Last week we talked about the glory of God, and what exactly that means. And we saw that the word “glory” refers to one’s honor, reputation, and fame. And when we take the word “glory” and apply it to God, that it takes on a greater meaning of “The honor resulting from a good opinion” and “The kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler; majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity.” We saw that all rule and authority, in Heaven and on earth, comes from God, and that if a person is a president or a king, they were put there by God. Then we compared God’s kingship over all of creation with those men who abuse the power that is given them by God, and gave thanks that God possesses all the attributes necessary to rule this universe without destroying it—attributes like righteousness and justice and love. Today we’re going to see what it means to “glorify God.” That even though there are many people walk around saying “glory to God!” while their lives do anything but glorify Him.
Philippians 4:19-20—19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
There are three particular groups that we are going to talk about today, and we’re going to see how each one of these groups brings glory to God. First, we will see how God is glorified in Hell. We don’t like to think of God being glorified by sending someone to Hell. But He is. The clearest Scripture on this subject is found in Romans 3:5-6—But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? The argument made by the skeptic—as well as the theological liberal who doesn’t like to think that Hell is real—is this: “If God is love, then how can He send people to an eternal, fiery Hell?” Look at what Paul says here. God inflicts wrath—and He is not unjust. Therefore, this wrath that God inflicts must be a righteous wrath. So, is God righteous in sending people to Hell? Well, in Revelation 16:4-7, God is preparing the seven “Bowl Judgments” that will be poured out upon the earth during the Great Tribulation. First, those who worship the Beat and take his mark will be covered with painful sores. Then the seas will become like blood and all the creatures in the sea will die. Then, Revelation 16:4-7--Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.” And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”
Then, in Revelation 19:1-3, after Mystery Babylon, the world government set up by the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation, has been destroyed, and God has avenged His saints and done away with sin on earth—for the time being—so that Christ may return and set up His 1000 year reign on earth. Revelation 19:1-3--After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” All sin must be punished.
What is the most common criticism of our criminal justice system? “Why do they keep letting criminals back out on the streets?” Can the police and the sheriffs and the THP be everywhere? There are many more criminals than there are peace officers. So not every crime gets punished. Not only that, there are many people sitting in prison for crimes they did not commit. It’s a sad fact. BUT!! When the day comes that all men will stand before Christ and be judged, no one who is guilty will be pardoned—and no one who is justified will be punished. Deuteronomy 32:3-4—“For I proclaim the name of the LORD: ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 10:17—The LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. Before we go any further, let me say this: I'm going to be using phrases like “no sinner will go unpunished.” And I want to be clear, that we are all sinful, and that if we have accepted Christ as Savior and confessed Him as Lord, and are surrendered to Him, then even though we are sinful, He has already taken our sins and God’s wrath for those sins upon Himself on the Cross.
Question: Is a person saved by keeping the OT Law? Well, what was the purpose of the OT Law? It was meant to point us to Christ, and also to show us how we are all guilty before God. But this is not to say that the Law was not good. This is God’s Law, and His Law is perfect. Psalm 19:7-8—The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 1st Timothy 1:8—But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully. Not only was the Law good and perfect—it declared the glory of God! 2nd Corinthians 3:7-11 [NASB]--But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. The Law “came with glory”—it showed us how perfect God is, and how sinful we are. If a person does not believe they are breaking a law, are they going to stop doing what is unlawful? If they don’t put up speed limit signs, and I go flying down Alcoa Hwy at 80 MPH—oh wait, everybody does that anyways. A sheriff’s deputy pulls me over and gives me a ticket. “Hey, I didn’t know it was against the law to drive 80 MPH!” But it is. And now that I know that it is against the law to drive 80 MPH down Alcoa Hwy, if I get another ticket, the punishment is going to be even greater.
The same is true for the Law of God. The more a person hears the truth of God’s word, and the more they are taught about their sinful condition—if they do not turn away from those sins they know are sinful, then the more they continue in sin the greater their punishment will be in Hell. “Well, I was gonna stop next week!” Doesn’t matter—you should have stopped yesterday! Romans 2:1-5--Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. If someone KNOWS that committing a particular act is a sin, and they keep on doing it, they are simply heaping up wrath for themselves. Those who were judges in matters pertaining to the OT Law were not beyond the scrutiny of that same Law. If a judge of the Law broke a commandment of the Law—not only was he guilty, but he was subject to an even harsher punishment than those people that he determined were guilty of breaking the Law. This is another example of Paul quoting a principle laid out by Christ.
John 8:1-9—Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”…So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Isn't that another verse that even the ungodly and wicked can quote verbatim? “Let him without sin cast the first stone!” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. So now we see it much more clearly, that the Law is a mirror that we hold up in front of us, and when we start going through each commandment, we see ourselves as being guilty of each one.
“Thou shalt have no other Gods besides Me.” Well, didn’t we all have something we worshipped more than we worshipped God at one time? If nothing else, we worshipped ourselves.
“Thou shalt not murder.” Knowing that even hatred is murder, I think we can all put a check mark next to that one.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Lust equals adultery. Let’s skip that one!
And because this is true, then God must punish sin, or He is not a righteous Judge. If I'm standing before Richard Baumgartner, and I've still got a victim’s blood on my hands and my clothing, and I just stand there and say, “Sorry judge! My bad!” And Baumgartner says, “Well, I believe you. You’re showing remorse. Case dismissed.” Imagine the outrage! Has justice been done? NOW, if all mankind is subject to the same Law of God—and we are—then if even one sinner goes unpunished—if even one SIN goes unpunished—then is God a God of justice? Romans 3:19-20--Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Again, the Law does not make us perfect. Why? Because by the law is the knowledge of sin. The only thing the OT Law did was to show us how sinful we are, and to show us how far from God’s majesty and perfection we really are. Listen to Romans 7:7—I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” Galatians 3:19, 22—What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made…But the Scripture has confined all under sin.
Is even one sinner, or even one sin, going to go unpunished? And we see that, as we finish up in Revelation 20:11-15--Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Every person, who dies apart from Christ, will be standing before this Great White Throne. Whether it’s Johnny Down-The-Road, or Adolf Hitler or Joseph Smith or the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. The ledgers that contain the accounts of all those who did not know Christ as Savior AND LORD will be opened, the dockets will be called, the charges will be read, and the guilty will be punished. No appeal, no technicalities. Every single person will be judged by the Law of God, no one will be able to say, “No fair!” Romans 3:19—Whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped. There will be no exceptions. Everyone will be held to the same standard, and judges by the same Law.
God will be seen to be the righteous Judge that He is, and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ IS Lord to the glory of God the Father—that is, that God sent His perfect Word into the world, that Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That Word declared the fame and majesty of the Father, and all the world will be judge by being compared to that Word. John 1:1—And the Word was God. Romans 2:16—God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. God must do away with and punish all sin and separate it from Himself and from His kingdom before the holy city of Jerusalem can open its doors. Revelation 21:1-2--Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Skipping down to Revelation 21:23-24, 27--The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it...But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We’ll go further into that next week when we talk about God being glorified in Heaven.
Jesus Christ is Lord.