Sermon: The Complete Failure of Man’s Righteousness Romans 10:1-3

The Complete Failure of Man’s Righteousness

Romans 10:1-3

Truth Taught-Human righteousness even when it is zealous still leads to utter destruction

Introduction

I can remember a conversation I had with someone many years ago about the issue of Jesus Christ being the only way a sinner can be made right with God. As this person made their case for God being inclusive of all religions because, according to him, even though they don’t realize it, all religions actually worship the same God. I asked him where did he get his view from? His response was that to see if someone’s religion is real we should just look to the worshipper’s commitment and zeal for God.

No matter what you say, people most often have their minds made up already. So when I took them to Romans 10 and showed him what Paul said about the Israelites…Judaism (one of the religions he felt was acceptable to God) when it came to their zeal and to their commitment they still felt that other religions were as good as Christianity. The fact is regardless of how hard someone believes a lie is not relevant.

Paul began to show us in Romans 9 that the Jews are missing the most important and vital piece Jesus, Himself. They were a group who tried to work their way to God. When shown the truth they stumbled over Jesus.

Romans 9:30–33 (ESV)

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

       “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

When a person is using the Law of God as a means of finding God’s favor what they are doing is seeking righteousness by their own efforts.

Human righteousness even when it is zealous still leads to utter destruction

Human Need

We must realize that there is salvation only in Jesus Christ. We also have the need to live accordingly.

Father, You have Gathered Your people that You may let us hear Your words, so that we may learn to fear You all the days that we live on the earth, and that we may also teach our children…amen

Romans 10:1–3 (ESV)

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

So, what did Paul do? What was his strategy when it came to the salvation of his Jewish kinsmen?

  1. Paul Prayed

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

While the Israelites had zeal without knowledge, Paul had a zeal with knowledge. He knew God is sovereign. He had just taught us in Romans 9 about God saving some and hardening others. He taught us Jacob I loved and Esau Ive hated. He taught us about election and God’s foreknowledge. While all that is true, now he’s going to show us how it is the elect are saved and how prayer plays a wonderful part in the equation.

There are hyper-Calvinists, those who do not see a need for prayer and evangelism because they say, Since God is sovereign and has elected those to save then we play no part in that at all.

Paul was not a hyper-Calvinist and we are NOT hyper-Calvinists.

God wants us to pray is that in prayer God allows us as creatures to be involved in activities that are eternally important. When we pray, the work of the kingdom is advanced. In this way, prayer gives us opportunity to be involved in a significant way in the work of the kingdom and thus gives expression to our greatness as creatures made in God’s image.[1]

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Sermon:The Paradox of Grace Romans 9:25-33

The Paradox of Grace

Romans 9:25-33

Truth Taught- The Gospel of God saves all who believe, both Jew and Gentile

 

Introduction

We began Chapter 9 considering the false statement being raised, namely, that God’s Word had failed concerning Israel. If you remember this was due to the fact that very few Israelites were being saved while massive numbers of Gentiles were coming to Christ.

Romans 9:6–7 (ESV)

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

Paul explained very well that it is not Israel but a small part or a remnant that would be saved. He concluded that God’s promises were meant not for Abraham’s physical descendants (National Israel) but Abraham’s spiritual descendants (True Israel) those who share not in Abraham’s lineage but Abraham’s faith.

We looked at Isaac and Ishmael. We looked at Jacob and Esau. We looked at the Golden Calf Hebrews who were shown mercy even though they didn’t deserve it. We looked at Pharaoh who was given what he deserved. We also saw that in each and every case God’s glory was magnified in His divine prerogative to…

Romans 9:18 (ESV)

18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

In our text today we are concluding chapter 9 by revisiting the original statement that God’s Word has failed and see how Paul masterfully refutes that false statement by using two examples. The first, he shows that God’s Word has not failed because His promises are to true Israel, the Israel of faith which includes both believing Jews and believing Gentiles.

Paul uses two quotations from Hosea and two from Isaiah to show that Israel’s unbelief and rejection of the Messiah and His gospel fit what the prophets had predicted.[1]

Romans 9:25–33 (ESV)

25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

       “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’

and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ”

26    “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’

there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

       “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,

we would have been like Sodom

and become like Gomorrah.”

