The Glory of Christ


THE addresses reproduced here were delivered in the United States of America. The stenographer’s report has been revised by the speaker.  It has been thought well to retain the original form of unconventional exposition and appeal, since this seems to conform to the New Testament model. It may seem presumptuous even to suggest a comparison between such a slender and inadequate treatment of its theme and the source from which alone our knowledge of the Lord is drawn. But it will be readily perceived that the more closely Holy Scripture is followed, the greater the possibility of profit to reader or hearer.

In the New Testament—and this is true also of the Old Testament—theology is not systematised. The revelation of the mind of God is always made in order to produce a moral or spiritual effect in the persons to whom the revelation is given. The description of the eternal dignity of the Lord, of the depth of His voluntary humiliation, and of the new dignities which are His in virtue of His obedience unto death, were written to the Philippians to save them from the divisions that threatened them. And the remedy is sole and sovereign. Let the mind that brought the Lord from Heaven dwell in us and all who belong to Him will inevitably be drawn together to manifest their oueness in Hun in mutual love and esteem.

“While the mind is occupied With Christ we are conformed to His likeness.”  We all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror (and only that reflects that beholds) the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit " (2 Cor. 3.18).

The writer is very conscious of the meagreness of his treatment of a great theme. These pages are, nevertheless, issued and commended to the gracious care of God who is pleased to use weak things to the glory of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord 

C.F.H January, 1922.

The Gospel of the Glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4.4)

Phil. 2. 5-11 : "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being originally (margin) in the form of God, counted it not a prize (or, a means of self-aggrandisement) to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men ; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the Name which IS above every name, that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Rev. 1. 12-18 : “I saw . . . One like unto a son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white as white wool, white as snow ; and His eyes were as a flame of fire : and His feet like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace : and His voice as the voice of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars, and out of His mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword : and His countenance was as the sun shineth in His strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as one dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, Fear not ; I am the first and the last, and the Living One ; and I became (margin) dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

In devoting the time at our disposal to the consideration of the glories of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are responding to the exhortation of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews to " Consider Him " (3. I). The human heart can have no truer devotion, the human mind no worthier occupation, the human tongue no loftier task than to speak of the Person and the character of the Son of God. May His Holy Spirit not only enlighten our understanding, but may He move our hearts to a fresh purpose to be found, when He comes again, following the Lord in the way.

A Unique Biography.

The biographies of men are usually introduced with some brief reference to parentage and descent ; they often conclude with a brief chapter of regret at the too early close of a useful life, the biography itself lying between these points. we come to consider the Lord Jesus Christ, however, we discover that His birth and His descent cannot be dismissed with a brief reference, and that His history has not been brought to a period by the hand of death. It is strangely divided—strangely, that is to say, when compared with the biographies of men— for upon thirty of His three and thirty years a veil of almost unbroken silence is allowed to drop.

In all we learn a little of His activities during about forty selected days of His last three years, but the bulk of the Four Gospels is devoted to the last week of His life, and of that week, two days demand a larger space than do the other five. Here is something, then, that attracts our attention at the very beginning—that the life story of the Lord Jesus Christ should be recorded in a way so dissimilar from that of every other subject of biography.

Take, to begin with, a statement, made by the Apostle Paul, concerning our Lord Jesus Christ :

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might become rich " (2 Cor. 8. 9).


Here we are at once challenged to ask a question. When did He, being rich, become poor? During His public ministry He had not where to lay His head " (Matt. 8. 20). Of those silent years this at least we know, that He was the eldest son of an artisan's widow. At His birth there was no room for His mother in the crowded inn, so He must be born in a stable-yard and cradled in a manger. Not at any time during His life here on the earth could it be said of Him, in any sense whatever, that " He was rich." When, then, did He become poor ?—for poor He was from the manger to the Cross.

An answer to this question must be sought elsewhere. When He stood before Pilate His testimony was : “To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world " (John 18. 37). Many men have lived under deep conviction that they were born for a purpose, but alone among men this Man could say, "I came.”  Others came whether they would or no, but here is One who declared that He “came" into this world of His own unconstrained will.

When Herod would learn where the Messiah should be born,  the scribes referred him, and rightly, to Micah 5. 2.  There they found it written that out of Bethlehem Ephratah One should come forth Who was to be Ruler in Israel.  There they paused ; had they would have read, “Whose goings forth are of old, from everlasting.”

His Own Testimony.  

