How does God’s eternal punishment of the wicked cohere with His love? Why does God choose to punish people in this manner? The glory of God is the answer.
The Meaning of Life: Discover Your Purpose on Earth
Everyone wants to know why they exist and what purpose they serve on earth. Fortunately, God has not left this incredibly important question unanswered.
- Finding happiness?
- Achieving success?
- Living out our biologically determined fate and surviving the best we can?
- Whatever you want it to be?
- A complete mystery?
- There is no meaning to life?
Though humanity has come up with plenty of possible answers to the question, the real answer is:
None of the Above
The meaning of life is:
The Glory of God
That is going to take some explaining. To understand the meaning of life, you are going to have to accept a few things about reality. I can assure you that if you can’t accept this very first point, you will never understand the purpose of your life in God’s world.
How to Understand the Meaning of Life
To understand the meaning of life, I think it might be easiest to take things one step at a time since each of these truths builds off the one before it. Additionally, not understanding or accepting one of these truths affects the others. Let’s get started:
Step #1 – Understand Life Isn’t Ultimately About You, It is About God
Have you ever heard the saying, “The world does not revolve around you?” It is typically said to a person who is acting selfishly and without regard for other people, things, or purposes.
In order to understand your purpose in the world, you need to first tell yourself, “The world does not revolve around me.” If you can accept that fact, you can move on to accepting who the world really does revolve around.
God reveals to us in His word (the Bible), that the world does not revolve around us, but Him.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
– Romans 11:36
This verse from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Rome concludes 11 chapters of incredibly deep theology that covers God’s purposes in the first human (Adam) to the work of Jesus Christ and how His death and resurrection impacts both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles) – basically everyone. Paul ends this grand theological argument with the verse above – God made all things for the purpose of glorifying Himself.
Paul’s Main Point – The world, and all that is in it, is ultimately made by God and for God.
Accepting that all things are done by God and for God is a radical shift in thinking for most people. Because of our rebellious nature, we tend to have a negative reaction against this truth. Unless God is at work in your heart, yours (and my) naturally tendency is to NOT want God at the center of all things. Our natural bent is to replace Him with something else – typically ourselves.
Earlier in the letter to the Romans, Paul explains why we naturally react so negatively to the glory of God:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
– Romans 1:18-23
There is a lot we could talk about in this passage but let’s focus on the following:
- Mankind knows God exists because God has plainly made His existence known in what He has created
- Because people are ungodly and unrighteous by nature, man suppresses this truth and refuses to honor God or give thanks to Him
- Man exchanges the glory of God for something else in creation.
Man has been rebelling against God’s rule and authority ever since the beginning of creation when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden. That same rebellion is passed down to all of us in our very nature and explains our natural bent against God as the central authority and purpose of all things.
Instead of placing God at the center of our lives, people exchange Him for a substitute. That substitute can be anything. It might be:
- The worship of a man-made god (false religion)
- An anti-Christian philosophy or ideology
- Self-glorification (success, beauty, fitness, wealth – whatever)
- Glorification of some other aspect of creation (worship of animals, spirits, humanity, etc.)
- Basically anything that is not God
This explains why there are so many competing answers to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” By exchanging the one true answer to that question – God and His glory – man has substituted God for a multitude of competing purposes. This is why there is so much chaos, confusion, and conflict in the world that ultimately keeps man distracted from seeing and living out his true purpose.
Step #2 – Understand God’s Ultimate Purpose For All Things – God Desires to Glorify Himself
Understanding the glory of God is crucial for grasping the meaning of life. At first, the glory of God may sound confusing and even selfish of God. But give me a moment as I’d like to show you that understanding who God is, and being in a right relationship with Him, happens to be the very best thing for you and me.
When theologians talk about the glory of God, there are two senses in which it needs to be understood:
- God’s intrinsic glory – the glory God has in Himself
- God’s extrinsic glory – the glory God shows to the world
God’s intrinsic glory is the sum of the majesty and perfection of all that He is. This is a glory that cannot be added to since God has always had this glory and always will have it. It is a part of His unchanging being.
God cannot become more glorious in Himself since such a process would mean he is currently in a state of less perfection and sometime in the future would add to His existing glory and become more perfect. God doesn’t change (theologians call this “immutability”), therefore His intrinsic glory does not change (Malachi 3:6).