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

       “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

  1. The Gospel of God Saves Undeserving Gentiles

25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

       “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’

and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ”

26    “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’

there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”

The context of Hosea is that the Israelites because of massive unbelief were forsaken by God and literally declared to be Gentiles (not My people). So, by quoting this passage Paul wants us to see that God’s promises have not failed because there is a group, namely Gentiles, who are not God’s people but in fact God will declare to be His people by saving them through the blood of Jesus Christ.

During the time of Christ the Jews had for the most part rejected God’s Son. This was the pinnacle of their unbelief and rebellion against God. God raised up apostles to go to the Gentiles and preach the Good News of salvation through Christ. Many Gentiles were being converted.

Now we should consider who these Gentiles are who were not God’s people but because of the Cross are declared to be God’s people.

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Sermon: God Does as He Pleases With His Creation (Part 2) Romans 9:19–29

God Does as He Pleases With His Creation (Part 2)

Romans 9:19–29

Truth Taught- God has determined to use His creation to show His glory.

Introduction:

Last time we looked at Romans together we learned some really amazing truths. Beloved, these are not easy truths but they are vital truths. As we enter into the doctrine of God choosing some and not others, namely the doctrine of election we find ourselves really challenged. The reason is this doctrine goes very much against human reasoning.

The reality is that God can do whatever He wants to do without our endorsement or approval. He does not operate on an approval rating like a Politian. He doesn’t have the fear of man but does absolutely anything He decrees without hesitation.

Specifically, last time we looked at two examples to answer the accusation that God is not just in electing whomever He chooses. Paul took us to two Exodus events to explain that really for those who think God is unjust in determining who He places His eternal love upon He is not unjust at all. The reality is we look through sinful lenses at what God does and initially some of His actions may seem unjust. He is perfect and entirely sinless so some of what He does will not make sense to us. However, He is always right and good in all He does.

We looked at the Golden Calf Event, which was what was quoted in:

Romans 9:15 (ESV)

15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

The main truth there was that none of those who left Egypt in the Exodus qualified to receive God’s mercy. In fact they were idol worshippers through and through. Yet God chose to spare them not because they were worthy of mercy but simply because He chose them. So if God is unjust, He’s unjust in the sense of showing unjust mercy not unjust judgment. God does this to receive praise and glory by saving those who do not deserve to be saved. God is glorified in redeeming undeserving sinners.

The second Exodus event Paul used to prove God is not unjust was to show us the reality of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. We learned that Pharaoh had initially hardened his own heart and God was simply solidifying the direction Pharaoh was already going. He hated God and was a polytheist (worshipped many gods). So, what God did was harden what was already there for His own glory. God doesn’t tempt or make anyone sin but will use their sin for His glory.

Romans 9:17–18 (ESV)

17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

Paul concludes that in one moment in time there were the undeserving Israelites whom God chose to show mercy to…

Romans 9:15 (ESV)

15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

There was also Pharaoh who God raised up to serve Him in his sin.

What’s amazing is that in both cases God received glory.

So the objection from last time was answered, God is just and when He is unjust it’s to save someone not to judge someone.

  1. Objection: God Can’t Hold the Lost Accountable

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

Here is the human objection stated: If God hardens Pharaoh, it seems a bit to rough to blame him for being hardened, when he couldn’t help it because it was God’s doing not his. But the problem with this objection is a clear understanding of Pharaoh’s heart condition. We learn that God doesn’t take a person who would really wants to serve and love Him and harden his heart against Him. Pharaoh did not really want to love God and God wouldn’t let him. Pharaoh hated God and loved his power and position and the worship of the people. So what God did was to harden Pharaoh’s heart in the direction he was already going.

Paul, at this point, could have went back to Exodus and showed how in the beginning it was Pharaoh who hardened his own heart…

Exodus 8:32 (ESV)

32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.

The reality is Paul doesn’t go there. He simply and powerfully says basically, who do you think you are to question God? 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?

Paul then uses an OT example from a time when God was greatly angered because the Israelites were questioning His sovereign will and acting like they knew the future and could control events.

