By Mrs. Robert Hammond
Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee. John 17:1
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. John 17:22
Years ago I was looking at worship. Heavenly worship. In the book of Revelation, I found this: “Thou art worthy O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power…” Psalm 29 says to give or ascribe Him glory. The glory due unto His name. I thought to myself, how can the God of Glory receive more glory and how do I give Him glory?
But just recently, I began pondering an even more impossible possibility. One that I have heard in the past but never really comprehended (and still don’t). In the 17th chapter of John, Jesus prayed for the church. It is called the High Priestly Prayer. He said that He has given us His glory. This is after he makes the clarification that He is not just praying for the 12 apostles, but for ALL those who will believe.
A question arises: What exactly is His glory? At the wedding feast in Cana it says that He manifested forth His glory when he turned the water into wine. In Exodus, we see the Glory of God manifested in a cloud, fire, and in His goodness. When Jesus talked about the lilies of the field being clothed He said that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. In Exodus 28:2 Aaron’s garments were for glory and beauty.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27
Notice in the above verses that Christ sanctifies the church. In Exodus, the glory brings sanctification. And here we see that sanctification brings glory. Another thing to see in this passage is that the end of Christ’s work in the church is glorious. Not failure, not defeat; but glory.
If you pay attention to the news or if you are familiar with organizations such as Voice of the Martyrs, you will know that persecution of the church rose tremendously during the 20th century, and continues to rise in these beginning years of the 21st century. We are seeing it exploding in the western world; the world that we once called “Christendom.”
“The pressure has become unbearable…” is a recent quote from a church member in Iran. Can you even imagine how bad it has become for someone from a country that hasn’t been friendly to the message of the cross for centuries to say that? If you are like me, you have to turn your face away when and if you read the Voice of the Martyrs magazine because of the extent to which our brothers and sisters are suffering.
Now why would I begin to talk about suffering in the midst of glory-talk? They go together. It is a cycle: glory-suffering-glory-suffering and GLORY.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 1st Corinthians 4:7-18 NRSV
In the Acts of the Apostles, we have the Glory of God falling on the day of Pentecost with 3,000 souls being added to the church on the day of it’s birth. In the very next chapter, we read about the healing of the man at the gate Beautiful. A man, lame from birth, who had been laid daily at the temple gate and who had very likely seen Jesus a time or two and not been healed. I tried to explain to my girls one day how deformed he must have been, how many bed sores he must have had, his joints basically fused by lack of use, etc. They asked me to be quiet. More like, “shut up.” I was trying to get them to realize that this wasn’t a small miracle. The power that was at work in creation had to be employed: a massive, divine, reconstructive surgery–all done IMMEDIATELY! Glory to God!
Also notable in the early church is that they began being persecuted the first day—many accused them of being drunk and made fun of the glorious outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As the glory became stronger with evident signs, wonders and salvations, the persecution grew stronger but, so did the glory.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10
You see, we are called to glory. And we are promised that after we suffer a while—most versions say “a little while”—that we will be perfected and established. We will be established in Glory.
Many people think the glory is for Heaven—Heaven is the excellent glory. There is also a glory we are to walk in here and now, on earth. It is time for the church to walk in what the creation has been waiting for. When Jesus walked this earth many of the most learned missed Him. Do you know why? HE DIDN’T FIT THEIR INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE!!! A glorious, overcoming sin-defeating church that lacks nothing is not what some people envision as the end-time church. “Hold the fort, for I am coming…” seems to be their battle cry. And, meanwhile people are suffering and sick while the church sits around waiting for Jesus.
In the eighth chapter of Romans, we are told we are adopted as sons, we are told that the creation itself has been groaning and waiting, until the manifestation or revealing of the sons of God. We need this soon, before Jesus returns.
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 within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30
As we consider our momentary afflictions, let us remember that God has promised glory. And that glory far surpasses our tribulation. Read the entire chapter of Romans 8. Why are we not seeing more of this glory? In Colossians Paul says this mystery, Christ in us and the hope of glory is what the prophets longed to see. This glory is so much more than we can ever dream or imagine. God has planned glory for us all along. He is waiting, searching to and fro for someone who will have faith to bring it to pass. That is the only way you will see it in your life. Take the verses on glory from the New Testament and write them down and meditate on them. Speak them aloud so that you can be heard.
As I have written this, I have been both blessed and frustrated. Blessed by the promise, but frustrated, realizing that I know so little, realizing how much more this is in the Bible than I ever knew. This is serious. This is something the devil has fought from day one. Our first parents were clothed in glory. When they bowed their knee to the devil, that glory was stripped and they found themselves naked in the Garden of Eden. Can you imagine finding yourself stripped in the middle of Paradise? Beauty all around with you naked and ashamed. It really is appalling and sad. But happy day! We can be clothed again. Clothed with glory.
Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 NRSV