We are permitted to listen to some part of the ministry of the Lord Jesus, and on one occasion to hear Him say : “Before Abraham was, I am”  (John 8. 50). Not, ' Before Abraham was, I was ;  not ‘Before Abraham was born, I was born,' but,  " Before Abraham was, I am.”   He was talking to men familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures, who knew that the " I am " was an exclusive’  title of Jehovah, the God of Israel, and of the whole earth, yet to such an audience He used words implying a claim to that distinctive title of Deity.

Listen to Him again as He prays in the hearing of  His disciples, the prayer recorded in John 17.   anticipates His death, resurrection and ascension.  It is the intercessory prayer of the “great Priest over the House of God.”  There are two expressions in it 

to which I draw your attention.  Long ago through Isaiah God had said, “My glory will I not to give to another” (Isa. 42. 8 ; 48. 11).  Now the glory of God belongs to Himself alone, and in the nature of the case is not communicable to any creature.  Yet the Lord Jesus Christ addresses His Father, saying, “Glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory that I had with Thee before the world was” (v.5`).  Thus, you perceive He claims to share the incommunicable glory of God, once again making an implicit clam to Deity. 

Towards the close of the same prayer He speaks thus, “Father Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world” (v.24).  What do these words signify?  That there is in the Godhead a distinction of Persons, and that He who shared the incommunicable glory of God was at the same time the object of the love of the Father.  Thus He is to be distinguished from the Father, but is not, thereby in any sense, made less than, or subsidiary to, the Father in His Godhood.”

Progressive Revelation.

In the First Epistle of John there is given a definition of God, in three very simple words : “God is love."  Not infrequently the Christian preacher is exhorted to lay theology aside and come back to men ‘the simple Gospel’ ; “God is love."   Let us examine the proposition for a moment and consider how we are to preach that “God is love.”  Notice, first of all, the peculiar place in which this alleged ‘simple’ truth is found.   Genesis is the book of He  simplicities, but it is not said there that “God is love.” We look to the Book of Psalms for the expression of the profoundest experiences of religious men, but not to them was it given to discover that “God is love.”  We turn to Isaiah to follow his lofty flights, his majestic visions of glory, but not to him was it given to perceive that “God is love.”   We come down to the Gospels, and listen to the words of grace that fell from the lips of the Lord Jesus  Christ, but not even He declared that “God is love.”  We turn to the writings of that great exponent of the s Cross, the Apostle Paul, nor does he tell us that “God is love." He touches the fringe of it, indeed, when he says that “God commendeth (that is, gives proof of) His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5. 8). We turn to such Epistles as those to the Ephesians and Colossians and read there indeed of “the Son of His love,” but not even from them do we learn that “God is love.”

It is only when the revelation of God has been completed, broad based in history, culminating in the Cross, that at last the character of God is finally expressed in words that are, so to speak, the capstone of the pyramid : “GOD IS LOVE.”

The Courage of the Cross.

It requires some courage to go out into the world and declare to men that God is love. Do you doubt that ? Have you tried it ? Have you ever put your hand ON the shoulder of some wretch who has marred himself, and said to him, ‘My friend, God loves you, God is love’? Or have you said it to some decrepit, maimed person, some person the victim of calamity brought upon him not by any fault of his own, to some mother whose heart is breaking over a child born into the world unfitted for the battle of life,—have you been able to say to such a person, ‘My friend, God loves you, God is love’? It takes courage to say that in a world constituted as ours is. There is only one justification, and that is more than a justification, it is a dynamic, it is the Cross of Christ.

It becomes a power in a man's soul when he grasps the fact that since the Lord Jesus died on the Cross we have irrefragable proof that God is love. A heavy cloud hangs over human life, but the cloud has its silver lining ; and that silver lining it takes on from the Cross of the Lord Jesus.  So with Calvary in our hearts we may go to men and women, without fear, and without hesitancy, and tell them that they may know that God loves them since Christ died for sinners, the evidence and proof that God both loves and cares.

I am sure you have long since been emancipated from the wrong notion that Christ died for us in order to constrain God to love us. The charter of our faith is that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3. 16). The love of the Father Who gave, the love of the Son Who came, the love of the Spirit Who led Him to the Cross, the love of the Triune God, is focused at Calvary in order that from Calvary it may illuminate the universe.

The Father and the Son

There used to be in London a Unitarian congregation of an aggressive character ; their Sunday services were advertised in the weekly press, and always their advertisements were headed in this way “Glory be to God the Father only, as it was in the beginning.”   Plainly the purpose was to exclude the Lord Jesus Christ from the worship due to God, and to deny His Claim “that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father” (John 5. 23). But you cannot honour God as the Father unless you honour the Son and for this reason, that fatherhood and sonship are coterminous.  A man begins to be a father when he has a child, not before. So God is the Eternal Father, because there is an Eternal Son, If the Lord Jesus is deprived of His title to Eternal Sonship, coincidently God is deprived of His title to Eternal Fatherhood.