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Sermon: God Does as He Pleases With His Creation Romans 9:14–29

God Does as He Pleases With His Creation

Romans 9:14–29

(we had some issues with the audio. Sound quality is low for the first 1.40. )

Truth Taught- God has determined to use His creation to show His glory.

Introduction

Last time Paul was making a case for defending God’s promises to Israel. Since many more Gentiles were coming to faith than Jews, there were those who were saying that God’s promises to Israel had failed.

We learned that God’s promises were consistent with what was taking place because they were not made to national Israel but to the true Israelites, those not born in Abraham’s bloodline but those born of faith like Abraham’s.

We also learned that true Israel is made up of all who believe both Jew and Gentile. We also learned that the way the promises of God come true is through divine election, never through natural means such as bloodlines or human will but only from God’s divine decree and initiative.

Anytime the doctrine of election surfaces it automatically creates questions in our minds. The reason is that this is an area where God alone decides.

Isaiah 55:8–9 (ESV)

   For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

   For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The reality with some truths found in the Bible is that we probably wont fully grasp them this side of glorification. This is because God’s ways and thoughts far exceed ours and what is right for God may at times not seem exactly right from our perspective, at least at first. So, beloved don’t think you’re the only one who has ever been confused, left wondering, and even left questioning God because of the truth of divine election.

I remember the first time I heard it.

I remember one of the first times I taught it.

I have been asked basically all the questions there are to ask concerning it.

If you have questions, you’re not alone. If you have questions let’s listen to God answer them in His Word.

Here’s the catch…If your question is addressed in God’s Word then you’re required to accept it and believe it.

If we were to write a thesis statement from last week’s text, it would be something like this: God has kept His promises by making Christians where and when he chooses.

Romans 9:6 (ESV)

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,

God keeps His promises…

Promise is that through Abraham God will create a people who love and worship Him. We learned last week it’s not through being a physical descendant of Abraham but a spiritual offspring by faith. True Israel, the Israel God made the promises to are the children of faith or as Paul writes, the children of promise.

Last week we saw two foundational proofs that God’s promises had not failed but are meant for God’s elect.

  1. Isaac and Ishmael– both were Abraham’s children but God’s divine love was set on Isaac and not Ishmael. Isaac was the son of promise not Ishmael. Isaac received the promise not Ishmael; Isaac was elect not Ishmael even though both were Abraham’s descendants.
  2. Jacob and Esau– Both boys were born of Isaac and Rebekah. Both were Abraham’s grandchildren. God chose to extend His promise to Jacob but not Esau. The text tells us this was so God’s purpose of election would continue. So, Jacob received the promise not Esau.

Romans 9:14–29 (ESV)

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

       “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’

and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ”

26    “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’

there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

       “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,

we would have been like Sodom

and become like Gomorrah.”

  1. Objection…God is Unjust (9:14-18)

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

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Sermon: True Israel and God’s Purpose of Election Romans 9:1-13

True Israel and God’s Purpose of Election

Romans 9:1-13


Truth Taught- True Israel is made up of those who have faith like Abraham, not those who can trace their lineage back to Abraham.

Introduction

As we enter into Chapter 9, it’s important to connect it to the larger section coming up, which is Chapter 9-11. In these three Chapters we’ll see the overflowing grace that is poured out on God’s people made up from those called out of the world both Jews and Gentiles.

Paul’s goal in Romans is the glory of God. Here God’s glory is seen in an amazing way. In God’s goodness and mercy He extends a sovereign calling to those who are undeserving. We see His grace in salvation shining forth in all its splendor.

God is glorified as we see that He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the beginning and end of our salvation. He alone saves us. What about those who are not saved? What about those who will never be saved? God is also sovereign over them as well.

Romans 9:1–13 (ESV)

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

  1. Abraham’s Physical Descendants-

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

In Chapter 9, Paul begins by declaring that he would give just about anything to see his kinsmen saved. He’s referring to his Jewish kinsmen, those who are descendants from Abraham. His Jewish kinsmen know their Old Testament, they know the Jewish traditions, feast days, ceremonial days, and days of special worship. They know the language of Judaism very well, some are even very high up in Jewish circles. However, the fact remains that most of Paul’s kinsmen are eternally lost, forever separated from the God they think they know a lot about.

