31. Like Christ: In His Glory.
"We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure."ó1 John 3:2, 3.
"And I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father hath appointed unto me."óLuke 22:29.
Godís glory is His holiness. To glorify God is to to yield ourselves that God in us may show forth His glory. It is only by yielding ourselves to be holy, to let His holiness fill our life, that His glory can shine forth from us. The one work of Christ was to glorify the Father, to reveal what a glorious Holy God He is. Our one work is, like Christís, so by our obedience, and testimony, and life, to make known our God as "glorious in holiness," that He may be glorified in heaven and earth.
When the Lord Jesus had glorified the Father on earth, the Father glorified Him with Himself in heaven. This was rot only His just reward; it was a necessity in the very nature of things. There is no other place for a life given up to the glory of God, as Christís was, than in that glory. The law holds good for us too: a heart that yearns and thirsts for the glory of God, that is ready to live and die for it, becomes prepared and fitted to live in it. Living to Godís glory on earth is the gate to living in Gods glory in heaven. If with Christ we glorify the Father, the Father will with Christ glorify us too. Yes, we shall be like Him in His glory.
We shall be like Him in His spiritual glory, the glory of His holiness. In the union of the two words in the name of the Holy Spirit, we see that what is HOLY and what is SPIRITUAL stand in the closest connection with each other. When Jesus as man had glorified God by revealing, and honouring, and giving Himself up to His holiness, he was as man taken up into and made partaker of the Divine glory.
And so it will be with us. If here on earth we have given ourselves to have Godís glory take possession of us, and Godís holiness, Godís Holy Spirit, dwell and shine in us, then our human nature with all our faculties, created in the likeness of God, shall have poured into and transfused through it, in a way that passes all conception, the purity and the holiness and the life, the very brightness of the glory of God.
We shall be like Him in His glorified body. It has been well said: Embodiment is the end of the ways of God. The creation of man was to be Godís masterpiece. There had previously been spirits without bodies, and animated bodies without spirits, but in man there was to be a spirit in a body lifting up and spiritualizing the body into its own heavenly purity and perfection. Man as a whole is Godís image, his body as much as his spirit. In Jesus a human bodyóO mystery of mysteries!óis set upon the throne of God, is found a worthy partner and container of the Divine glory. Our bodies are going to be the objects of the most astonishing miracle of Divine transforming power: "He will fashion our vile body like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." The glory of God as seen in our bodies, made like Christís glorious body, will be something almost more wonderful than in our spirits. We are "waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
We shall be like Him in His place of honour. Every object must have a fit place for its glory to be seen. Christís place is the central one in the universe: the throne of God. He spake to His disciples, "Where I am, there shall my servant be. If any man serve me, him will my Father honour." "I appoint you a kingdom, EVEN AS my Father hath appointed me; that ye may eat and drink at my table, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." To the Church at Thyatira He says: "He that overcometh and keepeth my words unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, EVEN As I received of my Father." And to the Church at Laodicca: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit on my throne, EVEN AS I overcame, and am set down with my Father on His throne." Higher and closer it cannot be: I EVEN As we have borne the image of the earthly, we also of the heavenly: The likeness will be complete and perfect.
Such Divine God-given glimpses into the future reveal to us, more than all our thinking, what intense truth, what Divine meaning there is in Godís creative word: "Let us make man in Oar image, after Our likeness." To show forth the likeness of the Invisible, to be partaker of the Divine Nature, to share with God His rule of the universe, is manís destiny. His place is indeed one of unspeakable glory. Standing between two eternities, the eternal purpose in which we were predestinated to be conformed to the image of the first-born Son, and the eternal realization of that purpose when we shall be like Him in His glory, we hear the voice from every side: O ye image-bearers of God! on the way to share the glory of God and of Christ. live a God-like, live a Christ-like life!
"I shall be satisfied when I awake with THY LIKENESS," so the Psalmist sung of old. Nothing can satisfy the soul but Godís image, because for that it was created. And this not as something external to it, only seen but not possessed; it is as partaker of that likeness that we shall be satisfied. Blessed they who here long for it with insatiable hunger; they shall be filled. This, the very likeness of God, this will be the glory, streaming down on them from God Himself, streaming through their whole being, streaming, out from them through the universe. "When Christ who is our life shall be manifested, we also shall be manifested with Him in glory."
Beloved fellow-Christians! nothing can be made manifest in that day that has not a real existence here in this life. If the glory of God is not our life here, it cannot be hereafter. It is impossible; him alone who glorifies God here, can God glorify hereafter. "Man is the image and glory of God." It is as you bear the image of God here, as you live in the likeness of Jesus, who is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, that you will be fitted for the glory to come. If we are to be as the image of the heavenly, the Christ in glory, we must first bear the image of the earthly, the Christ in humiliation.
Child of God! Christ is the uncreated image of God. Man is His created image. On the throne in the glory the two will be eternally one. You know what Christ did, how He drew near, how He sacrificed all, to restore us to the possession of that image. Oh, shall we not at length yield ourselves to this wonderful love, to this glory inconceivable, and give our life wholly to manifest the likeness and the glory of Christ Shall we not, like Him, make the Fatherís glory our aim and hope, living to His glory here, as the way to live in His glory there.
The Fatherís glory: it is in this that Christís glory and ours have their common origin. Let the Father be to us what He was to Him, and the Fatherís glory will be ours as it is His. All the traits of the life of Christ converge to this as their centre. He was Son; He lived as Son; God was to Him FATHER. As Son He sought the Fatherís glory; as Son He found it. Oh! let this be our conformity to the image of the Son, that THE FATHER is the all in all of our life; the Fatherís glory must be our everlasting home.
Beloved brethren! who have accompanied me thus far in these meditations on the image of our Lord, and the Christ-like life in which it is to be reflected, the time is now come for us to part let us do so with the word, "WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is. He who hath this hope in Him purifieth Himself, EVEN AS He is pure." LIKE CHRIST! let us pray for each other, and for all Godís children, that in ever-growing measure this may be the one aim of our faith, the one desire of our heart, the one joy of our life. Oh, what will it be when we meet in the glory, when we see Him as He is, and see each other all like Him!
Ever blessed and most glorious God I what thanks shall we render Thee for the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, and for the light of Thy glory which shines upon us in Him! And what thanks shall we render Thee, that in Jesus we have seen the image not only of Thine, but of our glory, the pledge of what we are to be with Thee through eternity!
O God! forgive us, forgive us for Jesusí bloodís sake, that we have so little believed this, that we have so little lived this And we beseech Thee that Thou wouldst reveal to all who have had fellowship with each other in these meditations, what THE GLORY is in which they are to live eternally, in which they can be living, even now, as they glorify Thee. O Father! awaken us and all Thy children to see and feel what Thy purpose with us is. We are indeed to spend eternity in Thy glory: Thy glory is to be around us, and on us, and in us; we are to be like Thy Son in His glory. Father! we beseech Thee, oh visit Thy Church! Let Thy Holy Spirit, the Spirit of glory, work mightily in her; and let this be her one desire, the one mark by which she is known: the glory of God resting upon her.
Our Father! grant it for Jesusí sake. Amen