Lecture by Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, delivered at Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, Pennsylvania, March 25, 2015
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The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the follower of Jesus becomes an instrument of evangelism because when he or she becomes a believer in Jesus, there is an ontological change within the person and the Glory of God is on display. It is my hope to demonstrate that the intended outflow of the Glory of God through the incarnating Presence of God is to impact the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In our day, we hear the phrase, “The Glory of God,” and immediately understand it as the praise of God, the adoration of God, or the exaltation of the Lord. “To God be the Glory” and the “Gloria in Excelsis” praise and exalt the Lord because of who God is. Doxology—the praise of God—is used in most worship services inviting the congregation to sing the praise and glory of God. We often dedicate things and activities “to the Glory of God,” and we know the important line in the Westminster Catechism which says: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
However, we need to recover the original meaning of the phrase, “The Glory of God.” Not to take away from the praise and exaltation of God in how we use its derivative forms, but we need to recover the fullness of the Biblical meanings and understandings of “The Glory of God.”
“The Glory of God” is the combination of all God’s attributes. “The Glory of God” is the manifestation of all that God is and reveals Himself to be. “The Glory of God” consists of the Love of God, the Mercy of God, the Goodness of God, the Wrath of God, the Omnipotence of God, the Immutability of God, the Omnipresence of God, the Omniscience of God—all that God is as the Father, and as the Son, and as the Holy Spirit.
“The Glory of God” is the very essence of the Being of God. “The Glory of God” is His Very Presence and Person that cannot be separated. “The Glory of God” is the manifest revelation of God in all who God is.
The Hebrew word for Glory is kabod which comes from a root word meaning “weight.” It is used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures to mean 1. Excellence and praise displayed, as in glory shown. 2. Honor and adoration expressed in response to the display of God. 3. The giving to God glory in worship—that is, doxology.1
Glory also refers to the manifest presence of God. Psalm 145:5 says, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty,” referring to the very Being of God that is glorious. Harris, Archer, and Waltke write, “Forty-five times this form of the root relates to the visible manifestation of God and whenever ‘the Glory of God’ is mentioned this usage must be taken account of. Its force is so compelling that it remolds the meaning of doxa from an opinion of men in the Greek classics to something absolutely objective in the LXX and the NT.” 2
In this context “The Glory of God” refers to a theophany and manifestation of the Presence of God Himself. Harris continues, “These manifestations are directly related to God’s self-disclosure and His intent to dwell among men. As such they are commonly associated with His holiness. God wishes to dwell with men, to have His reality and His splendor known to them. But this is only possible when they take account of the stunning quality of His holiness and set out in faith and obedience to let that character be manifested in them.” 3
The Greek word for glory is doxa. Vine’s illustrates the various meanings of this word as follows: “(a) of the nature and acts of God in self-manifestation, i.e., what He essentially is and does, (b) of the character and ways of God as exhibited through Christ, (c) of the state of blessedness into which believers are to enter hereafter through being brought into the likeness of Christ.” 4 Richards adds, “When the translators of the Hebrew OT into Greek chose doxa to translate kabod, glory as mere human opinion was transformed into glory as the majesty associated with God’s self-revelation.” 5
For the purposes of the rest of this paper, the phase “The Glory of God” will refer to the manifestation of God, His self-disclosure, His very Presence, and Essence of Being.
The Hebrew Scriptures demonstrate the Glory of God and His desire to dwell with humanity. He is the transcendent One who seeks intimacy with the creation, especially the human beings into which He breathed spirit and life.
In Genesis chapter 3 we find the entering in of sin into the human race and into the creation. Up until this time, the woman and man enjoyed fellowship with their Creator as He walked in the garden. But when sin entered the human experience because of humanity’s rebellion against the Creator, something terrible happened. “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8 emphasis mine).
