Copyright © 2004 1
What is the Gospel of the Glory? We haven’t yet discovered the glory of God. And only by God’s revelation can it be made known unto us. I have often been exhorted by other people to preach the gospel. They say, “Now whatever you do, you preach the gospel.” But no one up to now has ever told me what the gospel really is.
The gospel is not a simple statement that Christ Jesus came and died upon a cross that all your sins might be forgiven. Something like that is taught under the Old Covenant—that your sins can be forgiven. There are many aspects of the gospel, but the true gospel is really in one word. The glad tidings that we are to spread is that Jesus is here. Jesus is present. Jesus is here! And Jesus is here because I am here and you are here. Jesus Christ lives in me. I can’t preach the gospel unless Jesus is in me, proclaiming His presence. And when Jesus is here, the dead are raised, sinners are brought unto righteousness, blind eyes are opened, the deaf ears are unstopped, and the lame man leaps as a hart. The righteous, longing for God, come into a personal relationship of holiness, and are unafraid of His presence any more. And we call God “Father,’ because Jesus is present and puts into us His own Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love. I’ve learned that the gospel is one word only—Jesus. That’s what the disciples preached, that Jesus had come. The Kingdom was here. The King had returned, so the Kingdom could be preached. And you will find more than one instance where the apostles went to a people and it only says these words, “And preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection” [Acts 17:18; 5:42; 8:35; 11:20; Romans 16:25; 2 Corinthians 4:5]. The gospel is not good news that at last we haven’t got to go to hell, but can go to heaven. That’s a very minor understatement. That’s something ancillary2 to the gospel. The gospel is that God Himself has come on earth in the person of a human being. His own Son is here—Jesus.
And because Jesus has gone back to His Father, something better has happened. He’s given us His Holy Spirit. It was best for us that He should go back, because when He went back, God put Jesus into us. When He walked on the earth, Jesus was only with people, and a limited number of people, because it was limited by His personal presence, and the people who were there, and the place where He was. Now all over the world and everywhere we can have the Living God, the Son of God, with us all the time, living in our hearts. That is the gospel. The gospel is “The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” [John 1:29] is here to baptize us in the Holy Ghost; that God Himself, Who is with us, might be in us; and that we by His indwelling might be transformed into images of His Son, so that as God has one perfect Image, and one only, which is His Son—His Son might have images who are His sons. So the Son of God came to bring “many sons unto glory’ [Hebrews 2:10].
That very phrase, “to bring many sons unto glory,’ reveals the gospel—the gospel of the glory. The gospel is that God has put the glory back, the glory that man’s sin took away. I want to show you how God brought the glory back. Let’s start by considering what the glory is. Like many other scriptures and terms that we use, I sometimes at last come to the place where I realize I haven’t really known what I was talking about. I find that simple little words like faith and love and hope, and like gospel and glory, we use many times without anyone clearly defining them for us. I don’t mean a dictionary definition. I’m not concerned with what Webster thinks about “glory;” rather, I’m concerned what God thinks about it. Webster may give us a very well-defined meaning for “glory” and miss the point, for these things are spiritually discerned. I advise you to do what I do. When at last I come to a simple word like faith or glory and suddenly it’s brought home to me by the Holy Spirit that I don’t really know what it means, I pray, “Would You please, Lord, tell me what it means? In that simple way that You have, so that I can understand it?” And He does.
