by A.T. Jones
In John 17:4 the first clause of the verse is the words of Christ in that prayer for us all: "I have glorified thee on the earth." In the previous lesson we were brought to consider the purpose of God concerning man, even His eternal purpose and that that purpose is fulfilled before the whole universe in Jesus Christ in human flesh. The purpose of man's existence is to glorify God, and this has been shown before the universe in Jesus Christ, for God's eternal purpose concerning man was purposed in Christ and carried out in Christ for every man, since man sinned, and He says, "I have glorified thee on the earth." This shows that the purpose of God in man's creation is that man shall glorify Him. And what we shall study this evening is how we should glorify God, how God is glorified in man, and what it is to glorify God.
When we study Christ and see what He did and what God did in Him, we shall know what it is to glorify God. And in Him we find what is the purpose of our creation, what is the purpose of our existence, and in fact, what is the purpose of the creation and the existence of every intelligent creature in the universe.
We have seen in preceding lessons that God alone was manifested in Christ in the world. Christ Himself was not manifested; He was kept back. He was emptied and became ourselves on the human side and then God, and God alone, was manifested in Him. Then what is it to glorify God? It is to be in the place where God and God alone shall be manifested in the individual. And that is the purpose of the creation and the existence of every angel and of every man.
To glorify God it is necessary for each one to be in the condition and in the position in which none but God shall be manifested, because that was the position of Jesus Christ. Therefore He said, "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself" (John 14:10). "I came....not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me" (John 6:38). "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10). "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father" (John 14:9)? "He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory, but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true and no unrighteousness is in him" (John 7:18).
Therefore He said, "The words that I speak....I speak not of myself," because as in the other verse, he that speaks of himself, that is, from himself, seeks his own glory. But Christ was not seeking His own glory. He was seeking the glory of Him that sent Him; therefore He said, "The words that I speak....I speak not of myself." In so doing, He sought the glory of Him that sent Him, and there stands the record that "he is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him." He was so entirely emptied of Himself, so entirely was He from being manifested in any way, that no influence went forth from Him except the influence of the Father. This was so to such an extent that no man could come to Him except the Father drew that man to Him. That shows how completely He Himself was kept in the background, how completely He was emptied. It was done so thoroughly that no man could come to Him--that no man could feel any influence from Him or be drawn to Him, except from the Father Himself. The manifestation of the Father--that could draw any man to Christ.
That simply illustrates the one grand fact that we are studying just now--what it is to glorify God. It is to be so entirely emptied of self that nothing but God shall be manifested and no influence go forth from the individual but the influence of God--so emptied that everything, every word--all that is manifested--will be only of God and will tell only of the Father.
"I have glorified thee on the earth." When He was upon the earth, He was in our human, sinful flesh, and when He emptied Himself and kept Himself back, the Father so dwelt in Him and manifested Himself there, that all the works of the flesh were quenched, and the overshadowing glory of God, the character of God, the goodness of God, were manifested instead of anything of the human.
This is the same as we had in a previous lesson, that God manifest in the flesh, God manifest in sinful flesh, is the mystery of God--not God manifested in sinless flesh. That is to say, God will so dwell in our sinful flesh today that although that flesh be sinful, its sinfulness will not be felt or realised, nor cast any influence upon others, that God will so dwell yet in sinful flesh that in spite of all the sinfulness of sinful flesh, his influence, his glory, his righteousness, his character, shall be manifested wherever that person goes.
This was precisely the case with Jesus in the flesh. And so God has demonstrated to us all how we should glorify God. He has demonstrated to the universe how the universe is to glorify God--that is, that God and God alone shall be manifested in every intelligence in the universe. That was the intent of God from the beginning. That was His purpose, His eternal purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We might read it now. We shall have occasion to refer to it afterward. We will read the text that tells it all in a word. Eph. 1:9, 10, "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself." What is that will which He hath purposed in Himself? He, being the eternal God, purposing this purpose in Himself, it being His own purpose--it is the same that is spoken of in another place as His "eternal purpose." What is God's eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus the Lord? Here it is: "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth."