They hid themselves from “the Presence” of the Lord. His Presence. His Glory. Dan DeHaan comments, “That presence of the Lord could be illustrated by the sun. The sun that grows wheat to feed millions can blind the person looking at it. Like the sun, His glory can supply or it can destroy. Like the sun, God projects—His beauty, His wooing, His entreating. Like the sun He can do that everywhere at once. In the Garden of Eden, His presence may have been the blazing, visible Glory of God.” 6
Adam and Eve fled and hid themselves from God’s Presence. Their rebellion against God turned delight in His Presence into fear. Once having enjoyed fellowship with God and delighting in His Glory, they now are hiding from the purity and holiness of the Presence of God Himself. Their rejection of God’s Presence led to being banished from His Presence in the Garden with the way being blocked by what the writer of Genesis calls a flaming sword (Gen. 3:24). This cross-shaped obstacle would be the only way back into the Garden and into the Presence and Glory of God. Adam and Eve would have to go through this flaming cross to enter back into God’s sanctuary. These humans had rejected His Glory by their self-centered pursuit of self-glory, and now they are unable to reenter the place where God Himself is. And tragically, this condition was passed down to all their descendants.
Exodus informs us of the encounter Moses has with God in the burning bush (3:1–4:23) and God’s calling for Moses to lead His people out of the captivity in Egypt through the Red Sea, the wilderness, and into the Promised Land. In Jewish Tradition, the “cloud by day” and the “pillar of fire” by night eventually became known as the Shekinah Glory, the manifestation of the Presence of God.
In chapter thirty-three Moses has led the people as far as Mount Sinai and now he has a conversation with the Lord about leading the people to the next part of their journey:
Moses said to the LORD, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” And the LORD said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen” (12–23).
Moses has the audacity to ask God to see His Glory. His Glory is the physical essence of who God is, and God says that no person can see His glory and live. It would consume them. The sun in our solar system fails in comparison to the Glory of God, but imagine standing just a few feet away from the sun. It would consume you! However, God did allow Moses to see His back after His glory passed by. R. Alan Cole writes:
In vivid pictorial language, the passage says that man may see only where God has passed by and so know Him by His past doings and acts. God as He is, in all His mystery, we cannot know or comprehend. For a full revelation of what God is like, man must wait until Jesus Christ. There is no contradiction between this [passage] and Exodus 24:10, where the elders [of Israel] “saw the God of Israel.” All they saw was the “pavement of sapphire” that was “under His feet’: all that Isaiah saw was the skirt of the royal garments that filled the vast Temple courtyard.7
Walter Kaiser notes that God’s Glory consists of God’s character and nature. He writes, “In response to Moses’ request to see God’s ‘glory,’ God said that He would ‘cause all [His] goodness to pass’ before Moses (v.19). By His ‘goodness,’ is meant His whole character and nature.8 He also notes that another aspect of God’s Glory is the Proclamation of God’s Name, for the Lord says that He will proclaim His name as His Glory passes by.9 This is the majesty of God in its fullness—the Glory of God.
We should note here what happened to Moses after he was in the Presence of the Lord and saw Him pass by. Exodus 34 tells us that Moses glowed with the Presence of the Lord, so much so, that Aaron had to put a bag over Moses’ head so Moses could address the people. When the Glory dissipated, Moses would remove the veil. Every time Moses went before the Lord after this, he would have to put the veil over his face so that he would not terrify the people with glowing from being in the Presence of the Lord. (29–35)
In Exodus chapter 40, we have the account of the Lord instructing Moses to build a tabernacle where the people could meet with the Lord. This tent-like structure was portable and could be moved as the Lord led the people through their 40-year wilderness journey.