So I asked Him what glory was and He said to me that glory is the manifestation of our inner nature. Glory is the manifestation of the inner nature, in whatever person it may be. So God’s glory is simply the manifestation of God’s inner nature. It is the manifestation of God externally shown. Glory is the manifestation of our inner nature. How often at a meeting we say, “Glory, glory!’ What do we mean? I’m glad that God deals with us in simplicity, that He tells us these things in simplicity. Now I can understand what God’s glory is and I can understand why no man can approach unto it. I can understand why I can’t understand it, because how can I understand God, that the outshining of God’s glory is revealed in one Person, the Person of His Son? The Bible tells us Jesus is the outshining of God’s glory [Hebrew 1:3] He is the manifestation of God’s glory. He is called The Word of God. He is the express mind of God. What God inwardly thinks is manifested in speech by the Logos. He is the manifestation of a thought. He is the spoken, voluble3 expression of an inner thought. The thought is the Father’s, the expression is the Son’s, and that is why He is called Logos, the Word. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. “No man hath seen God at any time but the only begotten Son of God who is in the bosom4 of the Father, He hath declared Him” [John 1:18]. So the effulgence5 of God’s glory, we are told in the epistles, is the Son. That means that the full expression of the glory of God is in the Son. And one day we’re going to see Him. One day we’re going to be like Him. One day God is going to put right what Adam put wrong. For man sinned and lost the glory of God: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23]. And because the Lord Jesus came to restore that which He took not away, because He comes and puts everything right—everything!—therefore He is going to restore the lost glory. Only when He does these things He always gives much more than sin, and the devil, and Adam took away. So, as Isaac Watts says,
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessing than their father lost!
[From the hymn Jesus Shall Reign]
Hear me out patiently while I share with you about the gospel of the glory.
Man doesn’t really understand glory because he has lost it. Man is always trying to put back the glory. For example, when kings and queens and princes and potentates and authorities are having some affair of state, they always dress up for it. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t know who they were, because they haven’t got any glory. We talk about the majesty of a king, of a queen, or a president, of an affair of state, but all that majesty is an imposed one, a manufactured one, an artificial one. It’s in clothes and jewels and pretty colors and men standing to attention. In England such affairs would include men in scarlet uniforms and blue trousers with wonderful brass buttons, and busbies6 on their heads; we call them the Guards. But now do you see all that is to draw attention to the ones who haven’t got really inner majesty. We have to make it up.
How did God originally do things? This imitation glory that man has to display, it’s only because we have lost the original glory that God gave in creation. Under the original creation, man was made in God’s image and after His likeness. Quite obviously that does not mean that man has a physical image like God, because God has no physical image. God is invisible, ever has been invisible and ever will be—that is, the Father. He is made visible only through His Son.
So how did God make man in His Own image, after His likeness? The nature of man was like God. God’s nature was revealed in man’s nature. So in many different ways man was made in the image of God. For example, God is the only One who has free will. There is no other being in heaven or earth, or under the earth, who has free will except God. But when God makes a being, in making it like Himself, He always gives him in measure what He has in completion. So we have a limited free will. And those of you who don’t believe that you have free will, you can stop reading if you like. Can’t you? Well, what’s keeping you? You could stop reading if you don’t like what I say, because you have free will. And yet there are those people that say, “To say that man has free will is a complete perversion of truth.” Man has not got absolute free will, but he has limited free will. And in that we are in the image of God.
But God also has a glory. And when He made man in His own image, He let man share His glory. The Bible tells us that God has this wonderful glory because God dwells in “light which no man can approach unto” [1 Timothy 6:16], and the Psalmist tells us that God covers Himself “with light as with a garment” Psalm 104:2].
So God, in His marvelous goodness and wisdom and mercy, gave to man what I could call a limited glory, only a limited glory. He gave him a part of that light; God, who covers Himself with light as with a garment, covered man with light as with a garment. God made man in His own image. Therefore He gave man an outshining of glory that covered him with light as He has an outshining of glory, covering Himself with light. Once the Lord Jesus took Peter, James and John up into a high mountain and was transfigured before them; and His inner, native glory shone out, so that it frightened the disciples [Matthew 17:1-9]. They stammered, they stuttered, and Peter, as ever, not knowing what to say, talked a lot of nonsense. (The lesson is that if you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. Peter said, “Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say” [Mark 9:5-6]. The answer is if you don’t know what to say, shut up and don’t say anything. And that’s put on record—the nonsense Peter talked when he didn’t know what to say—as a little lesson for you. When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything at all!) So God gave man that wonderful glory, and the Lord Jesus shone in that wonderful glory so that his outer raiment partook of the inner glory and shone also. This teaches you how God dealt with Adam in the garden of Eden, for God gave them light as a garment, clothed them in light. Oh, how majestic and god-like did they appear! No wonder God called them gods. God called them gods [Psalm 82:6; cf. John 10:34-35], but we spell that with a small “g.” They were gods, after God’s image; the gods of all the lower creation, and they shone in their glory and their beauty.