Look that over now, and think that God "might gather together in one all things in Christ." Who is the "one" into whom God gathers all things in Christ? That "one" is God. Who was in Christ? "God was in Christ." Nobody was manifested there but God. God dwelt in Christ. Now in Christ He is gathering "together in one all things," "both which are in heaven and which are on earth." Therefore His purpose in the dispensation of the fullness of times is to gather together in Himself all things in Christ. Through Christ, by Christ, and in Christ, all things in heaven and earth are gathered together in the one God, so that God alone will be manifested throughout the whole universe, that when the dispensation of times is completed and God's eternal purpose stands before the universe completed, wherever you look, upon whomsoever you look, you will see God reflected. You will see the image of God reflected. And God will be "all in all." That is what we see in Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 4:6:
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
We look into the face of Jesus Christ. What do we see? We see God. We see the Father. We do not see Christ reflected in the face of Jesus Christ. He emptied Himself, that God might be reflected, that God might shine forth to man, who could not bear His presence in His human flesh. Jesus Christ took man's flesh, which as a veil so modified the bright beams of the glory of God that we might look and live. We cannot look upon the unveiled face of God, not as much as the children of Israel might look upon the face of Moses. Therefore Jesus gathers in Himself man's flesh and veils the bright, consuming glory of the Father, so that we, looking into His face, can see God reflected and can see and love Him as He is and thus have the life that is in Him.
This thought is noticed in 2 Cor. 3:18. I will merely touch the verse for the present. We will have occasion to refer to it again before we are through with the lesson. "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord"--where do we behold the glory of the Lord? "In the face of Jesus Christ." But He says we behold it as in a mirror. What is a mirror for? A mirror gives no light of its own. A mirror reflects the light that shines upon it. We all, with open face, behold in the face of Jesus Christ, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord; therefore, Christ is the one through whom the Father is reflected to the whole universe.
He alone could reflect the Father in His fullness, because His goings forth have been from the days of eternity, and as it says in the eighth of Proverbs, "I was with him, as one brought up with him." He was one of God, equal with God and His nature is the nature of God. Therefore one grand necessity that He alone should come to the world and save man was because the Father wanted to manifest Himself fully to the sons of men, and none in the universe could manifest the Father in His fullness except the only begotten Son, who is in the image of the Father. No creature could do it, because He is not great enough. Only He whose goings forth have been from the days of eternity could do it; consequently, He came and God dwelt in Him. How much? "All the fullness of the Godhead bodily" is reflected in Him. And this is not only to men on the earth, but it is that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one --in Christ--all things which are in heaven and which are on earth. In Christ God is manifested to the angels and reflected to men in the world in a way in which they cannot see God otherwise.
So, then, we have so much as to what it means to glorify God and as to how it is done. It is to be so emptied of self that God alone shall be manifested in His righteousness, His character, which is His glory. In Christ is shown the Father's purpose concerning us. All that was done in Christ was to show what will be done in us, for He was ourselves. Therefore it is for us constantly to have before our minds the one great thought that we are to glorify God upon the earth.
In Him and by Him we find that divine mind which in Christ emptied His righteous self. By this divine mind, our unrighteousness is emptied, in order that God may be glorified in us and it may be true of us, "I have glorified thee on the earth."
Let us read those two verses in Corinthians now for our own sakes. A while ago we read them as from His side, "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Cor. 4:6. Look at ourselves now. What, first, has God done? Shined into our hearts. What for? "To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Don't you see, then, that God in Jesus Christ is manifesting, showing forth from the face of Christ His glory which, reflected in us, shines also to others? Therefore, "ye are the light of the world." We are the light of the world because the light of the glory of God, shining forth from Jesus Christ into our hearts, is reflected, shines forth, to others, that people seeing us, seeing our good works, may glorify God in the "day of visitation." "May glorify the Father, which is in heaven."
Study the process. There is the Father, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, of such transcendent glory, of such all-consuming brightness of holiness, that no man could look upon Him and live. But the Father wants us to look upon Him and live. Therefore the only begotten of the Father yielded Himself freely as the gift and became ourselves in human flesh that the Father in Him might so veil His consuming glory and the rays of His brightness, that we might look and live. And when we look there and live, that bright, shining glory from the face of Jesus Christ shines into our hearts and is reflected to the world.
Now the last verse of the third chapter again, "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image." The image of whom? The image of Jesus Christ. We are "changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Jesus Christ reflected the image of God; we, changed into the same image, shall reflect the image of God.
The German gives another reading, more emphatic, even, than ours here. I will read it in English. "But now is reflected in us all the glory of the Lord." Do you see it? "But now in us all is reflected the glory of the Lord." The idea in our English version and this idea in the German are both correct. We see in the face of Christ the glory and are changed into the same image from glory to glory and then there is also reflected in us the glory of the Lord.
Now I will read the rest of the verse of the German. "But now is reflected in us all the glory of the Lord with uncovered face and we are glorified in the same image from one glory to another as from the Lord, who the Spirit is." The Lord who is the Spirit; the previous verse said the Lord is that Spirit.
