Glory & Suffering
The Bible shows us that, to enter
into glory, we must first pass
In our previous Note we considered how the Bible closely links our sonship in Christ with our entering into glory (“Sonship and Glory”). Sonship speaks of the divine nature we now have within us as the believers in Christ, while glory is the manifestation, the shining out, of that divine nature. What a hope of glory we have as Christians! (Col. 1:27, 3:4).
However, the Bible links something else with our entering into glory, something which we may not appreciate so much, and that is the matter of suffering. Hebrews 2:10 tells us that even Christ Himself, who as a man was the first to run the race into glory (Heb. 6:20), had to go through sufferings on the way:
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
And not only Christ. Later in Hebrews the writer tells us that we must all run this race, with “endurance” (12:1-2). Then, quoting Proverbs 3:11-12, he adds:
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
Our previous Note considered how Romans 8 speaks much of sonship and glory; it also speaks much of suffering, telling us that, as God’s children, we are:
…Joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
— Romans 8:17-18; cf. vv. 31-39
So, as believers today who are on the way to glory, we simply cannot avoid suffering.
Seeing this link between glory and suffering should help us to “arm ourselves” with a mind to suffer (1 Peter 4:1-2). Then when the sufferings come we will not be like the seed that was sown in the “stony places”; the Lord uses this picture to speak of the believer who endures for a time, but:
…When tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
— Matthew 13:21
Rather, like the Apostle Paul, we should be encouraged in our sufferings, as we consider the result:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
— 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
The suffering itself is not what gains the glory for us. Rather, that is done by the addition of the divine nature into our being, which takes place through the sufferings. If we are clear about this, we surely will “boast in our sufferings” (Rom. 5:3), knowing that our sufferings are working out for us such an unspeakable blessing, even an “eternal weight of glory!”
— Up Next —
“Through Many Tribulations”
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— 5 October 2021 —