I have a hope of glory.
It sounds funny to say that – that I have a certain confidence about my future glorification. But I do. And if you are a Christian, so do you. Paul actually says that this part of the glorious mystery that is revealed in the gospel, Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This glory is so important that not only does God reveal it to us in the gospel, He sends the Spirit to help us believe it. In Romans 8, Paul tells us the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 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.
Now, it is easy for me to think about Christ being glorified, but me being glorified along with Him? That’s tough. Believing that definitely takes a supernatural work of the Spirit of God, because the kind of glory we are talking about is not something small.
Glory is a very big biblical word.
It actually takes a number of words to define it. Glory has to do with repute and honor. It has to do with importance. There’s even this element in the New Testament of beauty, radiance. It is something that is impressive, even awe-inspiring.
Which means I have the hope of repute, honor, importance, being beautiful, impressive, awe-inspiring, and majestic.
That sounds like almost too much. When we think of glory, we first think of God and Jesus Christ and of course we should. But when you start chasing this word glory around the New Testament, you see there’s a lot of talk not only about believers glorifying God, but also about God glorifying believers.
The difference being God of course deserves to be glorified and we of course don’t. When believers glorify God they aren’t adding anything to Him. When God glorifies us, He is adding something to us.
Maybe because of that, my hope of glory can get a little shaky. I have been given a certain confidence of future glory, but in practice, I don’t always feel so certain. I look at myself, my ministry, my life, and I start wondering if I really am headed for this.
But God doesn’t.
I may be worried about my future glory, but God isn’t. This glory is so certain that Paul says in Romans 8:28, those whom God justified, he also glorified. It makes sense that He’ll get this done, because He’s been working on it a long time. He says in Romans 9:23 that we have been prepared beforehand for glory. This is actually part of the reason Jesus came to earth, to bring many sons to glory, Hebrews 2:10. How glorious are we talking? We read in Philippians 3:21 that when Jesus returns He will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul tells us our body is sown in dishonour, but raised in glory. This is a glory that is so big, it makes all the shame and suffering we might experience now seem small. Paul says in Romans 8:16, “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 look at creation and sometime our heart aches with the beauty of it. Creation though right now is aching. “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”
I want to wait on that too.
I want to be certain about my certain confidence, because I am convinced if I believed that on a daily basis, it is going to change my life on a daily basis.
It is definitely going to change the way I pursue ministry. The problem many of us have is not our desire for glory. It is instead the kind of glory we desire and how we are seeking to obtain it. The glory God has in store for believers is much bigger than having a few people get excited about a book you have written. It is something much more significant than having a number of people visit your web-site. Why spend your life chasing temporary celebrity when you have future glory in store? We get in such trouble when we try to take glory out of the oven too early. God’s got glory cooking for us, but don’t open up the oven door and try to eat it too soon or you are going to make yourself sick.
What’s more, this glory God’s preparing is ultimately a gift. Glory comes by grace. It has to. We get glory so God will be glorified, not us. When God takes people like you and me and makes us impressive, awe-inspiring, He does it in such a way, that it is obvious to the entire Universe, that He is the One who deserves to be praised for such a transformation. That’s part of what makes our hope of glory so certain, because it is not about what we are able to do with our lives, our confidence is in what God is able to do with us instead.