But love is not something that can be isolated and considered in itself.  If God is love, and eternally has been love, then there must eternally have been an object, an adequate and appropriate object, of His love. This object of the Father's love, then, is the Son, to Whom the heart of the Father goes out eternally. Thus we may think of God in the self-contained activities of His tri-personality : the Father, loving and loved, and the Son, loved and loving, the Spirit binding both together in the holy unity of the Godhead.

“Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father : he that confesseth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2. 23).

Thought fails us, and language imposes limitations even to the expression of such thoughts as we have, and we remember how even the Apostle Paul said, ‘I know in part, and I can tell you only a part of what I know,’ but, thank God, the day is coming when these limitations will be broken down and swept away, and ‘we shall know thoroughly even as we have been thoroughly known’ (l Cor. 13. 9-12). The Lord Jesus Himself said, “neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Him” (Matt. 11. 27). But the statement that precedes this, “no one knoweth the Son, save the Father,” is absolute ; for the full knowledge of  “the Mystery of God even Christ” (Matt. 11. 27 ; Col. 2. 2) is the Father's, and the Father's alone.

We have been called into the fellowship of His Son.  Are we therefore disappointed because we know that the absolute knowledge of the Son is within the competence of the Father alone ? Nay verily, but rather encouraged to think that there is before us the possibility of infinite progress in fellowship with God in His Son, and when that which men fear, the barrier we call death, is broken down, we shall be liberated from the bondage the body of our humiliation imposes upon the spirit, and brought into a larger and fuller knowledge of Him in Whom, by Whom, and for Whom, all things have their being.

First-born of All Creation.

Now I will ask you to consider for a moment the text just mentioned, Colossians 1, from the end of the thirteenth verse : “The Son of His love” (not “His beloved Son, the thought is different, the Son here is the expression of the love of God, not the object of it), is “the First-born of all creation,” I do not understand that He Himself is included in, but rather that these words are intended to exclude Him from, the realm of creation, and for this reason. In the First chapter of John's Gospel it is recorded that John the Baptist said of Christ, “He was before me.” That expression is, literally, “He is first of me.”   Plainly “first of me” means ‘to be before me —external to me’, ‘preceding me.’

Milton tells us that Adam was ‘the goodliest of men since born.’  But that excludes Adam from the category of men who were born of Adam.  And Eve he calls, ‘the fairest of her daughters,’ but plainly Eve was not her own daughter; she is excluded from that category.  Xenophen speaks of ‘the greatest of battles since fought,’ making that one battle the standard of comparison for all subsequent battles. With these analogous expressions before us it seems clear that the words “the First-born of all creation” are to be understood in the sense that the Lord is excluded from the category of created beings, not included in it.

Take, for example, one of our great buildings. If you were asked, ‘How did this building come into existence?’ you would answer ‘The builders built it up, stone upon stone, beam upon beam.’  ‘But how did the builders know where to put the stones and the beams?’  You would reply again, ‘The architect provided the plan.’  ‘And where did the architect get the plan?’  Is not the answer  to that question this: before a stone was put upon a stone, before a line was put upon the paper, that building already existed in the mind of the architect.  It was there complete, in whole and in every part, in the architect’s mind.

The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the Architect and Builder of the Universe.  Now, every building is built for some purpose, or for some Peterson.  For whom, then, was this Universe brought into existence?  For the Lord Jesus Christ, in order that in it, through it, and to it, His glory, which is the glory of the Godhead, might be displayed.

Again, every building requires to be maintained, or the fabric will perish.  Who maintains the Universe?  “In Him all things are held together.”

The Eternal Word

In these verses, then, is declared the relationship between the Lord Jesus and the old creation; those that follow tell of His relationship to the new creation, but with them we are not a present concerned.  Let me remind you of the opening words of John’s Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word.”  You know the difference between the active and the passive verbs.  The former signify action, the doing of things, and necessarily refer to certain points, or periods, of time, but the passive verb " to be " is independent of time.  “The In the beginning” then, not something was done, but someone " was "—that is, existed. Think back through the centuries, the millenniums, the ages, until your brain reels with the attempt to grasp eternity, and when you have exhausted your power to think backward, you are still met by this word in its undiminished fulness: “In the beginning was the wWord, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  The Lord Jesus Christ,, then, the Word become flesh, is not God in any derived or secondary sense; He is God in all that pertains to Godhead, in all that is essential to Deity.