God’s Extrinsic Glory
When we are talking about God glorifying Himself in the world, we are talking about the second kind of glory – God’s extrinsic glory. God desiring to glorify Himself means that God desires to make known who He really is to His creation. He wants to show His creation His majesty and perfections through a variety of ways.
These perfections include His:
- Intellect – His ultimate knowledge, wisdom, and truthfulness
- Moral nature – His pure goodness, holiness, and righteousness
- Attributes of Control – His absolute will, power, and sovereignty
- Spiritual nature – His spirituality, invisibility, immensity, and omnipresence
- And His self-sufficiency, unchangeableness, unity, simplicity, and infinity
God desires to make these aspects of Himself known through all He does in and through what He has created.
The Bible and the Glory of God
Many Bible verses speak of God’s stated purpose to glorify Himself. I have included numerous examples so you can see for yourself how often this comes up.
God Glorifying Himself Through Creation
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
– Psalm 19:1-4
Notice that this passage says that the skies and the stars act like communication devices telling the world about God. They proclaim to all who will listen that God created them. This message is worldwide and available to all.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
– Romans 1:19-20
Once again God shows through all that He has made that He exists, that He is powerful, and that He is God. There isn’t anywhere man can look and not see this message being communicated. Sadly, many choose not to see it because they don’t want to accept the truth about God.
God Glorifying Himself Through the Creation of His People
“I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
– Isaiah 43:6-7
This is a great verse where God explicitly says why He created His chosen people. Ultimately, they are all for His glory. Just because Christians are God’s people does not mean the world revolves around us. We too were made, and saved, for His glory.
God Glorifying Himself Through the Salvation and Judgment of People
“Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”
– Romans 9:21-24
It may seem unfair that God chooses to save some people and not others. But ultimately the reason is here – God’s choice of who to save is also for His glory. Through some people He shows His mercy by saving them from their sins. Through some people He shows His wrath and power by judging them for their sins. This can be a hard truth to accept but its difficulty for us makes it no less true. However, when we come to truly accept the glory of God as central to all things, it helps us understand this hard truth a bit better.
God Glorifying Himself Through Evil Tyrants
“And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
– Exodus 14:17-18
Do you ever wonder why God allows bad people to exist in the world? In the case of the Egyptian Pharaoh from the book of Exodus, God answers that question. This Pharaoh was a murderer, a tyrant, a worshiper of false gods, a liar, and a brutal enslaver of an entire race (the Jews). He was also the most powerful man in the world at the time.
God explains that He allowed Pharaoh to achieve this power and commit evil so that He could eventually annihilate the Egyptian economy and show His supremacy over the false gods of Egypt through twelve miraculous plagues and then destroy Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Why? So He could achieve glory over Pharaoh.
God took the most powerful man in the world and reduced him and his army and his economy to virtually nothing to make a point. God has no competition and when you stand in the way of God redeeming His people, you get crushed. Too bad the Egyptians’ “gods” were no help but it’s no surprise. There is none that can withstand the power of the real God.
God Glorifying Himself Through the Suffering of His People
“For my name’s sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.”
– Isaiah 48:9-11
Here is one reason why bad things happen to good people. When good people suffer, it doesn’t necessarily mean God is punishing them (see the book of Job in the Bible for example) and sometimes it does. God uses hard times to make His people better. Just like silver is refined to purity in the heat of a furnace, so God refines His people through the heat of affliction and suffering. He exposes sin so His people can repent of it. He builds endurance and strength so they reflect His character better. He takes away earthly comforts so His people learn to place their hope and trust in Him. Why? So that God’s people can become more like Him and bring Him glory.
God Glorifying Himself Through Fulfilling His Promises
“The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.”
– Isaiah 60:19-21
God always keeps His word. He isn’t like people who often do not do what they say they will do. God promises great rewards and blessing for His people in the future. He does this because He loves them but ultimately, He does it so that He will be glorified. Through the keeping of His word and giving of great gifts, God’s people learn more and more firsthand how faithful and good God really is.
Jesus Glorifying the Father Through His Ministry
“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”
– John 17:4
Why did Jesus do all the miracles He did and teach the things He taught? It’s true that Jesus loved people and had compassion on them. But all of Jesus’ good works and teaching were ultimately to glorify God. In fact, when Jesus showed compassion, love, wisdom and whatever else, He was displaying the character of God for all to see. When we want to see most clearly what God is like, all we have to do is read about who Jesus is and what He did (and what He continues to do)
Jesus Glorifying Himself and the Father Through His Death and Resurrection
“When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.’”
