The first chapter of John is well-known as an explanation and description of how The Word (Jesus Christ) became a man and came to live upon this world. John 1:14 describes how Christ “dwelt among” the disciples and how His glory was evident and “full of grace and truth”.
What is this glory? We often say that our objective is to “bring glory to God”. What does that mean?
John is saying that Jesus Christ is the glory of God. And that Jesus was making known God in all His glory. Some aspects of the glory of God – or of glory in general—are:
- Glory must be revealed. It does not exist until it is seen and made known.
- Glory is excellent. Things that are glorious are not humdrum, not ordinary.
- Glory is victorious. In Jesus, we see the victory of Life over death, of mercy over misery, and of grace over sin.
This brings us to the well-known passage in Philippians 4:8. In this verse, Paul defines a number of wonderful things to think upon. Although one can think upon what is true, honorable, just, etc., without thinking directly of Christ, these characteristics are most perfectly embodied in the Lord Jesus. As John put it in John 1:14, Jesus is the glory of God. The glory of God in Jesus Christ is displayed in each of these attributes. Let’s consider them:
- Whatever things are true – this word means “not hidden”, “unconcealed”, “manifested”. Something that is true is an actual occurrence, an event that can be trusted.
- Whatever things are honorable – synonyms: “venerable:”, “revered”. This indicates something that is deep, substantial, weighty, grave. This is in contrast to the shallow, even flippant, examples of Christianity we see around today.
- Whatever things are just – This word means “is as it should be, always.” Christ is what he should be, always, as He ever lives to make intercession for us.
- Whatever things are pure – The idea of this word is things that excite reverence, things that are free from carnality, modest, immaculate, and unmixed with error. Christ exemplified purity, in that He was “holy, harmless, and undefiled”.
- Whatever things are lovely or loveable – This word is not found elsewhere in the Bible. It is a completely subjective idea – what is lovely to one may not be to another. But Paul was certain the Christians in Philippi would know what is truly lovely, and would know that true loveliness starts with the loveliness of Christ.
- Whatever is of good repute – These are things that sound well, that are words of a good omen, or words of good will toward others. The “good news” of the gospel of Christ is the ultimate word of good repute.
- If there be and virtue – Moral goodness, excellence in thought, feelings, and actions. Again, Jesus is our Example of virtuous life.
- If anything is worthy of praise – or commendable. Who is more worthy of our praise than our Lord and Savior?
As we consider these things, let us strive to consider Christ and to think upon Him – the glory of God – in the days ahead.