So you see that the whole sense is that God shall be glorified in us, that we shall be glorified by that glory, and that this may be reflected to all men everywhere in order that they may believe and glorify God.
Look now again at the seventeenth of John. He tells the same story there, in John 17:22. I will read again the fourth and fifth verses:
I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
Now the twenty-second verse: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them." He has given it to us. Therefore it belongs to us. This glory belongs to the believer in Jesus. And when we yield ourselves to Him, He gives us that divine mind that empties ourselves and then God in Jesus Christ shines into our hearts from which is reflected His own glory, His own divine image. And this will be so perfectly accomplished that when He comes in every believer upon whom He looks He will see Himself. "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." He sees Himself reflected in His people, so that all reflect the image and glory of God.
Let us use natural things that we may, if possible, see this a little clearer. There is the sun shining in the heavens. You and I would like to look upon the sun and see Him as He is. But even a glance so dazzles our eyes that it takes a moment for them to recover their natural strength. Thus we cannot look upon the sun to behold the glories that are there. The sun has glories and beauties as He shines forth in the heavens. Now if you take a prism--a three-sided, three edged piece of glass--and hold it to the sun that the rays of the sun may shine through it, you see reflected on the wall, upon the ground, or wherever it may be that the reflection falls--in such reflection you see the sun as he is in himself. But what do you see? What is it called? A rainbow. And what is more beautiful than a rainbow? You cannot have a more wonderful blending of colours than are in the rainbow. but that rainbow is simply the sun, with his glory so distributed that we can look upon it and see how beautiful he is. We look yonder. All this glory is there, but we cannot see it there. We cannot see it in the face of the sun. The sun is too bright. Our eyes are not accustomed to the light. We cannot take it in. Therefore the prism takes that glory and causes it to shine forth in such rays that we can look upon it. And this enables us to see the sun as we could not otherwise. Yet when we look upon the rainbow, we are only looking at the sun. Looking at the rainbow, we see simply the glory that there is in the sun as he shines in the heavens. Looking though into the open face of the sun we cannot see him as he is. But looking at the reflection we see the glory of the sun in a way that it delights us to look upon it.
Now God is ever so much brighter than the sun. If the sun dazzles our eyes by a mere glance, what would the transcendent glory of the Lord do upon our mortal, sinful eyes? It would consume us. Therefore we cannot look upon Him as He is in His unveiled, unmodified glory. Our nature is not such as to bear it. But He wants us to see His glory. He wants the whole universe to see His glory. Therefore Jesus Christ puts Himself here between the Father and us and the Father causes all His glory to be manifest in Him, and as it shines forth from His face, the glory is so distributed, so modified, that we can look upon it, and it is made so beautiful that we delight in it. Thus we are enabled to see God as He is. In Jesus Christ we see nothing that is not of God in the full brightness of His unveiled glory.
Now the sun shines in the natural heavens day by day and all these glories He makes known to the sons of men and places before the children of men. All that the sun needs in order to keep his glories ever before us in that beautiful way is a prism--a medium through which to shine for the refraction of His glory and something for these rays to fall upon for reflection, after they have passed through the prism. You could have a rainbow every day in the year, if you had a prism and something for the refracted rays to fall upon.
So also you can have the glory of God manifest every day of the year, if you will only hold Jesus Christ before your eyes as a blessed prism for refracting the bright beams of God's glory and your own self presented to God just as God would have you, for these refracted rays to fall upon for reflection. Then not only you but other people will constantly see the glory of God. All that God wants, all that He needs, in order that man shall see and know His glory is a prism through which to shine. In Jesus Christ that is furnished in completeness. Next He wants something upon which these refracted rays may fall and be reflected, that people can see it. Will you let yourself stand there, open to the refracted rays of the glory of God, as they shine through that blessed prism which is Christ Jesus? Let those rays of the glory of God fall upon you, that men looking there may see reflected the glory of God. That is what is wanted.
Another thought: Take your prism and hold it up to the sun. The refracted rays of light fall on the wall of the house and behold in the reflection the beautiful rainbow! But that plastered wall is only mud. Can that mud manifest the glory of the sun? Can the sun be glorified by that mud? Yes. Certainly. Can that mud reflect the bright rays of the sun so that it will be beautiful? How can mud do that? O, it is not in the mud. It is in the glory. You can hold the prism up to the sun and let the refracted rays fall upon the earth. You can hold it there and that earth can manifest the glory of the sun, not because the earth has any glory in itself, but because of the glory of the sun.
