One of the best-known verses in the Bible is Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The Bible clearly tells us that there is a great separation between man and God. Since the Fall in Genesis 3, man has suffered both physical and spiritual death under God’s judgment.
We are now separated from God’s glory to the degree that no man can even see the full glory of God and live (Exodus 33:20). In the presence of a holy God, impurity is consumed (Hebrews 12:29).
Yet God the Father, in the wonder of His mercy and grace, has allowed us to see His glory by gazing directly upon the Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, displayed all the wonder of God in human form. While this is not easy to comprehend, we can all thank God for this truth. Through His incarnation Christ became the once-for-all sacrifice to atone for man’s sin and reconcile us to God.
The Bible tells us that as we know the Son, we know the Father. Consider three amazing passages about the Son.
Paul explains in Colossians 1:15–16, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”
Later Paul writes, “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). In response to His disciple Philip’s request, “Show us the Father,” Jesus replied, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8–9).
If we want to see God’s glory, we must view it through Jesus Christ. If we want to see the Father’s glory, we must see it through the Son. In Jesus we see all of God’s grace, holiness, wisdom, creative power, love, justice, and mercy. While we do not see physical glory in His fleshly human body, which was as breakable as ours, we do see all the glory of God’s character reflected in the person and works of Christ.
When you look through a telescope, you look through two lenses. The objective lens at the big end of the telescope captures light from vast and distant objects and brings it into focus. Then the small eyepiece at your end of the telescope converts the image into a form your eyes can comprehend. God’s glory is like this. Christ brings into focus the brightness of the Father’s full glory, and now His Word, the Bible, is our eyepiece through which we see Christ.
This makes the Bible immensely important. If our vision of God’s glory relies on our ability to see Christ through His Word, any scratch, crack, or obstruction on this eyepiece will distort our view of God’s glory. In less abstract terms, any doubts cast upon the authority of Scripture, its infallibility, or its inerrancy in any part, invariably places doubt on the glory of both the Son, who is the focus of Scripture, and the Father.
Every Word Counts
Which words of Scripture are important in showing us the Son? John 1 tells us that Jesus is the Word, that He has been since the beginning, and that the Word created everything. So from the very first verses in Genesis, we are reading about the Son.
All Scripture originated from and points to God’s Son. So we must be very careful to ensure that we embrace all Scripture as our starting point in every area of our thinking, and keep every inch of this vital eyepiece clean and free of scratches.
When we start with God’s Word, we are able to look through the telescope and view all aspects of the world correctly, according to God’s glory. For example, when we look through the lens of Scripture at the amazing designs in nature, we see the Son’s amazing glory in creation.
Human philosophies have obscured the clear view of God’s glory that the whole world needs to see.
When we examine the curse of sin through the lens of Scripture and the illumination of the Son, we see the Father’s glory in judgment. Only by looking through the first lens (the Bible) can we see the truth of Christ, and only by looking through the second lens (Christ) can we see the Father’s glory. On the other hand, if we try to see God’s glory without looking through both the eyepiece and the objective lens, we will fail.
The church’s attempts to reinterpret Scripture based on modern human philosophies, such as evolution over millions of years, have clouded the eyepiece, causing many to doubt the Bible’s message about Jesus. This compromise has obscured the world’s view of God’s glory. This is a tragedy because the biblical view of Jesus Christ has eternal, life-and-death consequences.
In these last days it is as important as ever for Christians to be well-grounded in biblical thinking. The church needs lens cleaners because lost and needy sinners desperately need to hear the pure, unobstructed gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Leviticus 16 gives examples of things the high priest had to be careful of when going into the holy of holies lest he die. What does this tell us about the proper view of God’s glory?
- To see the glory of the Father reflected in the Son, most people would study Jesus as revealed to us in the Gospels, but Colossians 1:15–16 shows us that a more foundational starting point allows us to see the authority of God’s Son. Discuss the meaning and application of this verse to our view of Christ.
- In John 14:8–9 Philip requests to see the Father. Put yourself in Philip’s shoes and talk about how you think Jesus’s response would affect you?
- John 20:24–28 gives us a great insight into recognizing the Father through gazing upon the Son. In this passage what do you find significant about God’s glory in Jesus Christ?
- After reading this article, what have you learned about how adding human philosophy to Scripture can blur your vision of Christ’s glory?
- What can you do to ensure that you keep the lenses of Scripture clean of compromise?
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