To animals, God gave wonderful coverings. He gave beautiful coats to bears, a lovely coat to lions and tigers. In fact, to tigers, He gave those wonderful striped coats that makes them look exceedingly beautiful, like overgrown pussycats. You feel you want to stroke them but you mustn’t because, like cats, they are unpredictable. So you keep your hands away and your eyes on. But you say, how wonderful God is in making that live tiger, with all its beauty. And the subtle leopard. And the glorious, wonderful grace and speed of deer and antelopes. It’s such a wonderful thing when you’ve seen a deer, isn’t it? Think of little kids of goats, playing with each other jumping over each other butting each other—so active, so clever, so wonderful, so sure-footed. And they’ve got their covering. And God gave birds wonderful feathers, which He specially manufactured for that purpose in His own brilliant mind. These wonderful feathers look so heavy, but are as light as a… well, a feather, because they are so beautifully constructed. The bones are completely hollow and yet so strong. God did all this. Did you really think that God covered all those beautiful creatures, like the lizards and the snakes with that marvelous scintillating skin, and the butterflies with those soft, soft lovely scales that make up the colors and patterns of their wings—do you think He gave them all that beauty and left man naked? Don’t be ridiculous. The idea of the nudists—that they’re getting back to Eden—is completely false. They’re getting back to nothing. Originally, God gave human beings a wonderful clothing of glory that shone out. And man, far from being the only creature without a covering, was the creature with the most wonderful covering of all—the glory of man shining out as a god—that made all the animals look up to, respect, fear and worship him. And Jesus confirmed it. “I said ye are gods,” He said, “and the scripture cannot be broken,” quoting Psalms [John 10:34-36; Psalm 82:6].
We have lost our glory and sin did it. When Adam and Eve sinned, the light went out, the glory had gone. Think again of the scripture, “All have sinned and come short of the glory…’ [Romans 3:23]. Do you understand it a bit better now? The light went out. The glory departed. And man was left without any covering at all. All Adam’s deeds were “naked and open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” [Hebrews 4:13], and when he hid himself and Eve in the bushes when God came, God knew instantly that something had gone wrong.
“Why do you hide yourself, Adam?”
“Because I knew I was naked.”
“Who told you that you were naked? The light must have gone out. You must have sinned.”
And when man sinned, he was naked. Before he was covered with garments of glory and beauty that surpassed the lilies, that Jesus said surpassed Solomon in his artificial robes and regal clothes [Luke 12:27-28].
We’ve lost it all, brothers and sisters. The gospel of the glory is that God is going to give it all back again to us. Jesus is come to give us the glory back. He has come that we might cease from sewing our fig leaves together, our artificial religious garments, our theological niceties, our lists of doctrines, our idea of do this and all will be well, our idea of believe this, then you’ll be able to do this, or that, or the other. Jesus has come to reveal the real truth that salvation is not us conforming to anything that God has said; rather, it is God conforming us to what He has said. In His own will He brings us to a new birth, putting His Spirit in us, giving us faith and hope and love. In His own will He gives us back again far more than ever we’ve lost, so we can walk this world, the sons of God, walking in light; so once again, God says to us, “Ye are the light of the world’ [Matthew 5:14]. The glory is back again!
Adam was once the glory of the garden of Eden, and the light of the garden of Eden. But now God has put us in a crooked and wicked world, foul and awful and filthy, surrounded with all kinds of temptations, and God says, “Now I have put My Spirit in you. You are the light of the world.’
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could see each other’s glory? Wouldn’t you be dazzled if you saw someone’s glory? When John was in heaven, one of those who previously had gone there, one of the elders came to him, and John records, “I fell at his feet to worship him.’ “Don’t do it, I’m of your brethren the prophets!” [Revelation 22:9; 19:10] And yet John wanted to worship one who had got a taste of the glory.