Because most will never be saved and will spend eternity in hell some were thinking and saying that God had abandoned His ancient people, the Israelites. This thinking stemmed from centuries old misunderstanding as to who God’s people really are. They are not Abraham’s descendants of the flesh but Abraham’s offspring of promise.

Abraham’s descendants are all who can trace their lineage back to Abraham. These are not true Israelites. True Israelites are people of faith like Abraham not his descendants.

Romans 4:9–13 (ESV)

Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Let’s listen to our Lord’s words as He was speaking to descendants of Abraham…

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Sermon: Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love of God Romans 8:31-39

Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love of God

Romans 8:31-39

Truth Taught- Because of the work of Christ we are forever God’s children and forever loved by Him no matter what.

Introduction

When we rightly understand Chapter 8 we will then Like the Apostle Paul praise God for all He has done on our behalf. Some have called this grand culmination of Chapter 8 the Hymn of thanksgiving or the hymn of assurance.

When we discover all God has done to seal our eternal destiny we too can praise Him of salvation and for glorification.

We have learned from Chapter 8 that

Romans 8:1–2 (ESV)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:10-11 (ESV)

10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:15-17 (ESV)

15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Romans 8:18 (ESV)

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

We learned that all of creation is groaning in affliction eagerly waiting the glorification of God’s children, the church groans while it is waiting, Holy Spirit groans as He continually comes to our aid in prayer.

Romans 8:28–30 (ESV)

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

All of these things Paul teaches us prove that we are God’s children, we are eternally secure, and there is simply nothing that can ever change that.

Romans 8:31–39 (ESV)

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

       “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, according to Paul then there is no place for disagreement. That’s what he means when he begins verse 31 with…31 What then shall we say to these things?

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Disciple Hour: Chapter 2- Christ’s Glory as God’s Representative

Chapter 2- Christ’s Glory as God’s Representative

Why must we know God rightly? Why is it vital to have a clear understanding of God, His character and His works?

John 10:1–10 (ESV) 10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:9 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of the Father. This is expressly for the benefit of the Church, those for which Christ died. We see the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV) For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The glory of God that we see in Jesus specifically is the glory of God’s character and works. He is the very image of God.

2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Colossians 1:15 (ESV) 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Jesus perfectly reveals God’s nature and will to us. As we read about Christ through the pages of Scripture we are also learning the character of the Father.
Jesus is the image of the Father shown to us, the Church and He is also in the very presence of the Father. He has been eternally in the presence of the Father. Before His incarnation He was with the Father; while on earth He was in deep communion with the Father, and now He has ascended to the Father.
The Rock on which the Church is built is this very glory, Christ revealing the Father to us. The Church is built on the character and the will of God. So, as long as the Rock stands firm the Church is safe.
Our author states, It is as the representative of God that the Lord Christ is exceedingly glorious. Those who cannot see His glory by faith as God’s representative do not know Him. When they worship him, they worship an image of their own devising.

1 Corinthians 1:21–25 (ESV) 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

We are made to bring glory to God. Since Christ is the representation of God’s glory to us then it is only by Christ that we can glorify God rightly.

Satan wants to blind our eyes to this glory.

2 Corinthians 4:3–4 (ESV) And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Let’s thing logically for a minute…If God can be known just as well through other religions then what does this do where Jesus is concerned? How does this affect what He did for us on the cross? If we can know God through a false religion, Christ has no more glory than a golden calf.
How did the people in the OT know God before Christ came?
Before the incarnation, God’s people knew Him through revelation of His Word and in the ceremonies of worship. This was the privilege of Israel.

Psalm 147:19–20 (ESV)

19    He declares his word to Jacob,

his statutes and rules to Israel.

20    He has not dealt thus with any other nation;

they do not know his rules.

       Praise the Lord!

The deepest longing of those closest to God has always been to see His glory.
David longed to see God but in David’s day, he could only see Him in types and shadows.

Psalm 63:1–2 (ESV)

   O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you;

       my flesh faints for you,

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

   So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

beholding your power and glory.

**Resources Used-

The Glory of Christ by John Owen (Banner of Truth Puritan Paperbacks)

Through the Looking Glass by Kris Lungaard (P & R)