And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
By Gary Wilkerson
The Greek word for glory here is “doxa.” It’s the source behind The Doxology, the hymn that so many churches sing extolling God’s manifold glory.
“Doxa” is actually John’s translation of a Hebrew word, “kavod,” meaning weighty, substantive, intense, thick. This is what dwells in every follower of Christ: God’s weighty, meaningful, passionate glory. His glory sets you apart—from lightness, from self- interest, from easy believism. That’s how the world knows you exist for God. You don’t serve a Jesus who just wants to make you happy; you serve the real Jesus, the One who has power to transform a life and make it meaningful, purposeful and fulfilling.
All of this opposes the glory of self. “The devil took [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory [doxa]” (Matthew 4:8, ESV). There are many glories in the world that call us to pursue them: reputation, affluence, influence. But the more we seek and receive of those glories, the less we receive of God’s true glory—and the less of His glory shines from our lives.
This pull has crept into the church. Sometimes our worship can lean more toward showy performance and emotional experience than extolling God’s glory and knowing His full, weighty presence. John rightly places God’s glory even before His grace: “We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John points out that grace and truth are contained within Christ’s glory; in fact, they proceed from it.
Yet many Christians live as if grace and truth are stopping points, the end-all of our walk with Jesus. They stop at knowing “positional truths,” neglecting to go on in His fullness. But our lives are meant to express Jesus in all His glory—and that requires His transformation of us.
If we think we have it all together—that we have grasped God’s grace fully, that no more is needed—we are stopping short of His glory. Don’t let that happen in your life. Seek the real Jesus in His fullness—and receive the fullness of His grace and glory!