Brief Notes

The Glory
that Remains

4 March 2023

It is wonderful to
be in a situation that is
outwardly glorious,
but what will we do
when that glory
fades away?

From time to time in our Christian life we enter into an environment that just seems to be glorious. We may have a time with the Lord in the morning like that, or be in a church or conference meeting and have a real sense of the Lord’s presence. It’s very encouraging to see that right now, on many college campuses across this country, many young people are experiencing this; we all need to pray that the Lord would use this time to turn so many in this new generation to Himself in a new way!

We do need to ask, however: What will we do when the outward glory passes away? We may be at a church conference or retreat and feel we are simply in the third heavens, but then we come back home to the routine of daily life, and soon we wonder if what we experienced then was even real. Many saints have been disappointed and even discouraged after this kind of experience.

It may be helpful in this regard to consider the two kinds of glory in 2 Corinthians 3; I heard a brother share about this years ago and it has helped me ever since.

The first glory in that chapter is glory of the face of Moses. That glory was related to the Old Covenant, and like so many things with that covenant it was something outward; in this case, an outward shining all the Children of Israel could see. And as the apostle tells us, like the Old Covenant itself, this glory was “passing away” (2 Cor. 3:7).

There is, however, another kind of glory in this chapter. That is the glory that is wrought into our being by “the ministry of the Spirit” (v. 8) as we behold the glory of the Lord:

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 Corinthians 3:18

This is the inward glory of the New Covenant, a glory that does not depend on outward circumstances and which does not pass away. In brief, it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). And while it is hidden within us today, the apostle also tells us:

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
— Colossians 3:4

Until the Lord comes back and there is “the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory” (Matt. 19:28), any outward glory we experience in this age can only be temporary.

So, while it is wonderful, and often very uplifting, to have such experiences, we should not focus on them or depend on them, for if all we touch is the outward glory, we will surely be disappointed when it is gone. Rather, in such times we should seek to enter into a deeper experience of Christ, and allow Him to work something of Himself and of His glory into us. Then when the outward glory fades away, as it always will in this age, we will not be disappointed. Instead, we will sense that something real and unchangeable, something glorious that is of Christ Himself and which can never fade away, has been added into our being. And when the Lord returns, that glory will be manifested from within us for all to see.

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— 4 March 2023 —