The Glory and Beauty of Christ 7

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.

There must be a standard of beauty and there can be no standard for the beauty of God but God. It is not a matter of determining if He is beautiful, but simply to behold Him in His glory and to behold His beauty. The Lord Jesus Christ is the brightness of His glory or the shining forth of His glory and as such in Christ we behold the beauty of the living God. The problem with seeing this beauty is our own sin which is a deformity. Sin is the ultimate ugliness (so to speak) which means that those who love sin love what is ugly and so have no discernment toward true beauty. The Scriptures are quite clear that the holiness is the beauty of God, which means that those who love sin see no beauty in God at all.

2 Chr 20:21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness,

Psa 29:2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Psalm 96:9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

Psa 50:2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.

Clearly, and without any question at all, holiness is beautiful and sin is hideously ugly. The Lord was to be praised by special singers for the beauty of His holiness. Interestingly enough, we don’t have songs written like that in our day and hardly a record of what they sang in the biblical days. We have songs that sell millions of copies about human beauty and human love, which is really fallen and sinful beauty and fallen and sinful love, yet where are the songs about the beauty of the Lord and His holiness? It would appear that the songs that are so popular have nothing to do with the true God but instead are man-centered and focused on sinful forms of love.

From Psalm 29:2 we can say with some degree of certainty that the glory of the Lord that is due to His name is to worship Him in the beauty of holiness. This would require, at the very least, two things. One, that human beings would worship the Lord in regard of His holiness and glory. Second, human beings would seek to be holy as a way of glorifying the Lord and in order to worship Him rightly. Is it possible for human beings to worship a thrice holy God without pursuing holiness themselves? Is it possible for human beings to love a thrice holy God unless they love Him in His holiness and therefore seek to be holy? There can be no doubt that the Lord loves holiness and it is His holiness that He swears by, so we cannot worship God unless we love and adore holiness.

The Lord is to be worshiped in the beauty of holiness, but of course no man can work up holiness in his own strength and power. Holiness must come to human beings who seek humility, death to self, and then long for Christ to be their lives. The beauty of a human being is really Christ Himself. Apart from Christ no human being has any true beauty and yet with Christ any human being is beautiful. It is Christ who adorns the human soul. It is Christ who beautifies the soul as He is the salvation of that soul. It is Christ who is the beauty of righteousness and it is Christ who is the beauty of wisdom. Ugly sinners can become beautiful with Christ. Those who don’t have Christ, regardless of how much they are praised for beauty in the eyes of fallen man, are truly ugly because of sin.

In John 17:24 Christ prays for His people to behold His glory which was given Him by the Father and part of that is that He was loved by the Father before the foundation of the world. That glory what Christ wants His people to behold is that which shines out in Him from the Father. It is the beauty of real and infinite holiness. It is the beauty of a triune love which flows from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the Father. All who have Christ in them share in that love that flows between the Father and the Son and it flows by the Holy Spirit who works in us the fruit of love. Oh the darkness of the human heart when it prefers sordid ways of sin to being ravished by the infinite love of God. Oh how dark is the human heart that prefers honor for self rather than seeking the honor and glory of God in and by Christ. The very beauty of all things came into being through Christ and all things reflect His beauty, but the very beauty of God is what shines through Him more than anything else. Let us adore and worship.

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