The Glory and Beauty of Christ 8

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.

This view or sense of the divine glory, and unparalleled beauty of the things exhibited to us in the gospel, has a tendency to convince the mind of their divinity… He that truly sees the divine, transcendent, supreme glory of those things which are divine, does as it were know their divinity intuitively; he not only argues that they are divine, but he sees that they are divine; he sees that in them wherein divinity chiefly consists; for in this glory, which is so vastly and inexpressibly distinguished from the glory of artificial things, and all other glory, does mainly consist the true notion of divinity: God is God, and distinguished from all other beings, and exalted above ‘em, chiefly by his divine beauty, which is infinitely diverse from all other beauty. They therefore that see the stamp of this glory in divine things, they see divinity in them, they see God in them because they see that in them wherein the truest idea of divinity does consist. (Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections, Yale Edition, 298)

The Lord Jesus desired for His people to see the glory which the Father had given Him. If Edwards’ was right, there is a beauty in this sense of divine glory. In fact, in the Gospel there is an unparalleled beauty of the divine glory set out and exhibited to those who hear the preaching of the true Gospel. He goes on to say that God is “distinguished from all other beings, and exalted above ‘em, chiefly by his divine beauty, which is infinitely diverse from all other beauty.” When we see that these things are true, we see with some degree of clarity that rationalism is not the whole story and is just a small piece of it in some ways. We also see why Christ prayed for His people to see His glory. He wanted them to see more and more of the beauty of God on display in the glory that He had given and shared with the Son. But we must also take note that the beauty of God is displayed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in Christ Himself.

The Gospel is not just a series of facts that a person must give mental assent to, but it is the display of the beauty of God in Christ Jesus. The Gospel is not just some information that we are to tell people about Jesus so they can make a choice about Him, but instead it is the very beauty of God in Christ Jesus. The Gospel is not just a fact of history, but instead it is the display of the very beauty and glory of God in Christ. This is to say that we have not understood the Gospel and we are not speaking of the Gospel until we see and speak of the wonders of the glory and beauty of God. The only way to speak of the wonders and beauty of God is to show how Christ is the beauty and glory of God on display, but that is true primarily in the Gospel.

The stated importance of this will of course be denied by many and that is because they are caught up with rational things and moral things. But when this part is denied, the rational itself becomes ugly and morality becomes nothing more than rules to live by. Christ Himself is our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption from God. Those things are not just intellectual things that we grab with our minds; those are things of great beauty when we behold them in Christ. God saves sinners to the praise of the glory of His grace and redemption is a large part of the grace He shows to sinners. His glory is not just the object of intellectual apprehension, it is glorious and beautiful. The Lord Jesus Christ is the display of perfect beauty in the world. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the zenith point of the display of perfect beauty. But of course a person must have eyes to see and ears to hear in order to see this stupendous beauty.

The greatest defense of the Gospel is not by means of rational reflection, science, and philosophy; but the greatest defense of the Gospel is declaring the wonders of the glory and beauty of Christ. Christ is life and His life is the light of men (John 1:-5). The hearts of men have the basic truths of God put in them and when Christ is declared the truths of God that men have suppressed come up and accuse them. When Christ is set forth and His beauty is seen in His Person and in His works, the hearts of men cannot really deny the blazing truth even though most will try. The greatest way to build people up in the faith is for them to behold the beauty and glory of God in Christ and in the Gospel of Christ. Christ is the desire of the nations and Christ is the loveliest of all and can be nothing else. All things were created through Him and so all the beauty in the world puts Christ on display, but again it is the glory of the Gospel where His beauty is primarily seen. How our church services should be in reality nothing more than coming to behold the glory and beauty of the risen Lamb of God. That would, after all, portray heaven.

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