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The Glory of Believers

The apostle Peter saw the prospect of the supernatural glory that is prepared for us in Christ Jesus. He wrote: "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." (1 Peter 5:10)

The apostle Paul said that it has not “entered into the heart or man the things which God has prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The glory of God is among these deep things God has prepared for His people.

The Hebrew word for “glory” originally meant “weighty, heavy, or important.” God’s glory is His beauty in holiness. He is the God of glory.

In His incarnation, the Son of God showed the glory that was His as the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14). The transfiguration of Christ was a breaking out into open His glory (Matthew 17:1-8). Jesus Christ is the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:8). The glory of God radiated from His face, and as we behold Him we become like Him (2 Cor. 3:18).

Sanctification of the believer is described as a changing from glory to glory. Glorification is implied as the last event in the change from glory to glory. Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, and the full realization of salvation. It is a perfect, incontestable standing before God. Glorification is the perfection of our sanctification (Eph. 5:27; 2 Tim. 2:10).

The glory spoken of by Peter is the glory that belongs to God alone.

God promises His glory for the saints.

God reverses the tables. We who “have fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), are promised His eternal glory in Christ.

King David is a good example of a sinner who was promised to receive God’s glory. “With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24). “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). No good thing in heaven is going to be held back from the saints “who walk uprightly.”

The Lord Jesus Christ suffered and entered into His glory. He sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

After we have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. We will be with the Lord Jesus in His glory.

This eternal glory involves the whole person. For example, our physical body is “sown in dishonor,” but “it is raised in glory” (1 Corinthians 15:43). When Christ returns He “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:21). This frail, feeble, hurting, declining human body will one day be changed into a perfect resurrection body.

I love what C. H. Spurgeon wrote about the resurrection body of the believer: “The body of a child will be fully developed, and the dwarf will attain to full stature. The blind shall not be sightless in heaven, neither shall the lame be halt, nor shall the palsied tremble. The deaf shall hear, and the dumb shall sign God’s praises. We shall carry none of our deficiencies or infirmities to heaven. . . neither shall any of us need a staff to lean upon. There we shall not know an aching groan or a weak knee or a failing eye. ‘The inhabitants shall no more say, I am sick.’”

He goes on, saying it shall be “a body that will be incapable of any kind of suffering: no palpitating heart, no sinking spirit, no aching limbs, no lethargic soul shall worry us there. No, we shall be perfectly delivered from every evil of that kind. Moreover, it shall be an immortal body. Our risen bodies shall not be capable of decay, much less of death. There are no graves in glory. Blessed are the dead that died in the Lord, for their bodies shall rise never to know death and corruption a second time. No smell or taint of corruption shall remain upon those whom Jesus shall call from the tomb. The risen body shall be greatly increased in power: it is ‘sown in weakness,’ says the Scripture, but it is ‘raised in power.’. . . It will be a ‘glorious body, and it will be raised in glory,’ to that the whole of our manhood shall participate of that wonderful depth of bliss which is summed up in the word—‘glory.’”

The saint will have a purified character.

We will one day be like Christ in His perfect holiness. When He is through with His work of progressive sanctification the Holy Spirit will leave no trace of sin in us. No object of temptation, without or within, will be able to touch us. The eyes of a thrice-holy God will not be able to detect anything blameworthy or sinful in us. God in His redeeming grace will have made us fit to dwell with a Holy God. That will bring glory to Him throughout eternity.

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). We will be remade in the image of God, made like our divine Lord who is “the firstborn among many brethren.”  What the apostle Paul says about the church is true of the Christian (Eph. 5:27; 2 Tim 2:10).

The saint will have divine approval.

We who have come short of the glory of God will one day hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” “Come you blessed of my Father.” Those who were despised and rejected of men will be approved of God.

We will be trophies of God’s saving grace. We will be mirrors reflecting God, and in us His glory shall be revealed even as today in a foggy mirror we “give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” as “we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Our glory will be God shining through us to the astonishment of all the principalities and powers and inhabitants of the heavens to His glory. Saved by grace will be our theme. All of heaven will be astonished at the divine glory, which will be manifested in sinners emancipated from sin and hell and made heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

We will dwell in God’s immediate presence forever.

We will enjoy intimate fellowship with the LORD God! The presence of the LORD God will be our blessedness forever. The fact that “He has called us unto His glory” outshines everything else. The glory the saints will have forever is a glory, which God Himself will put upon them. It is “His glory.” It is the richest, fullest glory possible.

We will enjoy God Himself. He will be our joy. Our God shall be our glory. “God has called us unto His eternal glory.”

The apostle Paul places great emphasis on the fact that when Christ died, we died, that when He was buried, we were buried with Him, when He rose from the dead, we rose in Him, and we shall ascend into heaven to reign with Him. All our glory is by and through Jesus Christ, and in all the glory of Christ we have a share. We are members of Christ, and we are one with Him. By virtue of our vital union with Christ we share in His glory.

