The Glory and Beauty of Christ 6

John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

One of the attributes of God is His beauty. While we don’t often think of God and His glory in terms of beauty, when we think of what true beauty is there can be no doubt that God is glorious in beauty. How can God be anything but utterly beautiful since He created such a beautiful universe? He created all true beauty and it reflects something of Himself and His glory. In a sense the beauty of God is His symmetry with Himself and within Himself. His beauty does not refer to a physical appearance, but it refers to His delight in His majesty and the loveliness of His own being to Himself and of the appearance of His own glory. Jonathan Edwards put it like this: “His infinite beauty is his infinite mutual love of himself” (vol 6, Yale, p. 363).

When we meditate upon the thought of Edwards (just above), what else could be beautiful but how God is in Himself? Scripture, speaking of women, says that true beauty is from the inward person (I Pet 3:3-5). The true beauty of God also comes from His inward nature, that is, the Trinity. People will pay money to watch a “love story” and people will weep upon watching plays and movies about what they think of as love. Can there be a more glorious love story in Scripture than the love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father? Can we think of a greater love than the love of an infinite God and how He loves Himself within His being which is the basis, source, and origin of all true love?

What can be more beautiful than beholding the infinite love of God (as triune) in His eternal being who took human flesh and made that human flesh His tabernacle of glory? What can be more absorbing to the soul than to behold the glory of God shining forth in Jesus Christ? Can the soul that sees itself in truth as sinful and unholy fail to behold the beauty of God in the Gospel of grace alone? Can the soul that sees itself in truth as utterly without merit and utterly without ability to gain merit or do anything spiritual fail to see the Gospel of Christ alone which is built on His merit and ability without any found in the sinner?

Psalm 19:1 tells us that the heavens are telling of the glory of God. Is that beautiful to the soul? But if the heavens are telling of the glory of God and that is beautiful to the soul, then how much more is Christ who is the very shining forth of the glory of God beautiful to the believing soul. How utterly adorable is this Messiah who was forever in the bosom of the Father and then took human flesh out of love for the Father and then out of that same love for the Father went to the cross to suffer the wrath of the Father for the glory of the Father. How utterly and indescribably beautiful is the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. It is there that we see the beauty of the justice of God and the love of God on display.

The King James Version on 1 Chr 16:29 gives us this: “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” The Lord loves holiness and there is a beauty in holiness. A holy man or woman is not one who is better than others as such, but is one who is partaking of the holiness of God more than others. There is no merit or credit to us in holiness since we only share in His holiness (Heb 12:10), but instead a holy person is holy by grace alone and when God looks upon us He sees the beauty of Himself in us. Christ, His perfect image, is the mirror which He beholds the beauty of Himself and His glory. When sinners are regenerated and are joined to Christ, God looks upon sinners and sees the beauty of His own holiness in them.

How wonderful it is to worship God in the beauty of holiness because we can know that He is beholding Himself and the beauty of His own holiness in us. How this should humble us and drive us deeper and deeper into self-abnegation and the denial of self. It is only to the degree that we die to self that His self or His glory of His beauty is in us. No, we cannot deny self by the work of self, but self must be denied by the work of a true holy One and that is the work of the Holy Spirit. We should seek Him to work this death in us that we may have more and more of the life of Christ in us and that life of Christ is a holy life. The more of Christ we have the more we will have the beauty of God shining in us and through us. The more we have of Christ the more beautiful we will be in the eyes of God. After all, Psalm 149:4 tells us that “the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.”

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