Calvary Road Baptist Church

“OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE GLORY”

James 2.1

Throughout the first chapter of the epistle written by James, the senior pastor of the church in Jerusalem and also the half brother of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have seen indication that real faith can be subjected to various tests for the purpose of determining its genuineness. We have also seen that real faith responds properly when subjected to the challenge of temptations, which come in the form of what we would call testings. Brought on by God to prove our faith’s character, such can lead to the crown of life being given at the Judgment Seat of Christ to those who have shown their love for the Savior by enduring those testings brought by God. Real faith also responds properly to temptations to commit sin that arise in our own bosoms from our sinful nature. Such enticements to do wrong cannot come from God, who is holy and cannot be tempted with evil; neither does He tempt anyone to commit sins. Neither do temptations always come from the Devil. It is often our lust that conceives and brings forth sin, and sin when it is finished brings forth death. As well as properly responding to the challenges of testings and temptations, we have also seen that genuine faith responds in a predictable way to God’s Word. The Christian with real faith is someone in whom the Word of God has been engrafted, which is no surprise in light of what the Lord Jesus Christ taught in His parable about the sower casting forth the seed of the Word, Matthew 13. Of the four types of soils on which the seed of the Word is cast in that parable, only the good soil in which the seed of the Word takes root and brings forth fruit illustrates conversion and spiritual life that results from saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.[1] Once conversion takes place, the ministry of the Word continues and one’s faith is subsequently challenged to respond to God’s Word. This underlines the importance to the Christian of the preaching of God’s Word, and is why the Word of God must be read, studied, memorized and meditated upon. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” Psalm 119.11. As well, when sins are committed, the Word of God provides the remedy, Psalm 119.9: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Real faith is strengthened, instructed and encouraged by God’s Word.

This morning we enter the second chapter of this first book of the New Testament to be written, and approach a passage that addresses yet another opportunity for genuine faith to display its character. However, we will not deal with that matter today. Rather, we will forego the main discussion and argument that James puts forth so that we can consider something that comprises the basis of what James is dealing with, something that is foundational to his argument. To provoke you to more thorough study and reflection of scripture, I want to point out a feature of God’s Word that can be very rewarding and can enrich your Christian life. It is the use of a timeless underlying truth to deal with an issue facing a Christian. I illustrate from First Timothy chapter two. Please turn there. In this chapter, the Apostle Paul is rehearsing to Timothy some matters of propriety in public worship, dealing with men leading in prayer and which men are qualified to lead in public prayer, as well as the role to be occupied by women in the gathered worship of God’s people. With the chapter dealing with matters of public worship, the first half of the chapter dealing with men leading in prayer and which men are qualified to perform that worship function, and Timothy reminded that women are not to lead the assembly when men are present, there is a remarkable declaration about the Lord Jesus Christ that we are so familiar with that most people ignore Paul’s larger argument to Timothy. It is verse 5, where Paul writes, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Though this is a great and useful verse, it is obviously not the main thrust of the chapter. Therefore, you see how one doctrinal statement can be so attention-getting that many who read the passage can lose sight of the overall argument. The reverse is also true, I must confess. James 2.1 begins a discussion of how genuine faith responds when opportunity is given to show favoritism, but nestled into the verse is an astonishing statement James made about the Lord Jesus Christ, which is frequently overlooked.

Turn to James 2.1 and stand when you find that verse in God’s Word: “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” Amazing when you think of it, “James 2:1 contains one of the only two explicit references to Jesus Christ in this epistle.”[2] The first explicit reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, of course, is James 1.1: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” However, do not think that frequency of mention gives any clue about the importance of the Savior to either James or to his letter. Though the Lord Jesus is not mentioned often in this first of the New Testament books to be written, it is deeply permeated with the spirit and teaching of our Lord. Our consideration this morning will be that portion of James 2.1 that makes a startling declaration about the Lord Jesus Christ, the phrase “our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.”

Most of you appreciate the honesty of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible, particularly their use of italics as a way of notifying the reader that the words in italics are not in the original language, but have been supplied by the translators in an attempt to help our understanding. While every sincere Christian appreciates such integrity, let us not yield to anyone our responsibility as Christians to implement the Baptist conviction that it is our prerogative to interpret the meaning of the text ourselves.

That said, we begin our three-step process of seeking the meaning of this phrase and its intended impact on our lives and ministries:

First, A BRIEF LESSON ABOUT THE GRAMMATICAL DEVICE KNOWN AS APPOSITION

Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines apposition in grammar as “the placing of a word or expression beside another so that the second explains and has the same grammatical construction as the first.”[3] For example, the phrase “my cousin, Mary,” by apposition shows that my cousin and Mary are referring to one and the same person. People use this grammatical device in conversation every day, usually without realizing that what they are using is called apposition. E. W. Bullinger’s classic Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible indicates that apposition is used for the purpose of amplification, explanation, or description.[4] Thus, apposition is a grammatical tool used even in God’s Word, a way of arranging words next to each other, for the purpose of providing better understanding, or shedding light on something. Apposition is useful in clearing up confusion that might otherwise exist. Turn to Colossians 1.18, where I will show you an instance of apposition: “And he is the head of the body, the church.” Of course, the word “he” refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul is here pointing out that the Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the body. However, notice that the phrase “the church” is placed beside (or in apposition to) “the body.” This is Paul’s way of showing that the body of which Jesus Christ is the head is one and the same as the church. They are interchangeable.