We have been called to this glory.

God has “called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus.” In His Sovereign grace He has called us to repentance, faith, sanctification, perseverance, and glory. “For 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). “So that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12).

If you are justified by grace through faith, you shall be glorified through Christ Jesus. Called, justified, glorified.

God has called us to reign with Christ in glory. The apostle Paul told Timothy he “endured all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10). He was encouraging Timothy not to lose heart. The minor inconveniences, “light afflictions,” we endure work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. There is nothing to compare with it. Paul said, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17; Rom. 8:18). The suffering is temporal, but the glory is eternal.

“When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). The promise is ours and God never forgets His promises. He is faithful.

God is preparing us for this eternal glory.

 We are “vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory” (Romans 9:23). What a contrast to the “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” (Rom. 9:22). That is what we were until God in His grace reached down to us and saved us.

The preparation began in eternity when we were chosen of God, and commenced in regeneration, and is going on every day in the progressive work of sanctification.

One of the most beautiful passages on this theme is 2 Corinthians 3:18. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). That is the process God uses to bring us into glory with Him. He will not let up until He is through. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). The surpassing greatness of the power of God is revealed when God cracks the pot and releases His sweet fragrance of the gospel. Our glory is to contain God! Are we cracked pots? The treasure, power and the glory are from God.

God puts us in new experiences, which are beyond us, causes us to abandon hope in the flesh and we cry out, “Lord save me!” Do not lose heart; He cracks these clay pots so “our inner man is being renewed day by day.” “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11). The life of Jesus Christ is being manifested in these old clay pots! Everything we are going through in this life is producing for us a massive weight of eternal glory.

From the day we were born our outward body has been progressively growing old, but our new inward self is being day by day changed into a new kind of life that is being conformed to the image of the Lord.

In the mean time, our momentary light burden of suffering is working out for us more and more surpassingly an eternal, heavy weight of glory. Our minds are set not on these heavy burdens, but on the unseen, the eternal. This is how God is working within us preparing us to live with Him for all eternity. Our focus is not on the cares and stresses of this world, but on Christ.

“If indeed,” says the apostle Paul, “we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:17). Paul is absolutely sure when he writes, “if indeed,” or better “for sure.” When we suffer with Christ in His humiliation we are assured that we shall be with Him in His glory. The cross leads to the crown.

We shall reign with Christ in glory.

The apostle Paul said, “For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:11-12).

Jesus said to His disciples, “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:28-30; cf. Matt. 19:28). 

The book of Revelation is filled with passages that speak of the believer reigning with Christ (Rev. 1, 11, 19, 21).

We are being prepared for glory by the LORD God, and can be assured of that glorious day when we shall see Him and be with Him. Christ is “bringing many sons to glory” (Heb. 2:10). Since God has called us to glory, He is preparing us for glory, and we shall be brought to that glory.

Jesus Christ is the “Captain of our salvation” and He is leading us trough the treacherous way, and He will bring us unto glory. In deed, He will bring all of His sons with Him to glory. There will be no exceptions.

“Behold I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). There will be a new heaven, new earth, and a New Jerusalem. Have you been made new in Christ?

Key Scriptures

Romans 3:23; Exodus 40:34-38; Revelation 4; John 1:14; Matthew 17:1-8; 1 Corinthians 15:43; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:11, 17-18; Romans 8:17-18, 28-30, 38-39; 5:6-11; 9:23; Colossians 3:4; 2 Timothy 2:10, 12; Ephesians 2:7; Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 John 3:2

Abiding Principles and Practical Applications

1. The only way we who have “come short of the glory of God” will ever bring glory to a holy God is by receiving His saving grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Such a thought that we could fellowship with a holy God should cause us to fall down and worship Him with humble hearts.

2. God in grace gives us His salvation with eternal glory. It is His free gift to everyone who will humble themselves, repent and believe on Christ. Shame and everlasting wrath of God are ours apart from the righteousness of Christ.

3. Since God has called us to glory, He is preparing us for glory, and we shall one day be brought to that glory.

4.  All of the hardships and suffering we face in this life will one day be worth it when we bow at the feet of our Lord and Savior and “confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

For Further Study

Justification and Glorification
Philippians 1:6 Believer's Perseverance Eternal Security in Jesus ...
Romans 8:28-30 Salvation in Five Words
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 Transformed from Glory to Glory
Romans 8:31-39 We Won! Our Triumphant Song
Ephesians 2:8-10 Saved by Grace Alone
Suffering is the Christian's Path to Glory

Message by Wil Pounds and all content on this page (c) 2005 by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent. Scripture quotations from the New American Standard Bible (c) 1973, and 1995 Update by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. 

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