness, and truth, and He makes His character and presence known through the creation and culture with which we are surrounded all day long.
Our task, as those charged with working are part of God’s field, is to observe, draw out, exemplify, point out, explain, and pursue the glory of God in every aspect of life.
Think of this charge in terms of the relationships, roles, and responsibilities that fill our daily lives. In all our relationships, in our cultural activities, our conversations, families, vocations, and diversions – what will it look like, and how will it appear to others when the glorious presence of God is being manifested through us?
Certainly there will be manifestations of beauty – things that demonstrate right proportion, wholesome and pleasing patterns, edifying tendencies and proclivities, and things which bring wholesome pleasure and delight to others.
We would also expect to find evidence of remarkable goodness, like the Lord Jesus Christ is good – looking out for others, serving their needs, accomplishing works and projects that bring health, happiness, and wholesomeness to others.
Moreover, we will strive to make sure that all our efforts are bathed with truth, grounded in the Word of God and reflective of the character of Jesus Christ Himself. Nothing of deceit, nothing misleading or equivocal, nothing to confuse or subvert should be part of our way of life.
Beauty, goodness, and truth will thus attach to all that we are becoming, everything we do, and everything and everyone we touch. Our presence in this secular age, and the work we do in the Lord’s field, will declare a hope of glory that the people we encounter will not be able to deny.
Refracting God’s glory
Everything in our lives can be a means of refracting the glory of God to the people around us, of drawing out and highlighting elements of His everywhere-presence through some word or work of beauty, goodness, or truth. But this will not simply happen.
We will have to study the glory of God, and give ourselves to meeting with God in His glory until the glory that shines from His face begins to affect and transform us in every aspect of our lives (2 Cor. 4.6; 2 Cor. 3.12-18).
For until we know the glory of God – His beauty, goodness, and truth impacting us soul and body, day by day – we will not be able to show that glory to the watching world. This is our charge, and, while – as Solomon insisted (Eccl. 1.13) – this is a difficult task, it is one which, as we give ourselves diligently to it, we may certainly expect to realize.
The end of the materialist, narcissist, utilitarian economy of our secular age is the vaunting and pleasing of self. In the unfolding and expanding economy of God, as the good seed of the Kingdom bears fruit in sector after sector of that field, the glory, majesty, splendor, beauty, goodness, and truth of God will increasingly impact and transform every aspect of life.
1. How do you experience the glory of God, as He makes His presence known to you?
2. How can we do our work – all the work we’ve been given to do – in such a way as to radiate the hope of glory we have in Jesus Christ?
3. What are some things you might do to increase your understanding of the beauty, goodness, and truth of God? Why is it important to understand these?
Next steps – Conversation: How much of beauty, goodness, and truth can you identify in your life at this time? Talk with a Christian friend about this question. See if together you can come up with some areas where you might increase in showing the glory of God to those around you.
T. M. Moore
For a complete study of the unseen realm, order our study guide, The Landscape of Unseen Things (click here).
For a more developed view of the Kingdom, and of the Gospel of the Kingdom, order a copy of our book The Kingdom Turn (click here) or The Gospel of the Kingdom (click here). You can download a free PDF of Vocational Disciplines, a complement to this week’s study (click here).
We look to the Lord to provide for our needs, and He does so through those who are served by this ministry. Please prayerfully consider becoming a supporter of The Fellowship of Ailbe with your financial gifts. You can send your tax-free contribution to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452, or use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.