Is it too much, then, for us to think that sinful flesh, such as we, worthless dust and ashes, as are we--is it too much for us to think that such as we can manifest the glory of the Lord, which is refracted through Jesus Christ--the glory of the Lord shining from the face of Jesus Christ? It may be that you are clay; it may be that you are the lowest of the earth; it may be that you are sinful as any man is, but simply put yourself there and let that glory shine upon you as God would have it and then you will glorify God. O, how often the discouraged question is asked, "How can such a person as I am glorify God?" Why, dear brother or sister, it is not in you. It is in the glory. The virtue is not in you to make it shine any more than it is in the mud to make the rainbow shine. It is our art to furnish a place for the glory to fall, that it may shine in the beautiful reflected rays of the glory of God. The virtue is not in us, it is in the glory. That is what it is to glorify God.
It requires the emptying of self that God in Christ may be glorified. The mind of Christ does that, and then God is glorified. Though we have been sinful all our lives and our flesh is sinful flesh, God is glorified, not by merit that is in us but by the merit that is in the glory. And that is the purpose for which God has created every being in the universe. It is that every being shall be a means of reflecting and making known the brightness of the glory of the character of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
Away back yonder there was one who was so bright and glorious by the glory of the Lord that he began to give himself credit for that and he proposed to shine of himself. He proposed to glorify himself. He proposed to reflect light from himself. But he has not shined any since with any real light. All has been darkness since. That is the origin of darkness in the universe. And the results that have come from that, from the beginning until the last result that shall ever come from it, are simply the results of that one effort to manifest self, to let self shine, to glorify self. And the end of that is that it all perishes and comes to naught.
To glorify self is to come to naught, is to cease to be. To glorify God is to continue eternally. What He makes people for is to glorify Him. The one who glorifies Him cannot help but exist to all eternity. God wants such beings as that in the universe. The question for every man is indeed, "To be, or not to be; that is the question." Shall we choose to be and to be a means of glorifying God to all eternity? or shall we choose to glorify self for a little season and that only in darkness and then go out in everlasting darkness? O, in view of what God has done, it is not hard to decide which way to chose, is it? It is not hard to decide. Then shall it not be our choice now and forever to choose only God's way? to choose to glorify Him and Him alone?
Now another word as to what that takes. Here is a passage in John 12:23:
Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
Then, again, twenty-seventh verse:
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? but for this cause came I unto this hour.
What then did He say? "Father, glorify thy name." There He was, standing in the shadow of Gethsemane. He knew the hour was coming and He knew what it meant. Here was this trouble pressing upon His divine soul and drawing from Him, "What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? but for this cause came I unto this hour." The only thing, then, there was to say, as He came to that hour for that purpose, the only thing He could say was, "Father, glorify thy name." After that came Gethsemane and the cross and death. But in this surrender, "Father, glorify thy name," there was taken the step that gave Him victory in Gethsemane and on the cross and over death.
There was His victory and you and I shall come to that place many a time. We have been in that place already--where there comes a time when upon me there may be this demand made. That experience has to be passed through and looking at it as it stands and as we see it, we shall be tempted to say, "Oh, is it necessary that that shall be borne? Is it not more than even God requires of man to bear?" "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour?" Who brought you to that hour? Who brought you face to face with that difficulty? How did you get there? The Father is dealing with us; He brought us there. Then when under His hand, we are brought to the point at which it seems as though it would take the very soul out of a man to bear it, what shall we say? Father save me from this hour? Why, for this cause I am come to this hour. He brought me there for a purpose. I may not know what the experience is that He has for me beyond that; I may not know what is the divine purpose in that trial, but one thing I know. I have chosen to glorify God. I have chosen that God, instead of myself, shall be glorified in me, that His way shall be found in me instead of my way. Therefore we cannot say, Father, save me from this hour. The only thing to do is to bow in submission; the only word to say is Father, glorify thy name. Gethsemane may follow immediately. The cross will certainly follow, but it is victory in that Gethsemane. It is victory upon that cross and over all that may come.
This is certainly true, for God does not leave us without the word. Read right on now.
What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.
That word is for you and for me in every trial, because "the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them." It belongs to us. He will see that it is reflected upon us and through us that men shall know that God is still manifest in the flesh. What, then, shall be our choice? Let it be settled once and forever. It is, To be, or not to be? Which shall we choose? To be? But to be, means to glorify God. The sole purpose of existence in the universe is to glorify God. Therefore, the choice to be is the choice to glorify God and the choice to glorify God is the choice that self shall be emptied and lost and God alone shall appear and be seen.
