Obtained Glory…Only by Faith
David Bahn-Reflections Podcast
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 [ESV]
Paul speaks here of obtaining the glory of Jesus Christ. This is a remarkable thought. How could it possibly be that we would obtain Christ’s glory? For, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We certainly don’t deserve the praise, honor, or glory that Jesus does. He is eternally God. He is the author of our salvation. He is the One whose name is above every name. At his name every knee will bow in heaven and on earth. And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father. I’m too embarrassed even to think of receiving Jesus’ glory.
Jesus told his disciples (Matthew 19:28) that they would sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel! How is this possible? On the one hand it’s clear that Jesus was encouraging his closest disciples in response to their legitimate query, “We’ve left everything to follow you. What will there be for us?” We might think of this as a promise applicable only to super-Christians – those who give up everything to be a disciple of Jesus. But even they had their serious flaws and failures. Peter denied three times that he knew Jesus. Paul said he was the chief of sinners. All have sinned; even super-Christians.
Years ago I attended a leadership conference with members of the church I served at the time, including our oldest son. As part of that event, the leader had the attendees stand up and pray for their pastor. It was a humbling experience to hear Matt pray, “Dear God, bless my dad…” I don’t recall any more than that, but that I do recall. It was not only humbling, it was an incredible blessing to me. Then, the leader had those in attendance applaud the pastors there. Stunning! For several minutes there was thunderous applause…for us pastors! That was humbling.
Max Lucado has written a book, The Applause of Heaven, and it ends with this beautiful thought:
You’ll be home soon, too. You may not have noticed it, but you are closer to home than ever before. Each moment is a step taken. Each breath is a page turned. Each day is a mile marked, a mountain climbed. You are closer to home than you’ve ever been. Before you know it, your appointed arrival time will come; you’ll descend the ramp and enter the City. You’ll see faces that are waiting for you. You’ll hear your name spoken by those who love you. And, maybe, just maybe—in the back, behind the crowds—the One who would rather die than live without you will remove his pierced hands from his heavenly robe and . . . applaud.
The only way we can obtain the glory of Jesus is by his grace which we receive through faith in Christ alone. And here’s the stunning thing about that: He desires to give it to us all. We don’t have to be super Christians, only faithful Christians. He has called us to this through the gospel message so that we may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s an unimaginable gift. There’s no way we could ever earn it. We simply must receive it by faith.