The text tells us that after the tabernacle was constructed, Moses anointed it with oil, all its furniture and furnishings, and consecrated the tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were washed, dressed in holy garments, anointed with oil, and consecrated to serve as priests before the Lord. Moses finishes the work, and the Book of Exodus concludes with these words:
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys. (34–38)
Dan DeHaan writes, “Imagine such a thing—God’s glory in the middle of the desert among the twelve tribes. His glory was for everyone to behold.” 10 R. Alan Cole adds, “YHWH is living among His people: the theology of the Presence of God has become the fact of His Presence…The God who lives among His people is the God who will lead and guide to Canaan, in fulfillment of His promise to the patriarchs.” 11 The Glory of God is now “tabernacled” and dwelling with His people. As Gispen writes, “The Lord now dwelled in their midst as their Leader, their King.” 12
After the death of King David, his son Solomon built a Temple for the worship of God. After the Temple was completed and all was in place, Solomon held a dedication service consecrating the new Temple to the Lord. But before the dedication service, the Ark of the Covenant was brought from its resting place in the City of David up to the new Temple and into the Inner Sanctuary in the Most Holy Place (1 Kings 8:1f). The Glory of God descended on and in the Temple.
Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim…And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD (1 Kings 8:6–11).
The writer of 2 Chronicles describes it this way:
As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshipped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever (2 Chron. 7:1–3).
After the completion of the Temple, Solomon and the people enjoyed fellowship with the Lord God as long as they obeyed His commandments and honored God as the Lord. But soon Solomon’s heart was softened to other gods, the gods of his wives, and he began to allow sacrifices on the high places to the gods Chemosh and Molech. “And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrifices to their gods” (1 Kings 11:8).
Sadly, this seems to be the pattern in the history of God’s people. The Lord blesses them, they enjoy the blessings of God, they begin to stray from God and His commandments to other gods and idols, they end up in rebellion, and God has to withdraw His Presence from among them, which invites destruction and desolation from their enemies.
Ezekiel records one of the saddest visions for the people of God in the Hebrew Scriptures. An angel leads him through a montage of scenes showing the sinfulness and rebellion of not just the people of Israel, but their spiritual leaders as well. Abominations in the Temple, idols, immoral paintings, worshipping other gods, injustice and murder in the land! The vision shows the Glory of the Lord leave its resting place on the cherub and move to the threshold of the Temple (9:3). After a terrible scene of the killing of those performing abominations before the Lord, Ezekiel records the most disheartening part of the vision: “And the Glory of the Lord went out from the threshold of the house” (10:18).
The spiritual leaders of Israel and the people who followed them literally drove the Presence of God from their midst by their sinful rebellion against Him and the practice of things which He considered abominations. They turned the house of God into a laboratory for sin. The Glory of the Lord departs and does not return again.
For hundreds of years the Glory of the Lord does not appear among the people of Israel and Judah. A few prophets received words from God about His Glory, but nothing occurred. Then the prophet Isaiah hears from God and says:
A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the Glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken (40:3-5).
Nothing but silence for hundreds of years! The Glory of the Lord becomes like an outdated legend.
With the coming of Jesus all of this changed. The Messiah became a human expression of the Glory of the Lord. His Body became the Temple in which the Glory of the Lord was Present.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life and the life was the light of men (Jn. 1:1–4).
This prologue to John’s Gospel not only speaks to the deity of the Messiah and His unity with the Creator, but His eternal existence as well. If John’s prologue were to conclude there, we would have enough to argue and debate the Person of Jesus for centuries (as has been done), but John goes further.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (1:14).
The picture in the Greek that John paints is that the Word became flesh and puts up a tent in our village. As we have already seen in the Exodus story, the Tabernacle was a tent that the Glory of the Lord filled with His Presence. Leon Morris writes:
That John means us to recall God’s presence in the tabernacle in the wilderness seems clear from the immediate reference to “glory,” for glory was associated with the tabernacle. When, for example, it was first set up, “the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle.13
Edwyn Hoskyns adds, “The Hebrew tabernacle was the centre of the manifestation of the glory of God to all the people (Ex.40:34ff) and especially at the hour of sacrifice (Lev.9:6, 23)…The glory of God, the Hebrew Kabod, is His majestic splendor and power, revealed in the miracles in Egypt which were signs of His glory and greatness (Num.14:22).” 14
F. F. Bruce notes that the glory, which shone in the Tabernacle, was a foreshadowing of what was to come. He comments:
The glory which shone in the tabernacle and temple, veiled in mysterious cloud, was but the foreglow of that excelling glory which shone in the incarnate Word, veiled from those who had no mind to come to the light, but manifested to faith…[T]he glory seen in the incarnate Word was the glory which was revealed to Moses when the name of Yahweh was sounded in his ears; but now that glory has been manifested on earth in a human life, full of grace and truth.15
The Glory of the Lord is now manifested in human flesh, in a person: Jesus. C.K. Barrett adds, “John nevertheless asserts that the glory of God was manifested in Jesus (1:14). It is shown in His miracles (2:11; 11:4-10); but in particular He enjoyed a position of glory before the Incarnation, and subsequently returned to it (17:5, 24).” 16
William Temple sums up this verse noting that the Word is merely conveying the Glory of the Father through the Son to those who encounter Him.
We beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten from a Father. There are no definite articles; the statement is not a piece of technical Trinitarian theology, though it supplies the basis for such a theology. It is a record of experience. The glory, which appeared, seemed not to have its source in Him, but to stream through Him from beyond. To be with Him was—as it still is—to be with “Him who sent Him.” He is the only Son, who alone perfectly reproduces the Father’s character. The glory is, in the phrase He will use, not mine but His that sent me. The glory that the Word displays to us is the glory of God, whose is that Word…Here all the emphasis is laid upon the fact apparent to the spiritual awareness of those who beheld his glory that this glory shone from a source beyond through the Figure with whom the disciples held converse. That source beyond is the Eternal Father.17
The writer of The Letter to the Hebrews writes: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (1:3).
Jesus manifested His Glory with signs and wonders following the example in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Apostle John gives us example after example of this in his Gospel: healings, walking on water, raising the dead, casting out evil spirits, taming nature, and overcoming the physical and chemical limits of DNA.
John tells the story of Jesus at a wedding celebration with His mother, Mary, in the small town of Cana. During the reception the host runs out of wine. The bottles are empty! Mary asks Jesus to help with the embarrassing situation so Jesus takes twelve larges cisterns of water and changes them into wine—good wine. John summarizes the event with these words: “This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory” (2:11).
The Gospel of John displays many of these signs and miracles. In chapter 4 we find Jesus healing an official’s son—long distance. John sums up this healing with, “This was now the second sign that Jesus did when He had come from Judea into Galilee” (4:54). Chapter 5 tells the story of Jesus healing a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. In Chapter 6 Jesus feeds five thousand men and their families—with five barley loaves and two fish. Chapter 6 also tell us that Jesus walks on the Sea of Galilee out to where the disciples had taken the boat in their journey to cross to the other side. In Chapter 9 the Apostle shares about Jesus healing a man who had been born blind. We find in Chapter 11 the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead after he had been in the tomb for four days. These seven events which John highlights in his Gospel are meant to serve as signs pointing back to the Word who became flesh and tabernacled among us, “and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (1:14).
The main event where Peter, James, and John saw Jesus’ glory was what we now call the Transfiguration. All the Synoptics record the event (Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9). There are several elements of the accounts which would remind the listener of the manifestation of the Glory of the Lord in the Hebrew Scriptures: prayer, the cloud, tents, and seeing the Glory.
Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him! (Luke 9:28–35)
Notice that Luke records that Peter, James, and John actually saw his Glory, so when John records in John 1:14 that “we saw his glory,” John meant it literally since he had been on the mountain for the Transfiguration and his own eyes had viewed His Glory.
