I was struggling to explain what the glory of God is. I was at my weekly Bible study last night, and I found it difficult to explain. I had read a lot about the glory of God. But experiencing the glory?
I believe the first touch of glory comes into your life when you are saved, when you are born again, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes into your life, when the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in your heart. I remember the day I was born again (25 years ago); it was like coming into a new world. I was weak physically; I felt I had come out of a long sickness. But I knew what that day in October was like. It was like coming out of darkness into God’s marvellous light! It was joy unspeakable and full of glory, 1 Pet 1.8. When you receive the touch of the Lord, when you experience the presence of the Lord, it is glory!
Then, you experience glory when you obey the Lord. I can say thing confidently. I have seen hundreds of people getting baptized; going into the water and coming out. Identifying themselves in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord. Baptism is the first step in Christian obedience, and what a joy it is. It is lovely to see the shining faces. God’s glory is right there on the faces of those who have testified in the waters of baptism!
Then, comes the cross – the deep inward experience of the cross in the believer’s life. The days of dark trial, the long waits, the shut doors; it is as if God has forgotten you. The grain of wheat is going into the ground, being buried, stripped of its hard outer covering. But in the very act of dying, there is life coming out – resurrection life. And the very experience of resurrection is glory! God is stripping us of our ‘hard self’; we are being emptied. But in another way, we are being filled – with more and more of Christ and His risen life! I find this hard to explain, but I know that the features of Christ, the character of Christ, is being developed in me. I am being humbled, but every process of humbling is leading to spiritual ascendancy, to more glory. We are going from ‘glory to glory’; isn’t that what it says in 2 Cor 3.18? The qualities of Christ-likeness, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, are being developed in us. You look at believers who have gone a long way with the Lord, through sorrows and sufferings, trials and troubles. Their faces are soft – and glowing – glowing with the glory of God.
I was reading the other night about glory. God has called us to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Thess 2.14. We are called to glory. He who has begun the work of grace in us will complete it in glory (Phil 1.6 paraphrased). But we need to live by faith, live by grace. It is not in us; it is in Him. I trust in my Lord, I cling to Him. My faith deepens; He is my Rock. But sad to say, there is some who seek their own glory; the self is not broken; they want power and position and popularity. Just as some shut the door to hell upon themselves (by rejecting the gospel of grace); there are some who shut to door to the heaven (I mean the heavenly Jerusalem) upon themselves (by not allowing their Self to die).
The final destination of a true child of God is the Heavenly Jerusalem. So bright, filled with light, flooded with the love of God. There He will wipe away all our tears; there will be no more sorrow, no more pain. “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the glorious things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor 2.9. The heavenly Jerusalem as described in Revelation 21 is not be imagined as something physical. It is spiritual. We have been transfigured; we have glorified bodies. (No more sickness!) We are now with our beloved Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the God of everlasting love, God of all grace, mercy, peace and truth, our God, our Shepherd, our Lord, our King. We will rejoice forever with His everlasting arms around us.