I am yet again arrested in my study by the splendid contemplation of the glory of Christ! And surely it is by the Spirit of Christ who dwells within me that I can sense Christ’s own zeal to reveal His glory to me!
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with me where I am”, Jesus prayed, “that they may behold My glory…” (John 17:24)
I must wonder, do I know how strongly Christ desires to reveal His glory to me? For surely if I knew, if I was really convinced and convicted that Christ longs for me to see His glory, I would be renewed in my faith daily and my love would not grow weary!
But there is a terrifying thought that plagues my mind; it is more frightening than any other nightmare I have ever had: it is the thought that the human mind and human spirit might become altogether inhospitable to the glory of Christ! What I mean by that is that the mind might become so inhospitable to the glory of Christ that it simply cannot endure the contemplation of His glory by faith anymore; that the human spirit might become altogether adverse towards the glory of Christ and could no longer abide before the face of Jesus Christ! Oh God what a frightful thought!
A second frightful thought to me is this; that some poor soul could hear what I’ve just said and be so unmoved as to say within themselves, “well I never think on the glory of Christ and I’m ok, so what’s the deal?” That someone could come to the point of realization where they perceive that they do not think much on the glory of Christ and have such darkness in their mind so as to reassure themselves in this condition that they are still ok is a truly terrifying thought to me!
“What’s the big deal?”! I’m not embellishing my speech right now; I really do have to ask myself how “carnal” and how “dark” have our minds become today that we are not struck by how little Jesus Christ is glorified in the Church.
“What’s the big deal?” is that God has divinely and extraordinarily shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6); to glorify Jesus Christ is the great work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:14)! And sometimes it seems like we don’t at all seem disturbed that Jesus is not being exalted and glorified among us!
I am not talking about the emotional experiences, exuberant demonstrations, or the magnificent performances that have become the cheap external substitutes for the glory of Christ in our day. I am talking about the heart-bending, faith-building, strength-giving, hope-rising, love-purifying glory of Christ that captivates the soul with the beauty of His holiness!
John Owen wrote the following:
Let us live in the constant contemplation of the glory of Christ, and virtue will proceed from him to repair all our decays, to renew a right spirit within us, and to cause us to abound in all duties of obedience.
It will fix the soul unto that object which is suited to give it delight, complacency, and satisfaction… when the mind is filled with thoughts of Christ and his glory, when the soul thereon cleaves unto him with intense affections, they will cast out, or not give admittance unto, those causes of spiritual weakness and indisposition.
And nothing will so much excite and encourage our souls hereunto as a constant view of Christ and his glory. 1
1. The Glory of Christ, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, 1850-53, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), I, 460-461
I came across this quote from something John Piper wrote on the glory of Christ, and I cannot raise any more apt response from my heart than “amen!”
The soul that is fixated on the glory of Christ is not so easily rattled! Such a bond with Christ will, as Owen wrote, cast away or give no place to our spiritual weaknesses and indispositions. But such a bond with Christ will also draw in and give sanctuary to those divine attributes of God that give us great spiritual strength and inclination that we find utterly lacking in our flesh!
Why, when such a delight awaits us in Christ, might we feel so burdened by deep contemplation of the glory of Christ?
It may be that we are driving the Holy Spirit from His sanctuary in our heart. Consider carefully Ezekiel 8:6 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11,19 & 20. If we drive the Spirit from the sanctuary of our heart by sin, we drive away Him who is appointed to glorify Christ from the very place in this fallen world where Christ’s glory is revealed!
It may also be that we have not exalted God to glory in our own lives, nor have regarded Him as holy. Consider carefully Leviticus 10:3.
Whatever we find that drives the glory of God from our minds so that His glory cannot abide long in our hearts and in our minds, my heart is stirred today to call on the Lord and ask for the grace of the Spirit to reveal Christ in glory to me!
“Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…” (1 Peter 3:15)