Defining glory

sunset-57842_640Haggai 2:7: And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. (ESV)

Jesus, before he was crucified, said that the church, God’s people, will bear his glory (John 17:22). To bear his glory means that we represent him, as he represents the father (John 20:21).

Glory = grace + truth

John said of Jesus: we beheld him as of the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Therefore, we see that glory manifesting as grace and truth. While grace means divine ability, truth means divine understanding. Glory is also what amazes. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he saw a manifestation of his glory, and he was dazed (Isaiah 6:1-5). It was something beyond his comprehension and he was overwhelmed.

Glory must be holy

Isaiah entered into a higher dimension of God. It was both a holy and glory dimension. God is holy and whatever will represent him must bear the emblem of his holiness, or else God will remove himself from the arrangement no matter how long-standing it is.

In the letter that Jesus wrote to some churches in the book of Revelation, he rebuked some for rejecting his holiness standards and asked them to repent.  He even threatened to remove one of the candlesticks, which presents his presence from one of the churches (Revelation 2-3).

In the life of Jesus, we see the holiness nature established as was he tempted by the devil to go out of line from the word of God. The devil did not succeed (Luke 4:1-14). Jesus abides by the scriptures and overcame the devil. It takes the word of God to overcome as it takes faith to overcome (1John 5:4) because faith comes through the word of God (Romans 10:17). After that altercation with the devil, Jesus was said to return in the power of the Holy Spirit. He was not trusted with power unless he passed the holiness test.

What we saw thereafter in his life and ministry was nothing short of glorious, both in the knowledge that he expressed through his teachings and the various acts of miracles that he performed, from casting out devils to raising the dead, to supernatural multiplication of food to feed thousands to walking on water. At every turn, he amazes the people and brought blessing to multitudes.

At every turn, he amazes the people and brought blessing to the people. Nicodemus said that because of that, he was sure that Jesus was a man sent from God (John 3:1-5). By the fact of the miracles that accompanied his life, the big and the small sought him.

He was a point of attraction because he manifested the glory of God, in truth (teaching) and grace (miraculous power). He freely gave the grace, but not everyone can bear his truth, which are both manifestations of the glory of God through him, in the spectacular miracles and the not so spectacular teachings.

What makes a disciple?

Just being interested in the miracles does not make you a true disciples. Jesus said if you continue in my word (not in my miracles) you will be my disciples indeed (John 8:31). And when Jesus says disciples should be made of all nations, he said it should be through the means of his teaching (Matthew 28:18-20). It is not just about the spectacular (miracles), it is about the transformational (teachings), that which leads to spiritual growth. Peter said it is by desiring the sincere milk of the word that we will grow (1Peter 2:2).

However, the miracles are also important. After doing the miracles alone for some time Jesus later on gave the disciples the power to do the same, asking them to go forth into the community to preach the gospel to them and to demonstrate the kingdom of God through signs and wonders (Luke 10:9).

He said to them: I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the powers of the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm you (Luke 10:19). After his ascension, he poured out the Holy Spirit as another comforter (John 14:16) so that what Jesus was able to manifest in the authority to both preach and performed miracles will continue.

He told them before his ascension that the will receive power with the coming of the Holy Spirit and they will be his witnesses. They will be empowered to both speak for Jesus and acts on his behalf demonstrating that he has truly risen, and alive. Jesus said that without signs and wonder the people will not believe (John 4:48).

Glory = truth + power

Jesus said that some people are in error because they do not understand the scriptures or the power of God (Matthew 22:29). Again, those are the two expressions of the glory of God put in different ways (Earlier we said it is about grace and truth, here the word “grace” is being replaced with “power”). These are two aspects of understanding God so that we do not go into error.

It is not enough to know the scriptures which should be our primary way of accessing God, we need to conversant with his power. And it is not enough to just know the power, to see him as creator and so on, we need to know the scriptures.

Just as the glory is seen in the created things, his glory is seen also in his word which is the tool with which he made the world (Hebrews 11:3). Without adequate respect for the word, we miss out in a major way with regards to knowing God, and may become subject to deception.

We should thoroughly know the scriptures like “the back of our hands.” We should pursue the knowledge of God. Paul wrote about Timothy that he had known the Holy Spirit from his youth and that made him wise to receive the salvation that is in Jesus (2Timothy 3:15).

The power seems to be more spectacular while knowing the scriptures is less so, but in the words of Jesus, the scriptures should have an equal emphasis as the power of God. That is a call to balance. The word of God is able to reproduce the power of God, as it is the means by which the world was created, as earlier mentioned.

The bible says that the word of God is quick and powerful sharper than any two-edged sword and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). That means it is the divine tool to operate on our heart, transforming it.

Glory = Jesus + Holy Spirit

Jesus was God the Word (John 1:1-2) from eternity past and he came to the earth to be a revelation of the Glory of God, the Holy Spirit was released upon him at a time in his life so that he will manifest the power of God.

So Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the manifestation of the glory of the father primarily as the truth-glory and the power-glory respectively.

Through the seed of the word of God we experience spiritual rebirth, and through empowerment by the Holy Spirit we experience the flow of divinity through us in spiritual impact, and get to enter into the fullness of our spiritual function.

Conclusion

In the dream about the house of God that Jacob had (Genesis 28:12), a ladder went from earth to heaven with the angels going back and forth on it.

And while talking to Nathanael Jesus said he will see heaven opened and the angels of God moving up and down on himself, Jesus (John 1:47-51). Therefore he is the ladder that reaches from heaven to earth. And a ladder has two long planks, which I believe stands for the word and power, the truth and grace which Jesus exemplifies and through which the glory of God is manifested on the earth.

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