Back to our text, please, which is James 2.1, and the phrase “our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” Remembering that the italicized words are not in the original text and are supplied by the translators, what is set by James in apposition is the phrase “our Lord Jesus Christ” and “of glory.” The Greek words are thV doxhV, literally meaning the glory. My friends, this is astonishing.

Next, A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE ASSOCIATION OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WITH GOD’S GLORY

First, allow me to deal with any possible objections. Does it seem strange that James would identify the Lord Jesus Christ as glory? Why should it seem so strange, especially in light of the Lord Jesus Christ identifying Himself to His apostles as the way, the truth, and the life, in John 14.6? Does it seem somehow objectionable that James would identify the Lord Jesus Christ as glory? Why should it be considered objectionable, especially when you remember that the apostle identified Him as the Word, in John 1.1 and 14? Consider also First Timothy 1.1, where the Apostle Paul uses this same grammatical device called apposition to identify our Lord Jesus Christ as our hope: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.” Thus, there is no logical reason to object to the Lord Jesus Christ being identified as glory, if you take into account the other ways in which He and others identified Him with the abstract concepts of word, way, truth, life and hope. Why not glory, as well?

Consider the Lord Jesus Christ’s relation to glory. When the Christ child was taken to Jerusalem for presentation to the Lord, and also for Mary’s offering for her purification according to the Law of Moses, the Holy Ghost was on devout old Simeon, who described the Christ child in Luke 2.32 as “the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.” We should marvel, too. After all, the glory associated with Israel is the Shekinah, that pillar of fire that manifested God’s presence in guiding the children of Israel through the wilderness.[5] The old man indicated by the Holy Ghost that the baby in Mary’s arms was that glory. Of course, on the Mount of Transfiguration with James, Peter, and John, the Lord Jesus Christ’s glory shined forth, He met with Moses and Elijah, and God the Father spoke.[6] Years later the Apostle John wrote, “we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”[7] Recalling the same event, the Apostle Peter wrote these words in Second Peter 1.17-18:

17     For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

18     And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

In his gospel account, the Apostle John recorded our Lord’s high priestly prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, where are found the Savior’s own words on this matter of glory: “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”[8] The evidence mounts that the glory of God is intimately associated with the Lord Jesus Christ. How does the Apostle Paul, the apostle who was caught up into paradise, describe the Lord Jesus Christ in connection with glory?[9] He describes the Lord Jesus Christ in First Corinthians 2.8 as “the Lord of glory.” Matthew and Mark’s gospel describe His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. John recollects seeing His glory in his gospel account, as does Peter in his second letter. Luke’s gospel contains the astonishing identification of Him by old Simeon as “the glory of thy people Israel.” Paul refers to the Savior as “the Lord of glory.” All things considered, though it is an assertion with staggering implications, James is well within the bounds of propriety established elsewhere in the New Testament to use apposition to describe our Lord Jesus Christ to his readers as thV doxhV, literally meaning the glory.

Finally, THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST’S INCARNATION, IDENTIFICATION AND CRUCIFIXION

By incarnation, of course, I refer to the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, the Eternal Son of the living God, leaving the throne room in heaven to be born of the virgin named Mary. Of course, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ was intimated in Genesis 3.15, when God declared to the serpent that the seed of woman would someday bruise his head even as he would bruise Christ’s heel. This prediction spoke of both the Virgin Birth and Christ’s crucifixion. Isaiah explicitly predicted the virgin birth to wicked king Ahaz in Isaiah 7.14, when he declared, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Thus, the fact of His incarnation was predicted long before He actually came. When would He come? The prophet Daniel tells us. For lack of time, allow me to summarize from the ninth chapter of Daniel:

“If 444 BC is accepted as the beginning date of the 490 years, the 483 years” spoken of in Daniel 9.24-26 “would culminate in the year AD 33 where recent scholarship has placed the probable time of the death of Christ.”[10]

