It been quite a few years now where “glory” has been mentioned by various visiting speakers. Quite a few books have also been written on this topic. And it seems everyone now wants to get on the “glory” bandwagon. No longer is it sufficient to just know Jesus, to be in God’s presence, or to be baptised with the Holy Spirit; these are all considered old buzzwords. Today, you have to visit third heaven, to move in the glory realm.
Hey, I’m all for the glory of God. But more recently, in my preparations for a sermon series, I came across a few passages which also spoke of the glory, just not in the way these “glory” people have been teaching. The emphasis is totally different and I can fully understand why not many like to talk about this aspect of the glory. Consider the following passages and you will see why …
“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 by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor 3:18
From this verse (and you should read the passage for context), we see that the glory is not merely something for us to experience, but a destination for us to move towards. This is the glory of the image of the Lord, and we can only be changed towards this image by the Holy Spirit.
And how is this done and achieved? By merely asking for His glory or moving in the glory realm? Read on and we shall find Paul’s answer in the next chapter.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:17–18
Afflictions?! Trials and tribulations?! Difficult and challenging times?! For a better idea of what Paul was referring to, he makes mention of these in 2 Cor 6:4-10 and with even more detail in 2 Cor 11:23-27. For sure, not for the faint-hearted. Yet, these are the tools that work deep in us to produce the glory! Hey, these are not my words, but Paul’s! Note that Peter says the same thing albeit with different words.
“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:14
There it is again … if you are reproached for the name of Christ … the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. Who changes us from glory to glory? The Spirit of glory. How does He change us? Through trials and sufferings, through difficult times, through afflictions, for the sake of Jesus. In 1 Peter 1:6&7, we understand that trials reveal the genuineness of our faith. Through these tests, our faith is refined and purified like gold. Can you see the brightness of the purity of the gold? That’s the glory of the genuineness of our faith, much more precious than gold, revealed through the fire of trials!
As we grow from faith to faith, we move toward maturity in the image of the Son with whom we are co-heirs when we are glorified together with Him … if indeed we suffer with Him (Rom 8:17). And Paul writes in the next verse:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Rom 8:18
Not exactly the kind of glory school one would readily enrol for, is it? What happened to the promise of basking and soaking in the glory? What happened to the claims of the manifestation of the glory through gold dust and precious gems? None of that at all! Just plain, good ol’ suffering for Jesus.
Well, just in case you think I am all raring to go, to get into some wonderful trials and tribulations, I assure you I am not! But if it is the image and character of the Lord that I am after, if I desire to be conformed to none other than the Son of God, I need to know how to embrace and accept this other school of glory.
Just the other day, a brother asked me, “How do you stay sharp? What keeps you sharp?” It was at the tip of my tongue to say the predictable things like fast, pray, read the Word, be in God’s presence. But somehow, in my spirit, I couldn’t bring myself to say it. Instead, I said, “Trials.” Even I was surprised with what came out of my mouth. But it’s so true! I can study and know much about God and the ministry. However, it is through trials and tests that what I know is tested and proven. Is it just intellectual head knowledge? Or is it real faith that will hold on regardless the situation or the outcome. Is it all about declarations and claims? Or is it an acknowledgement of weakness through which His strength is made perfect?
The other glory school. Register now! Any takers?