Finding God in 4 Glories
Companion blog to “The Hour Has Come“
In Pastor Wilson’s sermon, The Hour Has Come, he takes us through Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer (John 17) dispelling the notion that there might be some contradictions within the text:
- That Jesus possessed His glory before coming to earth
- Jesus renounced His glory in coming to earth
- Jesus still possessed His glory even while on earth and
- Jesus’ glory will return to Him only when He goes back to heaven
How can all of these things be true at once and not a full-on contradiction? Easy! There is more than one type of Glory that Jesus is speaking about.
Glory #1 – Doxa Glory
To understand the first glory, we have to look back at the time Jesus had with His disciples. When Jesus came to earth He brought with Him the fullest revelation of the character and the attributes of God that had not yet been revealed to humankind. This is the ‘doxa’ glory of God.
John 17:4 – “I glorified you on the earth.” All of Jesus’ miracles were/are a revelation to humankind of what God seems to be like. This is so that we can have a right opinion about what God actually is like. To see Jesus and all He did is the best way that we can actually see God and His glory now.
In Exodus 33:18-19, God shows His glory not with His actual face, as Moses had requested, but in His attributes, such as goodness, graciousness, mercy, and sovereignty in whom He chooses.
“So, glory in this sense — is simply the revelation of God; as He seems to be to us — so that we can have a right opinion of who He actually is. It is not all that He is — but is all that we can grasp.” Pastor Steve Wilson
Glory #2 – Shekinah Glory
There is another glory that we can’t see. This is a glory that Jesus left behind when He came to Earth. He says in His prayer that He can’t wait to get back to heaven to possess it again. It is expressed in the Hebrew language as an incredible bright light behind a “cloud.” The cloud they reference was there to obscure the light so that humans could tolerate it. The Hebrews developed a word to express the extraordinary light of God. That word is “shekinah.” It is a shining glory beyond compare, beyond comprehension or apprehension by human beings. We cannot tolerate the shekinah glory of God, thus the necessary cloud.
“When Christ was in heaven for all eternity past, He possessed both glories. He possessed the full character and attributes of what it means to be God and He possessed the full glory, the shekinah glory, the shining glory of God. He possessed both of those and always has because He is God, very God for all eternity. When He came to earth he left behind the shekinah glory. He left behind the shining glory, but He did not leave behind the character and the attributes of what it means to be God. In fact, He brought that to earth so we could see it more clearly than you could see it in all the rest of scripture [Old Testament].” Pastor Steve Wilson
In Jesus’ prayer He is saying that He has accomplished what He came to accomplish in His earthly body and He is yearning to get back to heaven and reclaim His full glory (Doxa+Shekinah). So, now when we read a text like John 14:28, we can know what He’s talking about.
“You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away and I will come to you.’ If you loved me you would have rejoiced because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”
Jesus is not saying that He is less than God. He is saying that God was shining in full brightness at that moment in heaven and He is restraining that part of Himself for our benefit. How did our Lord Jesus hold back such shining glory and not burst forth in all of who He was during those situations when He was being condescended to or tortured? He had an incomprehensible restraint born out of a perfect love for His creation who didn’t know any better. If He’d put on His full glory while on earth, everyone would have known their place and known they were in the presence of God, but they would have also died immediately in their sin. They would have had no hope of a future existence in a perfect kingdom with Him.
Glory #3 – Imago Dei
Gen 1:26-27…”Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
“He [God] is saying that humankind bares a sense of the glory of God. We have impressed upon us, in some measure, the character and the attributes and the ability to manifest the glory of God. That’s what it means to be an ‘image bearer’ of God; to be stamped, in some sense, with His glory; and it happened at creation.” Pastor Steve Wilson
To be created in the image of God is to be made superior to every other created being. Humans have dominion and authority over every aspect of creation. Even after the fall of man in Genesis 3, God didn’t remove our authority or our Imago Dei; it was only tarnished.
So, we have to remember that every person, good or bad, contains the image of God and we are to respect that. That’s why it is wrong to mistreat or murder another human being, either in word, thought or deed. This is a really hard sin not to commit because it is so easy to hide. How many people do we murder or demean in our thoughts every day? When we do this, we in essence strip God of His glory that He impressed upon us. We should want to defend the glory of God at all times.
Glory #4 – Imparted to Believers
Christians have an additional, restored glory because Jesus Christ grants us (by His Holy Spirit) His character, which is His Glory.
“The glory that you [God] have given Me [Jesus], I have given to them [believers], that they may be one even as we are one.”
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
We believers have a huge responsibility not to do anything [sin] to tarnish this glory that we carry. The church at Corinth was warned about this in a corporate setting.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, who you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.”
One day we will be completely glorified as Jesus is glorified. We are well on our way. We have access to the Doxa Glory. We are the Imago Dei Glory and we have the Holy Spirit. All of this glory is working together with a promise of completion.
It is never a believer’s reputation that is at stake here on earth. It is God’s reputation at stake.
I hope you will subscribe to this blog and keep learning all God has to teach through these lessons taught by Pastor Steve Wilson of Grace Community Church.
 John 2:11 – “manifested His glory”, John 11:40 – “see the glory of God”
 John 17
 Exodus 16:10 – “the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud”
 Luke 23:34
 Genesis 9:1-3
 Genesis 9:5-7
 Romans 8:30
 Philippians 1:6