July 01, 2004

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” (v. 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, NASB 1995). 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 (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, NASB 1995). 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 mass of glory, an eternal weight of glory.

Kenneth Wuest give us an expanded translation of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: “our outward self is progressively decaying, yet our inward self is being changed into a new kind of life [fit for the new spiritual existence into which we have been ushered in salvation, and constantly being conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus] day by day. For our momentary light burden of affliction is working out for us more and more surpassingly an eternal, heavy weight of glory while we are not contemplating the things that are seen but the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

“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.