So as unregenerate human beings you’ve lost the glory forever. You must be born again. You must be born from above. You must have the very Spirit of God in you. And then one day God will take the covering away. You’re going to shine forth glorious in the kingdom of His Father. “Then shall the righteous shine forth in the Kingdom of My Father” [Matthew 13:43]. Oh, happy day! Oh, wonder of wonders! Oh, to think that I might be there! I don’t take it for granted. Like Paul, “I press toward the mark, to the prize of the high calling” [Philippians 3:14]. I don’t take my spiritual advantages for granted anymore. I don’t boast that I’ll never backslide any more. I don’t boast that I won’t fall any more. But I do say that I believe the Lord is going to keep me without backsliding, until I meet Him in the glory. Hallelujah! Isn’t that something wonderful to realize, this blessed Lord Jesus and what He has done for us?
Under the Old Covenant there was a glory. For God began to put the glory back. First He made man a covering. Oh, wretched substitute for the glory and the outshining that once man had! But God gave him the covering of an animal skin. The Lord took the glory of an animal, the outer skin, and put it on man. God was teaching Adam, “Oh, man, you have fallen from your ways and your beauty and your glory. Only I can put it back again. Only I can forgive you. Only I can release you from the bondage. Only I can make you My child eventually, by teaching you that you will never, ever, be forgiven or come into the atonement, unless it is through the death of another. So God killed an animal and shed its blood. From this first death in His Creation came the skin with which God dressed man. And man then knew that there was a covering that God had given.
Then God began to teach man through Moses about all sorts of things that he needed. Here was sinful man and God had to teach him that not only had he to be forgiven, but that sin had to be covered. Under the Old Covenant God covered sin but didn’t put it away. Under the New Covenant God does not cover sin any more; He puts it away. You won’t find a single scripture in the New Testament that tells you God covers sin; under New Covenant sin is never covered. God removes it! And so it says of the Lord Jesus, “He appeared to put away sin,’ [Hebrews 9:26] not to cover it. The blood of bulls and goats covered sin until the time of the coming of the Just One. Now He has “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” [verse 26]. That is what He has done.
The Lord taught His people through other examples:
- He told His people in the Passover lamb that God passed over them with regard to judgment. [Exodus 12:13] The destroying angel, the angel of judgment, passed over because of the death of the Lord Jesus.
- The scapegoat told them their sins were taken away, into a far, far distance, right away from them. [Leviticus 16:5-10, 20-23] “As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our transgressions from us.’ [Psalm 103:12]
- He told us by the red heifer there is not only removal of sin, but there is cleansing from sin. [Numbers 19:1-10]
- The brazen serpent on the pole told them they had to look to the Lord! [Numbers 21:4-9] Look and live! “Whoso calleth on the Lord shall be saved!’ [Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13] They looked and they lived, and Jesus teaches us that we must look to Him for salvation.
I look to Him upon a cross,
For me I saw Him dying,
God’s word believe that all my sin,
Was there upon Him lying.
We looked to Jesus and our sins were forgiven us and we received life. [John 3:14-15]
He taught them by the offerings:
- the Chattath offering, the offering for sin, which covers all kinds of sin;
- the ’Asham offering, which was the offering for sins of ignorance, sins they didn’t know they had done; but God said there must be atonement for them just the same. You are not a sinner because you know you are a sinner. You are a sinner because you are a sinner. That is very important. And so there is the sin for ignorance—the ’Asham.
- the ’Olah, the burnt offering, the gratitude offering, of giving Him myself because He has forgiven me and saved me.
That was what God taught them. And as He covered man’s sin, God could again begin to reveal His glory, little by little, in the Holy of Holies, when they made the tabernacle according to God’s instruction. God would appear in the Holy of Holies. The Shekinah, the glory of God, would shine out so abundantly, that outside the children of Israel could see it. Now remember that those curtains, those thick curtains—of goat’s hair, of ram’s skin dyed red, the blue that was on the outside, the skins that were dyed blue, the inner coverings, which were of fine twined linen—all those thick coverings excluded light. Nevertheless, even through those the children of Israel saw a Divine luminosity and glow and knew that God had come in His glory and was manifesting Himself in the Holy of Holies, that one time of the year when the High Priest went into that secret place with the blood of bulls and goats. Now He had covered sin, God began to reveal His glory.
