Throughout the ages, God has progressively revealed Himself to humanity. Now He seeks to display His splendor through us.
Early one Sunday morning I found myself pacing back and forth in front of the altar in my church's sanctuary, crying out to God. With a heavy heart I wept, asking God to send His glory to my church. "Please send Your glory to us," I pleaded.
That was when the Holy Spirit spoke these words to me: "Fuchsia, what are you looking for?"
I responded emphatically, "The glory."
He continued, "When the glory comes, what will it look like?"
"I don't know," I answered sheepishly.
Then He asked, "What color will it be?"
"I don't know."
"What shape will it be?"
"I don't know," I responded again, almost embarrassed.
Then He said, "If you don't know what the glory looks like, how will you know when it gets here?"
I didn't know how to respond to that question, but His communication was clear. We have heard for years that the glory is coming. We sing songs about God's sending us His glory. We quote Bible verses such as "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27) and Jesus' prayer, "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory" (John 17:24). But unless we study the Scriptures to understand how the Bible defines the glory of God, we may never experience the reality of it in our lives and churches.
What Is the Glory?
"Glory" refers to a quality of God's character that emphasizes His greatness and authority and involves beauty, power and honor. It is used in three senses in the Bible. First, it may refer to God's moral beauty and perfection of character, which is beyond man's understanding (see Rom. 3:23). Glory may also refer to God's beauty as a visible presence (see Ex. 13:21). And glory sometimes refers to the praise and honor that God's creatures give to Him (see Ps. 115:1).
God wants to reveal His glory—in all its aspects—in and through the church today. For that reason it is vital that every Christian grasp the significance of what the glory of God is. Being filled with the glory of God is the priority of the Holy Spirit's work in the church corporately and in our lives individually. Only as we focus our lives to become one with the priority of God will we position ourselves to be changed into His image "from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18).
As we become glory-bearers, the glory of God reflected in our lives will ultimately bring the lost to Him. We will be a part of the great end-time revival and ingathering of souls that God will bring to those who are seeking His glory.
The Old Testament is filled with pictures, or types, that are meant to reveal to us the nature and character of the glory of God. For example, oil, clouds, fire and rain are all Old Testament symbols for the Holy Spirit that reveal one or more aspects of His Person—of God Himself.
The patriarchs saw His glory on a number of occasions. God revealed His glory to Abraham when He made a covenant with him and promised to make him a great nation. He revealed His glory to Moses in the burning bush and again when Moses cried out, "Show me your glory" (Ex. 33:18).
But it is in the New Testament that we find the ultimate act of God to reveal His glory to mankind: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14, NASB). God Himself became man in order to perfectly reveal His glory to us and redeem mankind to Himself.
If you and I are to experience the glory of God revealed through our lives, we must relate properly to this incarnate glory of God manifested in Jesus Christ. Though He was God, Jesus walked as a man filled with the Spirit of God, having emptied Himself of His divine powers in order to fulfill the Father's will of redemption. Because He walked this earth in utter dependence on the Holy Spirit (see John 5:30), He can now ask us to do the same in order to manifest the glory of God through our lives.
We can't look at Jesus' victorious life and object, "Yes, but He was God." As a complete man, Jesus taught us by example that the source of victory—the source of His glory in us—is being filled with, empowered by, and obedient to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit at Work
For this reason, it is important for us to understand the integral relationship of the Holy Spirit to the person and ministry of the incarnate Christ. We can trace the Holy Spirit at work through seven steps in Jesus' life:
1. His birth. Of course, Christ did not have His beginning in the manger in Bethlehem. He existed before eternity, back in the eons of the ages before time began. It was the Holy Spirit who facilitated His coming.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary, he declared, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35, NKJV). Without the Holy Spirit, the incarnation of Jesus through conception would not have been possible. Likewise, in our regeneration, our new birth is impossible without the Holy Spirit's creating the life of God in us.
Jesus grew and developed just as any child does (minus the detriments of a sinful nature). As a boy he was already filled with such wisdom that He astonished the temple rabbis of Jerusalem (see Luke 2:42-47). Jesus' understanding of the Scriptures was not just a result of childhood studies common to Jewish boys; it was the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in Him.
In His humanity, Jesus developed and increased in His abilities by the power of the Holy Spirit. In that same way, the glory of God—His divine nature—is developed in us as we yield to the work of the Holy Spirit to teach us the wisdom of God.
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