Friday, September 23, 2022

The Glory of Christ (James 2:1-13)

"My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality" (James 2:1).

“There are three things to be considered concerning the glory of Christ, three degrees of its manifestation: the shadow, the perfect image, and the substance itself,” John Owen wrote. “Those under the law had only the shadow of it and of the things that belong to it.… Under the Gospel we have the perfect image, which they had not.… But the enjoyment of these things in their substance is reserved for heaven; we must be ‘where He is, that we may behold His glory.’ ” The disciples of Christ witnessed His perfect glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. There they beheld the glory of the Lord as Jesus shone with a brilliant light. Probably the closest anyone else has come to beholding the glory of the Lord was Moses when God placed him in the cleft of the rock and revealed part of His glory to him.

What is this glory of the Lord? What did John mean when he wrote, “we have seen His glory” (John 1:14)? In the Hebrew, the glory of God is known as the kavōd. This glory refers to God’s internal glory, the weight of His holiness, as well as to His external glory, known as the Shekinah. God’s holiness is never separated from His presence. The term Shekinah is not used in Scripture but was coined by Jewish rabbis as an attempt to sum up the manifestations of God’s presence. The term is derived from the Hebrew word for dwelling. Therefore, whenever we speak of God’s Shekinah, we are talking about God’s dwelling place. This dwelling place is chiefly characterized by light, but is also connected with a cloud, which manifested the glory of God to the people of Israel as the Lord led them through the wilderness.

When James called Jesus the “Lord of glory,” he knew that this was pregnant with meaning. He Knew that glory, or Shekinah, is distinguished by the presence of overwhelming light. In saying that Jesus is the “Lord of glory,” he is affirming that Jesus is the Shekinah. Even though the incarnation cloaked Jesus’ glory, that glory burst forth at various moments during His ministry. Now He has been raised in glory and is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. One day His people will behold Him in His glory, in the fullness of brilliant light, splendor, and holiness.

If Christ is holy, and the believers are supposed to be conformed to the image of Christ, how well do you reflect Christ’s glory? Do you strive to glorify God by being holy? Ask Him to enable you, by His grace, to grow in holiness, even incrementally today, that you might glorify Him.