And then at the giving of the Law God again revealed His glory. Little by little and in increasing measure, God showed them His glory. Exodus 24:9-11 tells how God revealed His glory at the giving of the Law:
- Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
- And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone [that means exquisitely blue] and as it were the body of heaven in its clearness.
- And upon the nobles of the children of Israel God laid not his hand and they saw God, and did eat and drink.
The revelation of God’s glory continues a little further into the chapter, in verses 15-18:
- And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
- And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
- And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
- And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
God worked again, beginning to manifest His glory.
And then at the raising of the Tabernacle, in Leviticus 9, God tells us through His written word that He gave to us through His servant Moses, how again He revealed His glory. We read in verses 22-24:
- And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.
- And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people.
- And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
God was revealing His glory all over again.
And then God revealed His glory personally to Moses. Exodus 33 tells the story of how God revealed His glory personally to that saint whom He had chosen from amongst the people. In verses 18-23 we read:
- And [Moses] said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
- And [God] said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
- And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
- And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
- And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
- And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
So Moses saw the glory of God:
- And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
- Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
- And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
- Exodus 34:6-8
That was God, restoring His glory under the Old Covenant.
Nor have we time to read how He revealed His glory to Ezekiel, as related in Ezekiel 1. Ezekiel saw that sapphire throne and the emerald rainbow around it. He saw the golden, amber light that radiated from God. He saw before the throne a terrible and awful pure sea that he called the Terrible Crystal, which kept everyone back from the throne. And there Ezekiel saw the seraphim, who were covering their faces and covering their feet. And there he saw the cherubim, those awful beings, the most wonderful of all God’s created beings, supporting the throne of God. Ezekiel saw the glory of God!
Isaiah saw the glory of God. It’s revealed in Isaiah 6:1—“I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.” And because of the glory of the Lord, all the temple “was filled with smoke” [verse 4; compare Revelation 15:8]. That was very wonderful. But the Lord said through Haggai, “The glory of the latter house” (that’s the one we’re in) “shall be greater than the former” [Haggai 2:9]. How can that be? Because the former temple was of stones, but the latter is of living human beings! God has made a temple in which He dwells and that temple is His people. So God says through Peter, “Ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house’—a holy temple in the Lord for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (1 Peter 2:5).
And, do you know, friends, such is your value, such is the glory in you, such is the almighty power of God upon you, so really are you His sons and daughters, that when only two or three of you get together, you form a temple of the living God and the Lord is in the midst. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Oh, brothers and sisters, God has no other temple on earth; nor ever will have. When He creates a new heavens and a new earth He’s having no temple, no tabernacle, for the glory of God is going to be there and we shall see His face.
Under the Old Covenant Moses was not allowed to see the face of God. He only saw the rear-ward of God’s glory. But we shall see the King in His beauty. “Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off” (Isaiah 33:17). “They shall see the glory of the Lord” (Isaiah 35:2). “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23). The Lamb, the express image of the Father [Hebrews 1:3], is the glory of the place. “And there shall be no night there” (verse 25; compare 22:5), for it shall be everlasting day.
God is bringing us into that glory. No wonder the apostle Paul, speaking to Gentiles, says, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24). Stephen also said to the Jews, “The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48). We’re always making God a temple to dwell in. So we build a very lovely church building and write a perfect constitution, everything in order, all our rules are worked out, and everything is nicely trimmed and clipped, well established, with all our doctrine straight. And we say, “Now, Father, we’ve got everything right for You. Send your Holy Spirit to dwell amongst us.” And God says, “No, thank you. ’The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands’” [Acts 7:48; see also Mark 14:58; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 9:11,24]. Hallelujah!
You can’t make a cage for the Holy Ghost to dwell in. After revival, when the Holy Ghost has come, people always try and make a cage to keep Him in. Even Finney7 tried to do it. You believe in your book of absolutely true rules, where if you keep them you’re sure to have a revival; yet you keep them, and He doesn’t come! You cannot make a cage to keep that perfect Dove in. You can’t build a temple to confine the living God. He dwells in human hearts, and only in the hearts of those who are born of God. He dwells in His sons and daughters—“ye are the temple of the living God” [2 Corinthians 6:16]. There is going to be no other temple forever on earth, because He has abolished the Old Covenant and brought in the glory of the New.
