Glory

“[Father,]the glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

I’ve been thinking about “glory” a lot lately. Whenever I’m in the Word it seems like I’m always being drawn to passages about glory. Or, I’ll go somewhere and someone is talking about glory. My wife & I led worship at a conference last Saturday evening, and guess what; yep, the message that night was about- glory. In the past, when I’ve contemplated glory it has had to do with God’s Shekinah Glory or “Christ in you the hope of glory” or “Man, we got on up in the glory today at church.” For me, glory has always been some illusive, intangible thing that God has, and every now and then we get a little taste of it. Then finally one day we’ll be with him and literally see his glory. It had never really dawned on me that, in Christ, we are partakers of glory. Not only later, but right now.

One of the wonders, and an “aspect” of the glory of the Triune God is the “agape-knowledge” shared by Father, Son, and Spirit. Within God there is complete disclosure, intimate knowledge, mutual adoration, and unified participation- God is love. And this love, this intimate knowledge, this glory has been given to us by God, in Jesus. “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “In fact, it is this knowledge, this revelation of God through/in Christ that IS eternal life itself (John 17:3). Not only later, but right now.

This glory of the “agape-knowledge” of God does not exist merely for our personal benefit. Another aspect of the glory is that as the Son came to earth and glorified the Father through the manifestation of his name, we too as partakers of glory declare the reality of God in Jesus. As the world beheld the glory of God in the person of Jesus, so it is that we who are the fullness of him who fills all in all make known the manifold wisdom of God, the eternal purpose that has been realized in Christ Jesus our Lord. Not only later, but right now.

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.  To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

 

“Dig If You Will A Picture”

No, this is not an article about the musical artist Prince. Instead, I want to talk to you about pictures. We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” Or perhaps one of my favorites, “I can show you better than I can tell you.” Using an illustration is one of the best ways there is to bring understanding. And God has utilized “pictures” from the dawn of creation. In fact, I believe that all of creation is an elaborate “picture” given to us by God to help us better understand who God is and how God is as well. And perhaps one of the best pictures God has given us is the family.

Now it’s obvious, the world we live in today is a lot different from the world portrayed to us by old episodes of Leave It To Beaver or Father Knows Best. (How many people even know what I’m talking about?) We’ve even gone way past the family life depicted in Married With Children. But dig if you will a picture:

A man and woman meet. They fall in love, completely and fully giving themselves to each other. Neither person surrenders their individuality, they are not absorbed by each other. But they become one. And this love, this intimacy, this oneness results in creation. Children are born who now participate in the love already enjoyed by their parents. While this family is made up of  several members, they are one. And each one, in their role as family members, loves, enjoys, serves and cares for the other members. While there may be diversity in ‘function,’ it takes each member of the family to express what the family actually is. The family itself is an expression of love.

Admittedly, the “family-picture” cannot fully describe a holy God. All of creation itself can only begin to declare his glory. But can you see why God gave us this picture? And can you see why an enemy would work so hard (with our complete cooperation mind you) to distort it? With this picture we catch a glimpse into the very nature of the Triune God. The family, along with all of creation, speaks of the glory of God. It helps bring to light the truth of who and how God is. It gives us insight into God’s motivation and intention.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.”

Dig if you will a picture!