Jesus’ Glory was not only manifested in signs and visibly seen by His disciples; Jesus also speaks about and prays about His Glory. In John 17 He prays before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (5); and further, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (24). Of course, we know the context of this prayer is that Jesus is on His way to the Cross, where He humbles Himself, even to physical death for the sins of humanity, in order that the glory of God may be manifested.18
After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and before His ascension, He commanded His followers to go into the city of Jerusalem and wait for the promised gift from His Father. He said, “And you shall receive power when the Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:6–8). On the Day of Pentecost this very thing occurred as the followers of Jesus were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.19
The Kingdom of God was now to be manifested not just in the Messiah, but also in and through the followers of the Messiah. The Holy Spirit was no longer given to just a few select vessels of Yahweh, but to all who come to God through Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and eternal salvation. All believers are given the Holy Spirit to serve as God’s Ambassadors in the world. The Holy Spirit, God Himself, now indwells or fills each and every believer. As Jesus said in John 14:17, “he dwells with you and will be in you,” and in John 14:23, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
What has God actually accomplished in this phenomenal feat? A human being, sinful as he is, once made holy by faith in the pure blood of Jesus, becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit.20 And in this temple of the Holy Spirit, the Glory of God takes up residence. The Apostle Paul illustrates this in 2 Corinthians 3 when writing of the giving of the Law and the giving of the Holy Spirit. He recalls Moses going up on the mountain with God and when he would descend, he would be glowing with the Glory of God. This so terrified the Hebrew people that the elders would actually put a veil over Moses’ head until the Glory diminished. The Apostle then speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit and removing the veil over human hearts, and how we as believers behold the Glory of the Lord:
But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (16–18).
It should be noted here as well that many translate this verse rather than “beholding the glory of the Lord,” as “reflecting the glory of the Lord.” Murray Harris writes:
Under the new covenant, not one person alone, but all Christians [behold and then reflect] the glory of the Lord. Moreover, unlike the Jews, who still read the law with veiled hearts, Christians, with unveiled faces, behold in a mirror of the gospel the glory of Yahweh, which is Christ…Again, the glory is displayed not outwardly on the face but inwardly in the character.21
Philip Hughes comments:
The expression “we all” signifies all Christians without exception. Erasmus, Bengel, and some others have taken it to indicate only ministers of the Gospel rather than all believers without discrimination; but as Calvin remarks, it is evident that Paul is speaking of an experience, which is common to all believers.22
We see a hint of this vision in Isaiah 48. God purifies Israel, and then God says that He will not share His Glory with any other. God wants His people to be a light to the nations, a people in the world reflecting the Glory of God.23 It is the desire of God that His people be a light for the nations.24 However, either they didn’t understand or they lost sight of their purpose. God makes it clearer in the giving of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus. As they take up their cross and follow Him, the Glory of God is on display through them in the power of the Holy Spirit. As they gather for worship as a corporate temple of the Holy Spirit, the Glory of God can be manifested;25 and as they follow Jesus in their daily lives filled with the Holy Spirit, the Glory of God may be manifested in and through the life of the believer who is a temple of the Holy Spirit.26
Ross Blackburn (an Anglican priest in North Carolina), in his commentary on Exodus writes:
It is not until his death that Jesus declares that his hour has come, the hour when he would manifest his glory in full (Jn. 12:23,27; 17:1), cleansing his bride and inaugurating the ultimate wedding feast, where he as the bridegroom celebrates a feast, having taken his bride to himself (cf. Eph.5:25-
27). The Lord is present with his people. Thus, the presence of the Lord with his people is not simply the means of the mission, but is itself the mission.27
The Divine Plan of God’s salvation is to manifest His Glory in the world through His people. Jesus led the way, but now through the power of Holy Spirit, the life of Jesus is brought about in the individual lives of believers and the Glory of God shines forth. The radical thought that challenges our post-modern mindset is that the Christian should actually be the reflection of God Himself in whatever she says and whatever he does. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians, “Christ in you, the hope of Glory” (1:27).
Jesus told His disciples after the resurrection in John 20, “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you” (21). How did the Father send Jesus? The Word became flesh, tabernacle among us, and we beheld His Glory. He shared the divine life in human form, He taught the Kingdom of God, He healed the sick, cared for the poor, He served the human race—even taking up a towel and washing dirty feet, and He took up His cross giving Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity.
Is there any reason the people of God should not be doing the same things as the Son of God? Is it not true that we are to be sent in the same way that He was sent? Should we not be sharing in the divine nature?28 Should we not be teaching the Kingdom of God? Should we not be healing in the Name of Jesus? Should we not be caring for the poor in the Name of Jesus? Should we not be taking up our cross and following Him where He leads? Should we not be manifesting His Glory in the world in which we have been placed?
