Sunday, December 27, 2015

The centrality of the glory of Jesus in Christian living

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Biblical Christianity rests upon three legs: the practical, the doctrinal and the supernatural.  When we say: "Practical Christianity" or "Biblical Christianity" or "Supernatural Christianity", we're not speaking of three different types of Christianity, but rather ways in which we understand and live out it's truths. That is to say, Christianity is as much practical as it is doctrinal and supernatural. 

How our worship expresses the supernatural character of Biblical Christianity
1 Timothy 3:16 is an ancient Christian Hymn. The words demonstrate that all of the supernatural, practical and doctrinal aspects of the Christian faith flow from Jesus Christ.  Worship is how we best see the supernatural essence of our Christian faith.  Ephesians 2:18 clarifies this point:  "for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father."  Jesus Christ's incarnation and virgin birth stand as landmark supernatural events that shape the very essence of the Christian faith.  To focus on the Christmas Truth of Jesus Christ in His first coming reinforces us to be a people who worship and love the Lord. 

The Glory of Jesus Christ and supernatural Christian worship
If you notice the first and last lines of this passage, they both deal with the glory of Jesus Christ.  Quite literally we are enjoying Christ from glory to glory in this passage.  The glory of His incarnation and the glory of His ascension.  We look forward to the day when He returns in the glory of His Father.  God's glory in Jesus Christ is the beginning, middle and end of Christian worship.  Some passages below will serve to reinforce the priority of Christ's glory in supernatural Christianity:

1. The Glory of God the Son was sung about at His birth. 
Luke 2:14 states:  “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

2. The Glory of God the Son was stated at the beginning of His public Ministry
Matthew 3:17 "and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

3. The Glory of God the Son was stated when He was on the Mount of Transfiguration mid-way through His public ministry
Matthew 17:5 "While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

4. The Glory of God the Son is prayed for by Him in His Upper Room Prayer
John 17:5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."

5. His glory demonstrated in His resurrection is the basis for the Christian's New Birth and faith-walk with the Lord
1 Peter 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"

It was this glory of Jesus Christ that was spoken of at the beginning of His birth. This same glory would culminate in His resurrection and Ascension. Such glory will reach its crescendo at His second coming.  When you see 1 Timothy 3:16, it begins and ends with His glory.  Worship as the chief expression of the supernatural nature of Christianity must begin and end with the glory of Jesus Christ.  He being God in human flesh never ceased being glorious. 

This hopefully has captured for the reader the centrality of the glory of the Son in our practical, doctrinal and supernatural aspects of Christian living. 

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