“The Days of His Flesh.”

Passing now from eternity to time, consider Lord Jesus Christ as He moved among  men. When in the Four Gospels we meet One Who shows forbearance and gentleness to all men, let us never forget that this is He Who was pleased to veil His glory and to come forth from the Father into this world.  Let us never for one instant forget the majesty and glory of Godhood that are His by right inalienable, lest the very grace displayed in His Incarnation should betray us into unworthy thoughts of Him Who in the hour of His deepest humiliation was never less than God.

The Sermon on the Mount.

Now let us consider that lengthy section of the Gospel according to Matthew which is called the Sermon on the Mount. What is its significance ? Luke offers us the key to it in the opening words of the Book of Acts, where we read of  “all that Jesus began both to do and to teach.”  The doing precedes the teaching ; what He taught, He first Himself practised. It was the peculiar glory of the Lord Jesus as a teacher that He was the living exemplification of the words He spoke. He left us an example that we should follow His steps. It is not uncommon for men, under the pressure of its difficulties, either to relegate the Sermon on the Mount to the past, or postpone it to the future. We should rather consider it as the portrait of the Lord Jesus drawn by His Own Hand. This is surely just what the Lord Jesus was among men ; this is the character He displayed through the silent years. The Sermon on the Mount is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Love Incarnate.

In further evidence of this let me remind you that the morality of the Apostle Paul is not only higher than, it is different from, the morality of any teacher that preceded him.  Whence, then, did he obtain the conception of love contained in 1 Corinthians 13 ?  The answer may very well be made that the Holy Spirit revealed it to him. True, but how ? The Lord Jesus tells us the method of the Spirit :

“When He, the Spirit of truth, is come . . . He shall take of Mine (the things that pertain to Me) and shall declare it unto you” (John 16. 14). Thus we perceive that to enable the Apostle to write this account of what love is, made visible in what love does, the Spirit presented Christ to the man's heart and he wrote down what he saw. Observe how readily the Name of the Lord can be substituted throughout these verses.

“The Lord Jesus suffered long, and was kind ; the Lord Jesus envied not ; the Lord Jesus did not vaunt Himself, was not puffed up, did not behave Himself unseemly, did not seek His own, was not provoked, did not take account of evil ; He did not rejoice in unrighteousness, but He rejoiced with the truth. He bore all things, He believed all things, hoped all things, endured all things. The Lord Jesus never failed.”

So this description of love is just a description of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Him God came down from Heaven, to show in human life what love is, and to show us what love may be in our own lives also.

The Secret of the Lord.

There are many other passages in the Gospels and in the Epistles that illuminate for us the character of the Lord.  In the Epistle to the Galatians, for example, there is described the ninefold fruit of the Spirit. This fruit of the Spirit falls into three triplets; the first of these is borne by the Christian in his relationship with God, the second in his relationship with his fellows, and the third in his personal life. But this fruit of the Spirit was first of all manifested in perfection in the life of the Lord Jesus. Some day when you are looking for an avenue along which you may study the Scriptures, trace the ninefold fruit of the Holy Spirit in His life and you will find, alike in prophecy, in history, and in subsequent Apostolic comment, how abundantly this fruit of the Spirit was manifested in Him.  But His secret is described in His own words : “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.”  That is the spring from which His character flows, He was meek and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11.28,29).

The Apostle Paul, writing again to the Corinthians, beseeches them “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” The word " meekness " has an unfortunate connotation in our ordinary use of it, one that little agrees with the character of our Lord. Meek He was, indeed, but not with the meekness that arises out of weakness. If there is a meekness that can be associated with strength, then that meekness was His. But I take it that what is intended by that word “meekness " is gentleness, and only the strong can be really gentle; the Lord's gentleness came of His strength. 2 Corinthians 10. 1.

But what of the second word ?  ‘Forbearance’ is good, but there is a better, ‘I beseech you by the gentleness and the considerateness of Christ.’  That, perhaps, is the best word to express the thought.   To consider is to think, but when you find a man is thinking about himself, do you call him considerate ?  No, you call him inconsiderate. The considerate man is one who has a heart ‘at leisure from itself’ to sympathise with other people. So our Lord Jesus is gentle and considerate, and every Christian man has begotten in him by the Holy Spirit of God, an ambition to be gentle and considerate as is his Master.


© Douglas Carr 2021