The Glory of Christ Before Creation

“And now, glorify me, Father, with yourself, in the glory, which I had with you before the cosmos existed.”

(John 17:5)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word with God, and God was the Word. This one was in the beginning with God.

(John 1:1-2)

In these last days he spoke to us through the Son, whom he established as heir of all things, through whom he also created the ages. Who being the radiance of the glory and the exact image of his essence, also bearing all things in the word of his power; after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

(Hebrews 1:2-3)

The one who was from the beginning, the one we have heard, the one we have seen with our eyes, the one which we have seen and touched with our hands-concerning the Word of life.

(1 John 1:1)

Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God, was with God from the beginning, came to earth to take on flesh, suffer, and die for a sinful people, and was then exalted back into glory to the praise of his glorious name, forever and ever, amen.  This is one of those passages of scripture that we need to come back to over and over again, not only for our devotional nourishment, but also to remind us and embolden us against those who reject the spiritual truth that this short verse sets before us.

There are many in this world who like to think of Jesus as a wise teacher and some form of exalted man.  The Jews claim that Jesus was a prophet, but nothing more; the Muslims claim he was a prophet who ascended into heaven.  The Mormons hold that Jesus was a divine human, one who, by a perfect life, was given the reward of being a god.  Many “New Agers” hold that Jesus was a form of mystic, a guru from which wise lessons can be learned, and atheists hold every position possible from that he was a wise teacher to that stories of him were manufactured by the church to gain power—a great conspiracy theory.  Yet, the Bible is clear that Jesus is God and he was never created, but has always existed as the second member of the Trinity.  Jesus speaks here of the glory he had with the Father (as they are one) before the cosmos began.  Oftentimes the term ko/smoß (cosmos) is translated as “world in our Bibles, and such is a legitimate translation, but in the context of this passage, the cosmos is meant to include the whole of the created order—all there is, everything that exists in the universe, the visible and the invisible which came into being through the Son (Colossians 1:16).  Here, Jesus is reminding us that when Genesis 1:1 begins with the language, “In the beginning God…” it is speaking about him.  Thus, if you deny that Jesus is God or that he was pre-existent, then you are denying the Bible itself as well as what Jesus taught about himself.  Such is true of all false religions.

Yet, what does it mean for Jesus to speak of desiring to be glorified with the glory he once had?  Is this to imply that Jesus somehow lost his glory during the time of the incarnation and had to gain it back?  Not exactly.  The Apostle Paul addresses this question to the Philippian church, describing Jesus as having veiled his glory in flesh for the purpose of coming and redeeming his people (Philippians 2:6-8).  In turn, God has publicly glorified his Son, not only exalting him above all creation, but in the last days, that exaltation will be public to all of the world and then every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11)—some to glory and some to their own condemnation (John 3:18).

Beloved, how clear it will be on that day, yet, do not think that it is so unclear today.  God has given us his word and plainly taught us that no man can be saved apart from faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Romans 10:9; 1 John 2:23).  And God has testified as to the truth of his word through signs and prophesies all fulfilled in history.  And to we who believe, the Spirit testifies in our hearts (1 John 5:7).  If such is true, why are Christians so often timid in sharing that which we know is true?  Some will say, I suppose, that they don’t wish to offend, yet will not be concerned about offending if a conversation about politics arises.  Others will say that they don’t feel equipped enough or knowledgeable enough to speak on these matters, yet never pursue that knowledge through a study of God’s word.  Loved ones, let us not make excuses, but prepare ourselves well to engage the culture and speak of what we know to be true.  It will only be in doing so that this culture will be turned from its wicked ways and will repent; will you not be a part of God’s great work of salvation by sharing truth with an unbelieving world, one person at a time?

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