From Glory to Glory

I recall that, when I was a boy, I had a picture of a sailor whose ship was on a stormy sea. An artist’s conception of Jesus was next to the sailor, encouraging him on the voyage. What intrigued me about the small card was the luminous cross in the scene. I would put the picture under a lamp to soak up the light, and then I’d watch the image when the lights were turned out. The cross would radiate light. As the moments passed, the glow would dim until it faded from view. I always wished the glow would last longer…

The true glory of Christ far surpasses any fading luminary. When Jesus became incarnate, He retained the full internal glory of His deity. “For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9).

When Christ was transfigured, His glory was briefly revealed to human eyes:

“… Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” (Matt 17:1-2).

In addition to this visual splendor, Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Christ. (Wouldn’t it have been fascinating to listen in on their conversation?) This much we’re told– they “… spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31). The Greek term for “decease” is the word exodus. How marvelous that the Passover Lamb would lead an exodus of God’s people out of spiritual bondage through His redemptive work on the Cross!

This transfiguration of Jesus was a foretaste of the glory He would manifest in heaven after His ascension. In His high priestly prayer the night before He went to Calvary, Christ prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was “(John 17:5). The transfiguration probably fulfilled the prophecy Jesus gave in the preceding context: “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt 16:28).

Since Christ took on the form of a servant He did not usually reveal His visual glory during His earthly ministry. His glory was shown in other ways, such as by His miracles. When John the Baptist was in prison, his messengers asked Jesus, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Luke 7:19). Jesus reassured John by sending this testimony: “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Luke 7:22,23).

As believers in Christ, God has graciously ordained that we share in Christ’s glory! Romans 8:29,30 describe the providential links in the chain of salvation. (The verbs are in the past tense because of the certainty of His purpose.)

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

When will we be “glorified”? The final installment of this aspect of salvation will be our resurrection body, which we will receive at Christ’s Second Coming:

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:1-2).

So during this “mean time” we are not displaying a redeemed body (unfortunately!). As the apostle John put it, “the world does not know us.” They hopefully know our profession of faith and Godly character, yet no halo appears over our heads!

But does this mean that glorification for us is only future? No, our growth in sanctification is a preliminary phase of the glorification which will be fully accomplished on the day of resurrection.

Just as Christ was glorified by His words and works, we are to reflect God’s glory in our lifestyle and ministry. As Philippians 2:15 puts it, “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

How do we reflect this glory in our daily living? One indispensable way is to maintain personal communion with Christ, our Savior, Lord, and Life.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:18).

This is the essence of worship.

Oswald Chambers counsels us to abide in Christ and thereby reflect His glory.

“The golden rule for your life and mine is this concentrated keeping of the life open towards God. Let everything else–work, clothes, food, everything on earth–go by the board, saving this one thing. The rush of other things always tends to obscure this concentration on God. We have to maintain ourselves in the place of beholding, keeping the life absolutely spiritual all through. Let other things come and as they may, let others criticize as they will, but never allow anything to obscure the life that is hid with Christ in God. Never be hurried out of the relationship of abiding in Him. It is the one thing that is apt to fluctuate but ought not to. The severest discipline of a Christian’s life is to learn how to keep ‘beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord.'”[1]

So, the Christian’s glorification is not limited to our resurrection hope. Our source of renewal day by day is ultimately “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). From glory to glory, the Lord is changing us!

May our resolve echo the children’s chorus:

“This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.”


[1] My Utmost for HisHighest, Jan 23. emphasis added, myutmost.org

The mirror graphic is from our friend, David Howell’s, booklet and video: How to be a Child of God.

Copyright by John Woodward 1999, revised 2015. Permission is granted to reprint for noncommercial use if credit is given to the author and GraceNotebook.com. Biblical quotations are from The New King James Version (copyright by Thomas Nelson).


Honorable Mention

Altha Burts’ book, Come Up Higher, clearly presents the life hid with Christ in God. She communicates the glory-to-glory message as learned through the steps of her spiritual journey. It is available (with her other resources) at her web site in print, or free online audio.

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Copyright, John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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