God receives glory, honor, and praise in heaven continuously around his throne. Revelation 5 says, “And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were slaughtered, and you purchased people for God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
This verse, according to the Tony Evans Study Bible, “portrays the ethnic, linguistic, and national diversity that will be present in eternity. Difference and diversity are not problems to be solved; they were part of God’s plan from the beginning.”
The ultimate calling and priority for his followers is stated in Psalm 96:3: “Declare his glory among the nations, his wondrous works among all peoples.” Why? So every tribe, language, people, and nation might bring God glory now and then be a part of this heavenly worship.
One day all people, regardless of the color of their skin, will be invited to this grand celestial party. Racism is a sin and the truth of that statement is made abundantly clear in the Word of God. It is so clear that Scripture tells us you cannot love God and hate others.
Now, back to God’s glory! In Matthew 6:10 we are told to pray this way: “Your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus says we should petition the Father to manifest his presence right here and right now. We are told to ask God to do immediately in space and time what he is doing continuously in heaven with every tribe, language, people, and nation.
There is one unified praise team giving God all the honor and glory and praise. James MacDonald points out that, “Refusing glory is not humility; it is honesty!” It is recognizing who is God.
Tying all of that together clarifies for us that not only are we to be unified in our celebration of the one and only true God, but it also makes us aware that something is terribly wrong when we cannot celebrate the diversity and the uniqueness of how the Creator created each and every one of us.
We glorify God when we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
We also glorify Him when we love our neighbors as ourselves.
Can we truly expect God to send revival and heal our land if we do not first address those two great commands?
Hopefully, we are begging God to show us his glory just as Moses did in Exodus 33. Our churches should be a place where through our worship there is a profound encounter with the glory of God.
Yet could it be that Matthew 5 has been overlooked far too long? Jesus makes it clear that it is possible to be guilty of murder because of hatred in our hearts. He then says in verse 23, “So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you.”
Could that be hindering God’s glory being manifested?
Jesus continues in verse 24, “Leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother or sister and then come and offer your gift.”
There are attitudes, motives, and hardened hearts that prevent us from being able to worship God in a way that his glory is made known in our lives and in our churches. The availability of God’s manifest presence does not guarantee its inevitability.
Will God manifest himself when we are unwilling to accept every race or if we are harboring prejudice in our hearts?
All of us have some prejudice in our hearts. Why is it sometimes so hard and difficult to admit and confess that truth? This is the beauty of the body of Christ. When a local church comes together we are one in Christ and it is hard to hate someone you take communion with.
The worship service reflects his glory when we are unified in recognizing the glory of God and celebrating the way he uniquely created us. His glory is manifested when we care so deeply about one another that what hurts one member hurts the entire body.
Will God manifest His glory if we are unwilling to humble ourselves and listen to the pain of our brothers and sisters?
One observation about the current racial tension in our country right now is this: All my life I have heard people say that we really do not understand what someone is going through until we walk a mile in their shoes. It seems that is wise council for today also, but while we are willing to do that when someone is experiencing personal grief, a difficult job situation, or a different phase of life, are we unwilling to consider it for people of color?
May we all look for those who are hurting, listen to their pain, and love them as Christ loves us!
God is glorified through unity with diversity in how he uniquely created us to celebrate him and one another.
Jesus was full of grace and truth, so we must practice grace without overlooking truth and we must stand upon truth without forgetting grace.
As Christ’s ambassadors may we not retreat from this opportunity to represent him well and relish the opportunity to invite Jesus to manifest his glory through the beautiful ministry of reconciliation!
James MacDonald said it well: “Only the glory of Jesus Christ manifest will take you to the finish line and leave you accelerating as you break the tape into eternity.”
Copyright © 2020 by Larry Barker @ http://larryjbarker.com/?p=1713. Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.