From the Preacher’s Pen…
There are so very many things about God that we fail to understand! Even when God does reveal a portion to us as human beings it is difficult to fully appreciate it. Still, it is important that we keep looking and learning. After all, can you imagine what medicine would be like today if doctors quit learning and researching a few hundred years ago?
Let’s look a bit deeper at God and especially from the standpoint of a word the Apostle John emphasizes:
The Glory of God
Let’s begin with a Hebrew word used to describe the divine presence of God, Shekhinah. Now this word is never used in the Bible, rather it is a term used to describe the presence or dwelling of God with His people.
The root word comes from the concept of settling, inhabiting or dwelling. Other words derived from this root include the concept of neighbor and, especially, a holy place such as the Tabernacle or Temple.
You probably recall that those holy places were described as the evidence of God dwelling among His people. Since the Jews frequently associated this word with the Holy Spirit and Jesus tells us, For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst (Matthew 18:20), we should also get the idea that this concept is an important lesson for us as Christians.
With this understanding in mind, it should become more readily apparent what John said: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). The New Testament writers wrote of actually seeing and experiencing the presence of, the Glory of God here on this earth. They wrote as eyewitnesses for us to learn the reality, the truth of what God has done for us.
With Jesus’ first miracle John reminds us: Jesus did this, the first of his signs, at Cana in Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him (John 2:11). In Jesus’ presence here on earth and in the works (miracles) that He did, the Glory of God is actually seen by humans.
Later, as John concludes the New Testament, he reveals this statement from Jesus to His people (His church): Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me (Revelation 3:20).
Acts 2:38 reminds us that with baptism comes both forgiveness of sins AND the gift of God’s own Spirit to live in us. Paul affirms this repeatedly as he reminds us that we are the temple of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit and that Christ lives in us.
We have not only seen the Glory, the divine presence of our God but He actually lives in us to help us serve Him!
It is only when we begin to appreciate all this that God’s horrendous declaration of those who spurn Him chills us with its great meaning. John tells us: for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God (John 12:43).
Look at that statement again. The word approval in the NASB or praise (KJV) is really the word glory in Greek. Now, do you see how great a curse this statement truly is? Those that fail to faithfully believe in and obey Jesus love the glory of men rather than the glory of God!
Could we possibly become so proud of the presence, the glory of other people that we spurn the glory of God? How incredibly sad!
One day the glorious presence of God will be revealed and seen by all the world. That day is not about God’s glory being seen by us so much as it is about His being seen and acknowledged by the rest of the world.
Christians, as those who belong to Christ, already have seen the glory of the Lord for He lives in them and directs their lives. When we remember that, we will live like it and truly let our light, the light of God Himself, shine out in our lives to enlighten the world.
— Lester P. Bagley