Then when all is done the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians gives the grand consummation. Twenty-fourth to the twenty-eighth verses:
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
All in how many? He will be all in me; He will be all in you; He will be all in everybody through Jesus Christ. There we see the plan completed. It is that the whole universe and everything in it shall reflect God.
That is the privilege that God has set before every human being. It is the privilege which He has set before every creature in the universe. Lucifer and multitudes of them who went with him, refused it. Men refused it. What shall you and I do? Shall we accept the privilege?
Let us see if we can get some idea of the measure of that privilege. What did it cost to bring that privilege to you and me? What did it cost? It cost the infinite price of the Son of God.
Now a question: Was this gift a gift of only thirty-three years? In other words, having consisted in eternity until He came to this world, did Jesus then come to this world as He did for only thirty-three years and then go back as He was before, to consist in all respects as He was before throughout eternity to come? And thus His sacrifice be practically for only thirty-three years? Was this sacrifice a sacrifice of only thirty-three years? or was it an eternal sacrifice? When Jesus Christ left heaven, He emptied Himself and sank Himself in us--for how long a time was it? That is the question. And the answer is that it was for all eternity. The Father gave up His Son to us, and Christ gave up Himself to us for all eternity. Never again will He be in all respects as He was before. He gave His life to us.
Now I do not undertake to define this. I shall simply read a word on this from the Spirit of Prophecy, that you may know that it is a fact, and that you will know that we are on safe ground, and then take it as the blessed truth and leave the explanation of it to God and eternity. Here is the word:
God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." He gave him not only to live among men, to bear their sins and die their sacrifice; he gave him to the fallen race. Christ was to identify himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who is one with God has linked himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be broken.
Wherein did He link Himself with us? In our flesh, in our nature. To what extent did He link Himself with us? "By ties that are never to be broken." Thank the Lord! Then He sank the nature of God, which He had with God before the world was, and took our nature, and He bears our nature forevermore. That is the sacrifice that wins the hearts of men. Were it looked upon, as many do look upon it, that the sacrifice of Christ was for only thirty-three years and then He died the death on the cross and went back into eternity in all respects as He was before, men might argue that in view of eternity before and eternity after, thirty-three years is not such an infinite sacrifice after all. But when we consider that He sank His nature in our human nature to all eternity, that is a sacrifice. That is the love of God. And no heart can reason against it. There is no heart in this world that can reason against that fact. Whether the heart accepts it or not, whether the man believes it or not, there is a subduing power in it, and the heart must stand in silence in the presence of that awful fact.
That is the sacrifice which He made. And I read on:
He who is one with God has linked himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be broken. Jesus is "not ashamed to call them brethren"; our Sacrifice, our Advocate, our Brother, bearing our human form before the Father's throne and through eternal ages; one with the race he has redeemed--the Son of man.
That is what it cost: The eternal sacrifice of one who was one with God. This is what it cost to bring to men the privilege to glorify God.
Now another question: Was the privilege there worth the sacrifice? or was the price paid to create the privilege? Please think carefully. What is the privilege? We have found that the privilege brought to every soul is to glorify God. What did it cost to bring that privilege to us? It cost the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God. Now did He make the sacrifice to create the privilege, or was the privilege there and worth the sacrifice.
I see that this is a new thought to many of you, but do not be afraid of it. It is all right. Please look at it carefully and think. That is all that is needed. I will say it over, even two or three times if necessary, for it is fully worth it. Ever since that blessed fact came to me that the sacrifice of the Son of God is an eternal sacrifice and all for me, the word has been upon my mind almost hourly, "I will go softly before the Lord all my days."
The question is, Did He create the privilege by making the sacrifice? or was the privilege there already and we had lost it and it was worth the sacrifice that He made to bring it to us again?
Then who can estimate the privilege that God gives us in the blessed privilege of glorifying him? No mind can comprehend it. To be worth the sacrifice that was paid for it--an eternal sacrifice--O, did not David do well when he said, looking at these things, "O Lord...such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it"? and, "In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul"?
"Great is the mystery of godliness; for God was manifest in the flesh." The Son of man received up into glory, that means ourselves. And in that He brought to us the infinite privilege of glorifying God. That was worth the price that He paid. We never could have dreamed that the privilege was so great. But God looked upon the privilege, Jesus Christ looked upon the privilege, of what it is to glorify God. And looking upon that and seeing where we had gone, it was said, It is worth the price. Christ said, "I will give the price." And "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son," and thus brought to us the privilege of glorifying God.