Monday, April 2, 2012

Your Glory

Your glory: Christ.
  • “...those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified (Romans 8:29,30). Conformity “to the image of His Son” is to be “glorified.”
  • “When Christ, Who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4). Whatever glory we are given is inseparable from Christ, for He is our glory.
  • “To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:11,12). Paul’s “so that” points back to the source of our glory: God’s power working through our “every desire for goodness and the work of faith.” We see this in 1 Thessalonians 2.
  • “For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God Who examines our hearts. For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed - God is witness - nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:1-20). Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, in teaching the Thessalonian Church, were not motivated by a desire for glory. Instead, their heart was to teach the Thessalonians to walk toward the call of God to His glory. When the Thessalonians are glorified at Christ’s coming, their glory will, in turn, be the apostles’ glory, as well, since they were the ones who were used of God to guide the Church to its glory. This is the preacher-teacher's glory - to see others glorified in Christ through their teaching of the Word by the power and wisdom of God the Holy Spirit. 
Our glory is Christ. There is another type of glory among men, a false glory that, when sought, shuts the mouth from confessing Christ, the Source of true glory: “But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: ‘LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?’ For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, ‘HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.’ These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval [την δόξαν, or "glory"] of men rather than the approval [την δόξαν, or "glory"] of God (John 12:37-43).

There are two glories mentioned in this passage. One is the glory, or approval, of men. This is the barrier to confessing Christ. The other is the glory seen by Isaiah the prophet: Christ’s glory is God’s glory, for Christ is God the Son, the second Person of the one true God. Loving (Jesus’ verb choice) the glory of God is shown through “believing” (12:37) and “confessing” (12:42).

“...the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:8-10). Believe, confess, and begin the walk to glory.

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