Glory and Honor
A while back when I was reading the Bible, I noticed a pattern I couldn’t explain:
“[He] will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” (Romans 2:6-8)
“so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7)
“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:8)
What’s the reason “glory and honor” is mentioned by all these New Testament authors?
It goes back to Genesis. Adam and Eve were in the garden and “were both naked and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25). To say that they “weren’t ashamed” means their naked bodies were honorable. Honor and shame are opposites. To say something has no shame is to say it has honor, and vice versa.
In Hebrew, the word for honor (kavod) refers to “richness”, “reputation”, and “importance”. God made them after His own image, after all (Gen. 1:27). And we know God is honorable. So anything made like Him is as well. God also possesses “glory” (Psalm 104:1). The Hebrew word for “glory” (hadar) means splendor, adornment, or majesty.
So where did the New Testament writers get “glory and honor” from? Psalm 8:5 “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
When the New Testament writers wrote about Christ, they understand that He came not only to die the sinful death we deserved, but to restore to us the glory and honor that we originally possessed. And when we trust in Christ, we become heirs of this glory and honor. We have a promise from God, sealed by the Spirit, that He will redeem our bodes to be inherently honorable and externally adorned with splendor (Ephesians 4:30).
One morning this week, I tweaked my back while pouring water. Yes, pouring water from a jug into my cup made my back react with a very odd spasm. I wasn’t even bending over! This was a reminder I need to take better care of my body. But it’s also a reminder of the effect of sin, which has robbed me of the original honor and glory God designed my body to have. This is just one more reason to look forward to the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter, Paul, the author of Hebrews looked forward to it; so should we.