Read: Romans 1:18-24
Listen to: Angels We Have Heard On High
Have you ever been singing a song and thought, “I have no idea what this means, but I like it”? Maybe you’ve thought that about the lyric “Gloria, in excelsis Deo.” I’ve been guilty, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. This little phrase is Latin, translated into English as “Glory to God in the Highest.” This lyric is taken from an ancient hymn of the early church dating back to the second or third century. This ancient hymn today often goes by the name “Greater Doxology.” Let’s ask and begin to answer this question from our Scripture reading: What should “Glorifying God in the Highest” look like?
Paul gives us a negative example in Romans 1, the exact opposite of “Glorifying God in the Highest.” This grim description of humanity is all inclusive until the gospel of God removes a person from the position of God’s righteous wrath into the position of His Son’s righteous work. What can we learn from Paul’s negative example of people who will not “glorify Him as God” (not “Glorifying God in the Highest” is precisely their sin)? That refusal is a death sentence. The description of the wrath of God in this life upon these God deniers is through giving “them up to” whatever their wicked hearts crave in this life. The result is their self-destruction by the lusts of their own hearts.
So then, refusing to “Glorify God in the Highest” is a kind of idolatry that looks like any number of sinful practices. In a religious person, it might look like a double minded man who is self-deceived, or a man who says he has faith without works.
Finally, to carry out the good work of “Glorifying God in the Highest” would look like a person who seeks to submit every thought to Christ and honor God in everything they do, say, and think. God would be his treasure and his arbiter of truth.