There are two aspects of independence that God reserves to himself—two expressions of his will that he refuses to allow separately in any other living being. They are the two extremes of interaction. These two, God will not share with anyone else.
The first involves his glory, and the relational expression involves worship.
“I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” (Isa 42:8)
“He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.’”” (Rev 14:7)
Scripture reveals that God fully expresses and shares his glory with Jesus “from before time began”, and upon that basis he intends to grant Jesus the right to share his glory with Christians when he resurrects them to life. Sharing glory as an extended honor under the primary worship to God is allowed, but independent worship that glorifies another who is not in right submission to God will never be allowed.
Such glory worshiped independent from God is idolatry and will never be tolerated. As Jesus retorted to the temptation of Satan:
“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’’” (Lu 4:8)
Believers are commanded to “give honor where due”, so long as such respect and praise remains subject to the glory of God and never separate from him. Glorifying politicians, leaders, sports stars, popular musicians, or actresses, who dishonor God, violates this exclusive right of worship. Like ancient King Herod, who accepted the praises of the crowd saying “his voice is like that of a god”, and did not give that glory to God, so his fate of being eaten alive by worms, will cast the same decay of living-death upon all who accept worship to themselves.
The second divine-right that God reserves exclusively for himself involves his wrath, and the relational expression involves revenge.
“Have I not kept this in reserve and sealed it in my vaults? It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” (Dt 32:34-35)
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Rom 12:19)
“God is just. He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you” (2 The 1:6)
Judgment and punishment is a biblical right that God extends to worldly authorities, even to the extreme of capital punishment, but revenge is not simply a correction; it is the complete expression of righteous wrath and anger at sin. This revenge rights the scales; it does not just discipline the behavior, or remove the offender.
No other authority will ever be granted this divine right to resolve the penalty for sin, nor to make everything right again for those who have been deeply hurt. God keeps this right to himself alone. He alone will execute final judgment, and he alone will permanently resolve all offenses.
We see this truth in the dramatic execution of Jesus upon the Cross. We will see it culminated in absolute finality in the horrors of Hell for those who arrogantly refuse to accept the revenge of God upon Jesus.
There are some things that God will not share with anyone else—extremes of relational interaction that can never occur rightly in any being other than God alone. Parents, judges, governors, ministers, and all leaders had best take notice whenever they feel emotionally inclined to lash out at violators. To accept glory meant for God, or to punish with anger, would be to self-destruct.
The moral of this story? Worship God and give him only all the glory due his holy name! And, secondly uphold all righteousness by dealing honorably with life, expressing both justice and mercy, but do not ever cross the line by striking out in wrath.
No one should take upon themselves the right to sit in the place of God. Worship and glorify God, and leave room for him to pay back all evil.
He is coming soon, and he will not delay! Hang on and wait for the Lord.