Absolutely, we should!! It is God’s plan of salvation for the world. How will they believe unless someone is sent to them? As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans:
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? (10:13–15).
The modern believer has lost sight of the Glory of God. She doesn’t realize the incredible witness she can be just by being herself in Christ. The modern believer doesn’t acknowledge that the Living God is with him wherever he goes. We have lost faith in the power of the Holy Spirit to manifest the very Glory of the Lord in our lives, and thus, we are not preaching a message that can be believed.
Our own lack of belief in God’s power and our unrepentant sins, have darkened our ability to reflect who we really are in Christ Jesus. These things lead us to act as though a veil has been put over our very being and diminishes the reflection of the Glory of God in our lives. Rather than shining like a bright 100-watt light bulb, we shine like 4-watt night-lights. Like the people of Israel who drove the Glory of the Lord out of the Temple with their idol worship and abominations, we modern followers of Jesus are doing similar things and quenching the Holy Spirit, and thus, the Glory of God is hampered in shining forth. We have become comfortable with our sins, and they are blinding us to the darkness that is absorbing our lives and faith communities. Even more concerning is that our ability to witness for Christ is tarnished and diminished. Rather than living with the Glory of God in our lives like Moses coming down the mountain, we seem no different and act no different from the unbeliever in our world.
It is time we recover the Glory of God in our lives; this comes from the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Not just turning from our unbelief, our idols, and unrepentant sins, but by taking up our divine destiny and living as Christ’s Ambassadors in our world, His very representatives with His very Presence in our lives to the very lives of the people we know. We religious types too often use non-specific terms about our mission: reaching the poor, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, saving the lost, visiting the widowed, etc. What about the people we actually know? Our brother, sister, friend, parent, co-worker, neighbor, baker, cashier, bank teller? Can they see the Glory of God being manifested through our lives?
When you come to faith in Jesus Christ, there is an ontological change in your very being as the Holy Spirit comes to indwell you and fill you with God’s Presence. The Person and Presence of God are on display in your life; it is the Glory of God. It is God’s method to tabernacle with the people of the world and draw unbelievers to Himself as believers live out their lives following Him.
1 J.I. Packer, “The Glory of God.” In New Dictionary of Theology, ed. by Sinclair B. Ferguson and David F. Wright (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 271–72.
2 Laird R. Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., Bruce K Waltke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2003), 427.
3 Ibid., 427.
4 W.E. Vine. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. (Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1981), 267–8.
5 Lawrence O. Richards. Expository Dictionary of Bible Words. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985), 311.
6 Dan DeHaan. The God You Can Know. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2001), 30.
7 R. Alan Cole. Exodus: An Introduction and Commentary. (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973), 225.
8 Walter Kaiser. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 2, ed. by Frank E. Gaebelein. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 483.
9 Ibid., 483.
10 DeHaan, The God You Can Know, 32.
11 R. Alan Cole, Exodus, 239.
12 Kaiser, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 497.
13 Leon Morris. The Gospel According to John. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), 103.
14 Edwyn Clement Hoskyns. The Fourth Gospel. (London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1947), 148.
15 F. F. Bruce. The Gospel and Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983), 41–42.
16 C. K. Barrett. The Gospel According to St. John. (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1978),166.
17 William Temple. Readings in St. John’s Gospel. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1959), 14–15.
18 Philippians 2:5-11.
19 Acts 2.
20 I Corinthians 6:19-20.
21 Murray J. Harris. “2 Corinthians,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 11: Romans—Galatians, ed. by Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,2008), 464.
22 Philip Edgcumbe Hughes. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B.Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962), 117.
23 Isaiah 48:8-11.
24 Isaiah 49:6.
25 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 3:16,17 (note: the word for “you” is plural in these verses.)
26 I Corinthians 6:19,20.
27 Ross Blackburn. The God Who Makes Himself Known: The Missionary Heart of the Book of Exodus (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2012), 206.
28 2 Peter 1:4.
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