Glorify means "to ascribe glory to; adore. To elevate in honor: reflect glory upon." The purpose of all created beings, especially those who are His children, is to glorify God because He is worthy of all glory, honor and power (Rev. 4:11).
Ephesians 3:21 says that the church, in all generations, should glorify Him. The obvious question to ask is, "How?" "How can the church glorify God?" This article will attempt to suggest some ways in which the church can bring glory to God.
Since the church is people, the body of the saved (Acts 2:47), it is those people who must bring glory to God. So, in reality, the church can only glorify God by those individuals who comprise it. In what ways, then, can we as individuals who are members of the church glorify God?
By Our Purity of Life Christians are admonished to be pure in order to glorify God. "Flee sexual immorality ... or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:18-20). To remain pure, Christians are commanded to think on pure things (Phil. 4:8); not share in the sins of others (1 Tim. 5:22); be examples in purity (1 Tim. 4:12); cleanse their hands and purify their hearts (Jas. 4:8); and keep unspotted from the world (Jas. 1:27). Such purity is necessary in order to be with Christ (1 John 3:3), see God (Matt. 5:8), and glorify God (1 Cor. 6:20).
Those who comprised the church in Macedonia were prompted to glorify God because of the liberality of the Christians in the city of Corinth (2 Cor. 9:13). When one uses the resources he possesses to further the cause of Christ, God is glorified. Matthew 5:16 states, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
The Scriptures plainly teach what the Christian's attitude toward material possessions should be. He is to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:19-33). He must realize that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10). Those who are rich are to be neither haughty nor trust in riches but should rather be rich in good works, ready to give and willing to share (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
Wealth used in God's service is wealth correctly used. One is to give as he is prospered (1 Cor. 16:1-2), purposefully, neither grudgingly nor of necessity, but cheerfully, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:6-7).
To persevere is to persist in any purpose or enterprise; to continue striving in spite of discouragements. As Peter wrote his first epistle, he knew its recipients would have to endure future trials and suffering. He was writing to them to encourage them to persevere in spite of the great adversity that was about to come upon them. In 1 Peter 4:16 he wrote, "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter." Christians glorify God in the church by persevering in:
Unity. The unity heaven desires is based on the word of God (1 Cor. 1:10). To preserve unity among brethren requires "diligence" (Eph. 4:3) because one must know the word of God and make continued application of it in all circumstances. But such effort is worthwhile because unity glorifies God (Rom. 15:6).
Worship. The purpose of worship is to glorify God. Acceptable worship is done in spirit and truth (John 4:24) thus honoring God with the proper attitudes of reverence for Him and respect for His word.
Teaching His word. One who is taught God's word learns of God, His might and majesty, and how He is to be honored (2 Tim. 4:1-5). His word reveals His power and tells how He is honored by obedience to His will in all things.
The work of the Lord. Doing the good works that God would have His children to do honors Him (Matt. 5:13-16). Therefore, Christians ought to always be "abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58) so that God is always being honored by their lives. Such causes others to glorify Him too (1 Pet. 2:12).
If we expect to be with God in glory, then we must glorify Him while we live here on earth. Let us as individuals and as a collective body be doing everything we can to glorify God.