Now in conclusion, see what the glory is under the New Covenant. Do you remember how wonderfully the Lord heralded the New Covenant by telling you about the glory? Have you forgotten it? Has Christmas time been so long ago? Then let me remind you about the Christmas that is past.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them.
That’s the heralding of the New Covenant.
Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And then that glorious new note came, that the Savior, Christ, the Lord, the living God, the promised Messiah had come! Oh, blessed day! No wonder the glory of the Lord shone round about them!
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host.
Do you know the very first word they said? “GLORY!” The Bible says so. You’ve forgotten it!
Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men”
or “peace to men of good will.” Do you see? God brought the glory back! That’s what the Lord did.
Do you remember Jesus’ very first miracle, the one He did at the wedding at Cana of Galilee and why He did it (John 2:1-10)? “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory’ (verse 11). Brothers and sisters, the manifestation of His glory wasn’t turning water into wine. It wasn’t Jesus saying, “See how clever I am? I can turn water into wine.” The manifestation of His glory was showing us that He transforms the water of our humanity into the Divinity of God, the wine of the Spirit. The glory is that Jesus has not come, like the Jews, to give us an outer cleansing. These waterpots (verse 6) had been set out for the purification of the Jews to wash up to their elbows before they ate [Mark 7:3-4]. They wouldn’t even eat before they washed, wise people. That was what that water was for, but Jesus wouldn’t have the water used for that. He manifested His glory by turning it into wine, which goes on the inside. It’s not an external religion anymore; it’s an inside reality of God in us, and as much difference as water is to wine—“Wine that maketh glad the heart of man” (Psalm 104:15).
The gospel of the glory had come, and with the glory comes the joy of the Lord, and overflows. If you’ve got the real joy, you don’t have to work anything up. Praise God! It’s a joy that no man takes from you. It can be quickened and enlivened when we all meet together, with a united joy in the Lord Jesus. That’s often an extra blessing. But if you’ve got the real thing, you can have joy when you’re on your own, and under strange circumstances. The Lord can do it.
What’s the purpose of the new covenant? Hebrews 2:9-10 says:
- But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
- For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, that he might bring many sons unto glory.
We see Jesus crowned with glory and honor, bringing many sons into glory. Oh, hallelujah! We’re going to be bathed, washed, soaked, saturated, filled, overflowed with the glory of God, that comes from the inside and not the outside. And as Moses saw the rear of God’s glory, we are going to see His face. So the apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:6-11 that God…
- …hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
- But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
- How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
- For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
- For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
- For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
Listen to what Paul is saying: that which was done away was a fading glory, and that which has now come is an everlasting and increasing glory. “Not as Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished” (verse 13). He put the veil over his face for two reasons, and the first reason is entirely different from the second. The first reason was because their eyes were dazzled when they looked upon him, so he put the veil on. But he kept it on because he found the glory was fading, and he didn’t want them to see that it was fading.
What about us under the New Covenant? Under the old there is a fading glory, but under the new there is an ever-increasing glory. So Paul goes on to say,
- When Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.
- Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
- Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
- But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
- 2 Corinthians 3:15-18
I can’t see your glory and you can’t see it, and you’re not manifesting it; and don’t think you are, because you’re not. For that glory which is not yet revealed is increasing day by day as you walk with God. As the image of God increases in you, as the stature of Christ grows greater, as the Spirit of God expands in you, filling you because you are grown in stature, that glory is increasing, and one day you’re going to burst forth in glory and show it.
And you’re going to differ, as “one star differeth from another star in glory” [1 Corinthians 15:41] because of the difference of your spiritual stature. Then shall be revealed those who’ve really walked with God and those who only had talk. Then will be revealed those who thought they had so much because they had learned so much. Oh, friends, if you could see yourself as God sees you, how awful that would be. Some of us who think we know so much, and know so much scripture, and have learned so much, who have spent many, many hours in studying the scripture, learning it often by heart, perhaps won’t have the glory as big as a candle flame. Yet here is someone who is so ignorant that they can’t even read the scripture; they have to have it read to them. And yet they have so grown in grace, and they’ll have such a blaze of glory, that you’ll think it’s an archangel when you see them. And if you really knew, actually they were “only” an African-American laundress, who took in washing for a living and couldn’t read and write; but she’s got a dazzling glory that is going to blossom out one day. And her glory is going to surpass great so-called teachers of the word who have learned off by heart, from each other and from the Scripture, many truths of the Bible; but they haven’t grown an inch since they were born again. Unfortunately, that’s going to be the rule. I’m not talking about the exception. The real worth of the individual will be manifested. Then we shall have shame before Him or praise before Him. And if He praises you, you won’t be conceited, because you’ll realize it’s all of grace. But if you’re shamed, you will be shamed, before angels and men.
