Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The One Who Is Truly Worthy of All Praise and Glory Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue our discussion of the praise and honor that the Lord Jesus receives by virtue of being the unique, beloved Son of God and the divine Agent of creation, being the One that created, sustains, and redeems all creation.


Calling Upon His Name

One of the ways in which the OT people of God would praise Jehovah is by calling upon his name, meaning by praying and invoking him:

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” Psalm 18:3

“And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4

This is precisely how the first Christians praised Jesus, who were even known for their practice of calling upon the name of their risen Lord,

“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:” 1 Corinthians 1:2

A practice that started among Jesus’ Jewish followers in Jerusalem, of all places!

“Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to THY saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on THY name… And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on THIS name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” Acts 9:13-14, 20-21



Another form of praise rendered to God is what is typically referred to as doxologies. A doxology is basically a hymn, verse or form of words that contain an ascription of praise to God.

We find several such doxologies to God in the inspired writings of the NT:

“who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:25

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36

“Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:20

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 5:10-11

There are also a few instances where a doxology is rendered to God through Christ, meaning on the basis of the authority of the Lord Jesus whose mediation makes all such ascriptions of praise acceptable to God:

“to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.” Romans 16:27

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

In certain passages it is not entirely certain whether the doxology is being offered to God the Father or the Lord Jesus Christ, as in the case of these next examples:

“grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:3-5

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

And yet in the following verses it is perfectly clear from the context that the inspired writer is offering up a doxology to the risen Lord:

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at HIS appearing and HIS kingdom… henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love HIS appearing… And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto HIS heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 18

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

“and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

This next example provides the reason why the early Christians had no qualms in rendering ascriptions of praise to Christ their Lord:

“Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 9:5

Christ is not only flesh, e.g. a human being, he is also the supreme God who is worthy of eternal praise!

This brings us to our next section.


Songs and Hymns

Along with doxologies, God’s people would further praise him by singing songs to him in the congregation,

“All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.” Psalm 66:4

“Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.  Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;” Psalm 149:1-6

Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.” Isaiah 12:5

Which is again exactly how the first Christians praised their risen Lord and Savior!

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Ephesians 5:18-21

We even find the inhabitants of heaven singing praises to the risen Lord!

“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:8-10

Furthermore, NT scholars believe that the following verses all contains fragments from hymns which the early church would sing together in their worship meetings. These hymns give us an idea of what the first believers thought of Christ, especially in regards to his relationship to both God and creation:

“concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” Romans 1:3-4

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

“who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:13-20

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16

Here is what these fragments tell us about the early church’s worship of Christ:

Christ is the preexistent Son of God who exists in the very form of God.

Christ is the Agent of creation, the One through and for whom all creation was made and who holds all things in place.

Christ became a man for the purpose of dying on the cross in order to reconcile all things to God by his vicarious sacrifice, thereby making peace between God and creation. 

Christ remained what he had always been while he was on earth, i.e. Christ is truly God in essence who still possessed all the fullness of the Godhead even after he became and appeared as a man. In fact, he even continues to possess that entire fullness as a human being with a physical body while in heaven!

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9 

God exalted Christ when he raised him from the dead by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of having his Son reign in power as the sovereign Lord of all creation.

Such praise, which the first Christians lavished upon their risen and exalted Lord, is truly remarkable to say the least. 


The Name Of God

The Son’s worthiness, honor and glory can be further seen by his possession of the very name of God:  

I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” John 5:43

Now this can simply mean that Christ was authorized by the Father to carry out the mission that he did. While this of course is true, the immediate and overall contexts of the Holy Scriptures indicate that there is more to Jesus’ words than simply that the Father gave him authority to carry out his divine mission. The inspired Scriptures ascribe to Jesus some of the very unique names and titles belonging to God.

For instance, the Father himself magnifies his Son by referring to him as the God who reigns forever!

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God (ho Theos), is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Hebrews 1:8-9

Christ’s own followers magnified him as their very God in the flesh:

“Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God (ho Kyrios mou kai ho Theos mou). Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:27-29

Thomas worshiped the risen Lord in the same way that the prophet David praised Jehovah!

“Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord (Gr. – ho Theos mou kai ho Kyrios mou).” Psalm 35:23

Jesus is even identified as the I AM that came down from heaven and whom everyone has to believe in order to be forgiven of their sins:

“And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins… Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” John 8:23-24, 28-29

And as the I AM Christ is able to foretell the future so that his disciples whom had chosen would come to believe that he is the One that he claims to be:

“I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.” John 13:18-19

What makes these assertions rather amazing is that in the Hebrew Bible it is Jehovah who refers to himself as the I AM!

“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” Exodus 3:13-15

Jehovah is also the One that claims to be the I AM that is able to announce what is yet to come so that the people he has chosen would come to know and believe in him!

“Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” Isaiah 43:9-13

And much like Jehovah,

“Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.” Isaiah 48:12 – cf. 41:4; 44:6

“And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Revelation 21:6-7

Jesus is even described as the First and the Last, the One who has neither a beginning nor an end to his existence!

“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:17-18

“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;” Revelation 2:8

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.… He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. ” Revelation 22:12-13, 20

With the foregoing in perspective, could the Holy Bible be any clearer that Jesus Christ is worthy of all praise and honor since he is the unique Son of God who is essentially coequal with God the Father, being the One through and for him all things were made, and the very divine Savior of the world?

Amen! Come Lord Jesus, come! You are worthy of everlasting praise, honor and glory from all that you have made! Amen!

All Scriptural quotations taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.


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