That leaves only a prediction concerning where He would come. For that we turn to Micah 5.2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Someone was predicted back when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden to someday come on the scene to remedy the tragedy that resulted from the serpent’s deadly temptation and Adam’s sin. He was described as the seed of the woman, which is understandable in light of Isaiah’s prediction of the virgin birth. From Isaiah, we know He entered the human realm by means of the virgin birth. From Daniel we know the time of His coming. From Micah we learn the place where He arrived, a sleepy village called Bethlehem. You might think yourself justified in thinking the most astonishing thing about Christ’s incarnation are the predictions made centuries in advance and fulfilled. You would be wrong. The most astonishing thing about the incarnation is Who was incarnated. Who took upon Himself human nature and was born in Bethlehem? The glory. How does infinity compress into a human body? How does immensity accomplish that feat? More difficult to comprehend is how does glory inhabit humanity? And we know glory did inhabit humanity, because on the mount Christ’s glory shined forth for a moment and was seen by three men. Then there was the glorified Christ’s appearance to Saul on the road to Damascus that transformed Christianity’s greatest enemy into Christianity’s greatest advocate.[11] What a miracle that our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the glory, could be born a babe in Bethlehem and lay in a manger.

Next, there is this matter of identification. By identification, I refer of course to the man Christ Jesus taking upon Himself our sins. In Second Corinthians 5.21, Paul writes these words: “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Paul explains no new concept to the Corinthians, but one that is found throughout the Hebrew scriptures of the Old Testament. An appropriate animal is brought by a sinner to the priest in accordance with the Law of Moses. In due course, the sinner lays his hands on the animal’s head so identification is made. The innocent animal is then slain in place of the guilty sinner. Such was the typology God introduced to teach the concept of the innocent identified with the sinful and the innocent dying in place of the sinful. For almost 2,000 years, such sacrifices were made, until one day a man approached and was recognized by John the Baptist as the fulfillment of the type. Here, for the first time, was the real sacrifice for sins. He said of the Lord Jesus Christ, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”[12] Our Lord’s identification with sinners had been predicted centuries earlier, in Isaiah 53.4-6:

4      Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5      But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6      All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Astonishing, is it not? The glory of Israel actually became a man. Old Simeon said so, and he was right. However, that was not enough. In addition to becoming a man, our Lord Jesus Christ, the glory of Israel, also identified with us in our sinfulness. All of my sins were laid on Him, though He had no sinful nature and had never committed a single sin.[13] How is that possible? It was yet another miracle. However, one thing remained to be done.

I speak, of course, of the crucifixion. Too little attention is paid to Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, where His anticipation of the wrath of God poured out upon Him in my place produced incredible suffering.[14] That said; let us be mindful that the Savior spoke always of taking up the cross, and that the Apostle Paul wrote of the preaching of the cross and the offense of the cross. It was on the cross that the wrath of God was poured out upon the Son of God, my Sin Bearer, the glory. When the LORD bruised Him, put Him to grief, and made His soul an offering for sin, it was accomplished on the cross of Calvary.[15] As the Apostle Peter wrote, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh.”[16] The glory became a man. The glory became sin. The glory was crucified. There are, of course, many things about the glory of God that I do not understand. There are mysteries we cannot now fathom. However, we do understand that our Savior, Jesus Christ, is shown in God’s Word to be the glory. In some way, that truth is the bedrock upon which James proceeds in the second chapter of his letter.

What an incredible claim James made about his Master and Savior, his Lord and his King, Who happened to be his half brother in the flesh. “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the glory.” Would you reflect on glory becoming a man? Reflect on glory now a man becoming sin for us who knew no sin. Then reflect on glory now a man Who has become sin and suffering the wrath of Almighty God. That, you see, is what my Lord Jesus Christ accomplished.

When you come to Christ by faith, should you come to Christ by faith, if ever the Father draws you to come to Christ by faith, if ever your heart is moved to believe in Jesus Christ unto righteousness, then stupendous events will take place because of stupendous events that have taken place. Of course, your sins will be forgiven. You will be justified. You will be born again. You will be adopted into God’s family. You will be saved. Perhaps these things you have heard before. However, I dare say you have not ever heard before that if ever you trust Jesus Christ, by some means understood only by God you can join with us who claim “our Lord Jesus Christ, the glory.”



[1] Matthew 13.8, 23

[2] Douglas J. Moo, James: An Introduction And Commentary - TNTC, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), page 92.

[3] Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996), page 90.

[4] E. W. Bullinger, Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1968), page 440.

[5] Exodus 13.21-22; Romans 9.4 and Joseph B. Mayer, The Epistle Of James, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1990), page (391) 81.

[6] Matthew 17.2; Mark 9.2

[7] John 1.14

[8] John 17.24

[9] 2 Corinthians 12.4

[10] John F. Walvoord, Every Prophecy of the Bible: Clear Explanations For Uncertain Times (David C Cook: Kindle Edition, 2011-09-01), page 246.

[11] Acts 9.3-5; 22.6-9; 26.13-18

[12] John 1.29

[13] Hebrews 4.15

[14] This is developed in chapter 23, pages 97-107, by Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646), The Evil Of Evils, (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, Reprint 1992)

[15] Isaiah 53.10

[16] 1 Peter 3.18



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org