Thank God that He’s given us His Holy Spirit, that glorious spirit of power, to make us like Jesus, in truth, to make us like Jesus in His holiness and His power.
I spoke to you last time I was with you about the nature of the lion and the lamb. That’s what He’s doing in you. The nature of the lion is God’s holiness. The nature of the lion is the power of God. Peter said about that man whom they’d healed at the beautiful gate of the temple (Acts 3:1-11), “Did you think it was us? That by our power or holiness, by our great power of strength out of the lion, by our holiness, as of the nature of the lion of God, that we have done it? It’s not us, it’s Jesus in us. Please don’t give us the glory. Give it to the Lord.’
So my very last word to you is this: It is an invisible glory at present. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that there’s going to be, in a very little while, a manifestation of glory in you that will be visible. It’s not true. It’s a lie. The Bible says so. Oh, for the utter sweetness of just being able to walk with Him. Friends, please don’t seek a super, super spiritual existence. Don’t ask God to give you something that’s far above what other people have. The saints of God are so humble, so innocent, so gentle, so sweet; they’re so hidden. We are God’s hidden ones. We’re not manifested as the great big ones. Our manifestation comes later, when Jesus comes, when it’s for a purpose to be manifested. We shan’t have any conceit about it.
I think of that lovely hymn, written some years ago:
Wise men seeking Jesus traveled from afar,
Guided in their journey by a wond’rous star.
But if we desire Him, He is close at hand,
For our native country is our holy land.
Prayerful souls may find Him by our quiet lakes,
Meet Him on our hillsides when the dawning breaks
In our fertile wheat fields where the sheaves are bound,
In our busy markets Jesus may be found.
Fishermen talk with Him by the deep blue sea
As the first disciples did by Galilee.
Every peaceful village in our land might be
Made by Jesus’ Presence like sweet Bethany.
He is more near us if we love Him well,
For He seeketh ever in our hearts to dwell.
[All seven stanzas comprise the hymn
Wise Men Seeking Jesus
by James T. East]
That is the gospel of the glory. Amen!
We count it as an exquisite honor that You grace us with Your presence. Thank You for Your smile. Thank You for a look of love. Thank You that we sense, Lord, You are not displeased with us. Thank you, Lord, that You’re willing to pour down abundant blessings. Thank You, Lord, that You love to walk amongst us. Thank You that You don’t overwhelm us with manifestations of Your tremendous glory and awful power so it could frighten us. We walk with You, Lord, and You’re so wonderfully near to us, so loving and kind. Dear Lord Jesus, if, when we got to heaven, we only saw You at a distance, dazzlingly beautiful on a glorious throne, we’d be terribly disappointed. We’d long to be back on earth again, with all its fears and temptations and cross to bear. We’d rather be on earth, with a cross, than with You in heaven and afar off. But I know, Lord, I believe You’re going to be as near to us there as You are here, only, much more manifested. Thank You, Lord. Keep us walking with You. Amen.
- Copyright held by Finest of the Wheat Teaching Fellowship, Inc. Edited and annotated by Jim Kerwin. Co-edited by Denise Kerwin. ↩
- ancillary: (in this context) of secondary importance ↩
- voluble: characterized by ready speech ↩
- bosom: (in this context) the heart; the seat of emotions and intimate feelings ↩
- effulgence: brilliance; radiant splendor ↩
- busby: the tall, full-dress bearskin hat worn by British guardsmen ↩
- That is, Charles G. Finney (1792-1875), the famous American evangelist, and a key revivalist in the Second Great Awakening (1790-1840). ↩