– John 13:31-32
Why did Jesus leave the glory of heaven, take on a human body, and endure rejection from His own people to the point of a gruesome murder on a Roman cross? Ultimately, it was about glorifying God. Yes, Jesus came to save people from their sins but why? Saving people from their sins was not the ultimate purpose. The ultimate purpose was the glory of God.
God sacrificing His own Son (who is also God and agreed to become a sacrifice for sinners) for people who don’t deserve forgiveness tells us a lot about God. It tells us that God is willing to pay a very high price for the salvation of people who in and of themselves don’t love Him. That is why the Bible says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). God’s love is on full display in the death of Christ on behalf of evil people. If you ever want to “see” God’s loving nature, the best place to look is Jesus on the cross.
Jesus Glorifying Himself Through His Second Coming
“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”
– 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10
Jesus isn’t done glorifying Himself. When He comes again to judge the world and take His people to be with Him forever, the whole world will see another side of Jesus. In His first coming, His mission was to lay down His life and then show His power through His resurrection from the dead. In His second coming, He will come with power and salvation and judgment that will be seen and experienced by all people.
Jesus Glorifying Himself Through His Disciples
“All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.”
– John 17:10
What’s amazing about this verse is that Jesus doesn’t just glorify Himself through His own actions. He also glorifies Himself through His followers. If you are a Christian, be encouraged! Jesus’ purpose is to glorify Himself in you and He will accomplish that purpose.
The Father Glorifying Himself in the Son Through Answered Prayers
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
– John 14:13-14
Finally, both the Father and the Son glorify themselves by answering the prayers of Christians. Have you ever thought about answered prayer that way? Answering prayer fits in with God’s purpose in all things.
You may have had a question in the back of your mind as you’ve been reading all these verses about God’s desire to glorify Himself. That question might be:
Is God’s desire to glorify Himself ultimately selfish?
No, it isn’t. Why?
Because God is the greatest good and there is no good greater than Him!
Because God Himself is the greatest good there is nothing better that God could give us than the gift of Himself. Knowing God, loving God, and seeing and experience His glory is a great gift!
Think about that for a minute. If God is the ultimate good – a good which there is no higher or better – what else could God give us that would be better for us?
There isn’t anything. Since there are only two types of things in the world – God and everything else (creation) – anything else that God could give us is by nature inferior to Him in some way. Yes, we need some of these inferior things for life (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) but all of these are gifts from God and designed to lead our perspective upwards to thank and praise the good giver of these gifts.
There is ultimately nothing better for man than to know God, be in relationship with Him, love Him, and in turn glorify Him in order to share Him with others so they too can see and experience the greatest good.
Step #3 – Understand God’s Ultimate Purpose For Man – That All People Would Glorify Him
Since God created all things to glorify Himself, man’s purpose is also to glorify God in all he does. In addition to what has already been stated in the previous point, here are some more places where the Bible speaks of God glorifying Himself through people:
God Glorifying Himself Through a Christian’s Good Works
“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
– 1 Peter 2:12
This too is a great encouragement. Sometimes we Christians wonder if our good works are ever doing any good. People don’t always appreciate them. Unbelievers don’t always understand them or give God credit for them. Sometimes our good works cost us if they involve sacrifice or in turn generate the scorn or mockery of others.
But God doesn’t waste our good works. All the good things we do for the glory of God God will use to glorify Himself!
God Glorifying Himself Through a Christian’s Ministry in the Church
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
– 1 Peter 4:10-11
If you’ve ever been involved in church ministry of some kind, from behind the scenes work to doing jobs nobody seems to notice, it can be discouraging at times. You can feel unappreciated or wonder if your labor is producing anything worthwhile. But this verse tells us that when we serve with the gifts God has given, God desires to use all those things we do for His glory. Even if we don’t see it now, I believe that in the next life God will show us the impact of all our work for Him and how He used it. And knowing that will cause us to praise and worship Him with great joy!
God Glorifying Himself Through a Christian’s Suffering
“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”
– 1 Peter 4:16
Here is a command concerning about how a Christian is to handle suffering – we are to glorify God in it. When people scorn or mock you for being a Christian, seek to glorify God. Don’t get down or discouraged (which is really, really easy to do!). Instead, realize God wants to use it all to His glory just as Jesus did when He experienced all the suffering and rejection He did. When we suffer for being Christians, we are imitating Jesus and that brings God glory.
