Posted by: dhkrause | October 30, 2019

Seeing God’s Glory

Pastor John MacArthur writes, “The sight of the glory of God shining in the face of Christ lies at the heart of the entire Christian experience.”*

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NKJV)
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

* Forward to Michael Riccardi’s book, “Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness”, Grace Books, 2015

Jesus prayed that His followers would be sanctified – set apart to be holy –  and that they would see His glory.

John 17 (NKJV)
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Paul writes that it is in beholding the glory of God that believers are being transformed into His image.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)
18 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.

In his book, “Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness” Michael Riccardi describes how sanctification is both internal and external.
The Holy Spirit changes our hearts to not only “do what God commands”, but also to “love what God loves”.  The foundational means of or sanctification is “beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”.

He writes on page 11,

“Therefore, the truly holy person does not merely “do what God commands,” though he certainly does that; the holy person “loves what God loves,” and then acts in keeping with that renewed heart.  As God works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), He inclines our hearts to treasure the glory of Christ.  And as we behold Him with the eyes of our heart, our minds and our affections are renewed (2 Cor. 3:18; cf. Rom. 12:2), so that we love Him more and love sin less.  We are transformed from the inside out.”

In our progressive sanctification by the Holy Spirit, God is working in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  He is working even on our affections.

Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Paul teaches that we are called to be transformed from the inside out:

Romans 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The means for sanctification that the Holy Spirit uses include:

  • Scripture – being diligent and disciplined in reading God’s Word
  • Prayer – asking and receiving in dialog with God
  • Fellowship – interaction with other believers, edifying one another
  • Providence – providential working of God in one’s life
  • Obedience – obeying God with a heart of love

Michael Riccardi describes the primary means God uses to sanctify the believer:

Therefore, we conclude that while the Spirit employs various means of sanctifying the believer, beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ is the chief, fundamental, and primary means which breathes life and efficacy into all the other means.  ‘Looking unto Jesus is the great means of grace by which all other means find their potency’.*  He Himself is the fount of all spiritual life and growth, and in this way His supremacy and sufficiency are magnified in progressive sanctification.” (ibid, p. 41)

*Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, p. 526

He continues (p. 43-44), “The Christian’s pursuit of God-given holiness is, as Scripture says, a fight (1 Tim 6:12), a race (Heb. 12:1), and a battle (Eph 6:10-18).  But because the foundational means of our sanctification is beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ, we must recognize that the battle is fought first on the level of spiritual sight.  That race is run, fixing our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2).

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

Hebrews 12 (NKJV)
The Race of Faith
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Michael Riccardi concludes (p. 44-45),

“As we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we are conscious that it is the Holy Spirit of God who is working within us.  And He works by illuming the glory of Christ to the eyes of our hearts, winning over our affections by the delightfulness and beauty of that glory.  And then our affections inform and direct our wills, so that as a result we might will and work for His good pleasure.

“And precisely because He works in us in this powerful way, we apply all diligence to put away anything that would cloud our vision of that glorious Savior, because the prospect of fellowship and communion with Him promises a greater pleasure than the false and fleeting pleasures of sin.

“And we make every effort to saturate our minds with the loveliness of Christ’s glory, delightfully disciplining ourselves to behold Him in His Word, to seek His face in worshipful prayer, to enjoy Him in fellowship with the saints, to see Him at work in creation and providence, and to obey Him in the sure hope that obedience brings us into deeper and greater communion with Him.”

Let us, then, fix our eyes on Jesus, and run our race with endurance for the joy set before us.”

As 1 John 3:2 declares, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

David Krause,,, 10/26/2019

Photo credit:  https://

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