963. Sharing in Christ’s Glory

Learn how suffering is the key to sharing in Christ’s glory.

 IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

The thought of Christ sharing His rightfully deserved glory with anyone is hard to imagine. Considering what He willingly endured compared to the “trials” most of us have experienced, we can’t imagine why or how we could possibly enter into or share in what only He deserves. He is God. He is sinless. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us. All we can do is bow before Him. Share in His glory? That just doesn’t seem right. This is why the following revelation is so wonderful:

  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you 1 Peter 4:12-14).

 In these and subsequent passages, Peter is telling us that suffering is an occasion for praising God and that we, as followers of Christ, should face it with a view to the future and should persist in doing good. From our perspective, this doesn’t make sense. Praise God in our suffering? Are you kidding? However, from God’s perspective, we can see the bigger picture.

 AS I SEE IT

Only when we get God’s perspective on our circumstance will we be able to get beyond our immediate pain. God is using our suffering to build our character to match His assignment for us. He will continue to test our faith until it, too, is strong enough for the appointed task. God’s promise to Abraham had to wait 25 years until his character and faith were sufficient for him to be a suitable father for Isaac and a suitable founder of a new nation. We, too, must go through the refining process until we are ready for whatever God has for us.

This brings us back to the issue of glory. In His infinite grace, God has chosen to share Christ’s glory with us, and the path to that glory goes through suffering. Peter had previously told us that successfully passing these tests would result in experiences of praise, glory, and honor:

 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:6-7)…

 This is why we are to rejoice when the testing comes. Peter is saying that when we suffer for our faith, we are participating in the sufferings of Christ. He then implies that we will also share in His glory when He is revealed. In contrast to the humility of Jesus at His First Coming, the splendor of His victorious and magnificent appearing at His Second Coming will fill His followers with joy. It will be the moment all creation has been waiting for. Jesus will finally receive the honor He deserves. We will share in that glory, just as we have shared in His sufferings. The pattern is clear. If we share in His suffering, we will share in His glory.

Instead of being ashamed of suffering as a Christian, we should recognize that suffering for our faith brings glory to God. From our perspective, we are likely to experience shame and humiliation, From God’s perspective, He is glorified by the faithful witness of His people, and when Christ appears, we will receive the incredible gift of sharing His glory.

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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

These notices actually appeared in church bulletins:

– For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

– Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

– Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Father Jack’s sermons.

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