God Glorifying Himself Through All a Christian’s Conduct
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:31
In case we might be wondering if there is any area of life that is somehow not to be done to the glory of God, this verse addresses our question. All of life is to be done for the purpose of glorifying God.
What’s amazing is that God desires to glorify Himself through people. That is why you and I were created. That is our purpose.
Step #4 – Realize That All People Will Glorify God – Willingly Or Unwillingly
So what do you do if you question whether or not you really want to live this way? What if the glory of God seems absolutely unattractive to you?
Well you must know that God will glorify Himself in you whether you want Him to or not. He will do this one of two ways:
- If you are willing, He will glorify Himself in you by making you like Jesus Christ (next step below)
- If you are unwilling, He will glorify Himself by justly punishing you for your rebellion against Him
This article is mainly written for Christians – those who are willing to glorify God in their lives. But if that isn’t you, or if you are a Christian who maybe hasn’t thought about this before, you need to understand the following – God glorifies Himself through the eternal punishment of the wicked.
You can read our in-depth article on this topic, but here are the highlights:
- God’s punishment of the rebellious displays who He is including His justice, holiness, and wrath against sin along with His desire to vindicate and uphold all that is good
- God’s judgment on evil people shows that God loves goodness and rightness and will eventually get justice on those who violate His holy and good standards
- God’s execution of justice displays His inherent goodness. A God who does not bring justice is not good.
- God displays His all-knowing nature through His judgment of the wicked. He shows that He knows everything people have ever done and He does not let them get away with it if they reject God’s kindness and refuse to have their sins forgiven in Christ. Either Christ pays for your sins or you will pay for them in hell for eternity. It is a hard reality but it is reality nonetheless.
There is a lot more to that topic but the point is that even if those who are unwilling to glorify God through their actions, God will still get glory through them by judging them.
So you can either willingly glorify God and receive His forgiveness and blessing or you can unwillingly glorify God by receiving His judgment. Either way, God wins. I don’t know about you but if God is going to win either way, I would rather be on the winning team and experiencing God’s mercy and forgiveness rather than His justice and wrath!
Step #5 – Learn How Man Can Only Glorify God Properly by Reflecting God’s Image
So what if you do desire to glorify God in your life? How does that work exactly?
This is going to take a bit to explain as we need to briefly go back to the beginning of the world when God created man in His image and what happened to that image through man’s rebellion and what God is doing to restore that image.
Originally, God created man in His image – meaning man was to reflect who God is in some important ways.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
– Genesis 1:26-27
Unfortunately, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, their nature became corrupted by sin and God’s image in man became corrupted as well. That image was not lost but it was tarnished and in desperate need of renewal.
When Jesus came to earth, we learn that He was the perfect image of God. Two verses in particular state this clearly:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
– Colossians 1:15
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
– Hebrews 1:3
As the perfect God-man, Jesus perfectly reflected the image of God in His humanity. Fortunately, by being united to Him by faith, and renewed spiritually by His Holy Spirit, Christians can be transformed into the restored image of God that God intended for all humanity.
In fact, we learn from the Bible that God planned in eternity past that all Christians would eventually be conformed to the image of Christ, the Son of God and second person of the Trinity:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
– Romans 8:29
This process of transformation begins at the point of salvation and continues on through life. Therefore, all of a Christian’s ethical behavior is also to cooperate with God’s process of transforming us to be like Jesus. Notice in Paul’s argument to the Colossians below why He says they should stop lying and doing other sinful things. His point is essentially “act like Jesus because you are being made into the image of Jesus:”
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
– Colossians 3:9-10
One day this transformation process will be complete when the Christian is glorified after death in the presence of God. This is actually a part of a Christian’s hope, that we will be transformed from the corrupted image of Adam, with all its corresponding problems, into the perfect image of Christ. Notice the contrast Paul makes between Adam and Christ (referred to as “the last Adam”) here:
Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
– 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
God has chosen to glorify Himself in His people by changing them into the likeness of Christ who, as the Son of God who shares every divine attribute with His Father, is the perfect image of God.
But how does this process begin in a person’s life?
Step #6 – Understand Man Can Only Reflect God’s Image Through a Relationship With Jesus
Because of man’s sin and corrupted nature there is a distance between God and man. The relationship is fractured and the image of God in man is tarnished.
Fortunately, God has chosen to work supernaturally to renew that image. This process involves the work of the Holy Spirit applying the righteous image of Christ and the benefits of His death and resurrection to you by a powerful miracle – the new spiritual birth which theologians call “regeneration.”
“Regeneration is the divine action by which God renews the fallen creation so that it reflects his character. For human beings, regeneration is the answer to the corruption of moral character caused by sin.” – Brenda Colign 1
“Regeneration” simply means to “make alive.” Though a person lives physically, they are spiritually dead because of sin. Yet God chooses not to leave everyone in this condition but has provided a way to be “spiritually resurrected and reborn,” a process referenced in the following passage:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
– Ephesians 2:4-6
These verses from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reference both the new birth by the Spirit (“made us alive together with Christ”) and also our spiritual union with him (“raised us up with him”).
Additionally, this new birth and union with Christ includes the forgiveness of all sins:
“you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
– Colossians 2:12-14
This spiritual resurrection is done through faith – simply trusting in the person and work of Christ and His death and resurrection alone on your behalf. That’s it – trusting in Christ alone to take care of your sin problem, wash you clean, sending His Spirit to make you spiritually alive and uniting you to Him.
Why does God do such amazing things and only require faith? We’ve actually already seen part of the answer:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us
– Ephesians 2:4
God is rich in mercy and loving. That is who He is. Through Christ, God wants to show the goodness and merciful qualities of His glorious nature to the world by forgiving sins, offering new spiritual life, uniting people to His Son spiritually, changing them into His image, and bringing His people to be with Him forever when they die.
If this sounds “too easy” or “too good to be true,” consider what Paul says just a few verses later:
“so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
– Ephesians 2:7-9
God wants to show off the riches of His kindness. God wants to show off His giving nature. He wants to do these things WITHOUT your effort so that you can’t boast that you did it for yourself. Salvation is entirely a work of God and a free gift and no one gets the glory for it but Him!
OK, maybe you are already a Christian and know all this. Now what?
Step #7 – Devote Your Life to the Glory of God
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:31
If you’ve read this far you’ve seen that:
- Life is all about God
- God’s ultimate purpose for all things is to bring Himself glory (make Himself known)
- God’s ultimate purpose for man is to glorify Him
- People will glorify God whether they want to or not
- Man can only properly glorify God by reflecting God’s image
- Man can only properly reflect God’s image through a relationship with Jesus Christ
If you are in agreement with God and want to live your life in alignment with His purposes, and if you truly have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you are ready to begin living according to God’s purposes for you.
Living for God’s glory means that you give up competing purposes for yourself. Rebellious people substitute the glory of God as the purpose for their life for all kinds of things which basically consist of living to please and glorify themselves or something other than God. If you want to live for God’s glory, you cannot copy what the world tells you is important. You must listen to what God says is important.
Living for God’s glory means that you evaluate all of your life based on His standards. For instance:
- You don’t make your career your ultimate standard of meaning and success in life
- You don’t make people or relationships your ultimate standard of meaning and success in life
- You don’t make pleasure your ultimate standard of meaning and success in life
- You don’t make your own happiness your ultimate standard of meaning and success in life
- To summarize, you don’t make anything other than the glory of God your ultimate standard of meaning and success in life
That isn’t to say those other things aren’t important but the point is is that they are all secondary to the glory of God. You make career choices that glorify God. You relate to people in ways that glorify God. You only seek pleasures that glorify God. You only seek happiness through glorifying God. And so on.
When you put all things in their proper relationship to God, making them all secondary and Him ultimate, life begins to fall into place. You start making your world revolve around God and not you or something else. When you do that, you have truly tapped into the meaning of life and you begin to start living out your God intended purpose in God’s world.
Ready to take the next step? Read our article titled God is the greatest good. It may help you see why you would want to live for His glory.
Resources for Further Study
If you would like to study this topic further, here are some suggestions:
- The End and Purpose of the World (R.C. Sproul) – This is a 40 minute video by R.C. Sproul where he shows how Ephesians 4:8-10 explains that the purpose of the world is ultimately for the glory of Christ.
- Man’s Chief End in “A Body of Divinity” (Thomas Watson) – Watson explains the meaning of man’s chief purpose to glorify God in chapter 2 of his work, A Body of Divinity. The link here takes you to a free pdf of the entire work. This particular chapter starts on p.19 of the pdf.
- A Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World (Jonathan Edwards) – This is not an easy read and highly philosophical at times, but 18th century American theologian Jonathan Edwards argues why God’s ultimate purpose in creation is to glorify Himself.
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