There are a vast number of theories within various Christian circles when dealing with the subject of glory. Some believe that to receive glory a person must have many good works. Another believes that to receive glory a person must experience the same sufferings as Jesus. The list goes on-and-on.
Yet the Bible has something different to say about receiving glory, as you may have guessed from the title of this message. Today we will be looking at how to receive the glory of Jesus in our lives, and as we see how very simple that God has made it for us, our old chains will fall away as we effortlessly receive from Him.
Before we read our scripture text today, I know that some of you right now are wondering why the two theories mentioned during the opening are not in-line with what the Bible says. Many of you have o doubt been taught that good works are the way to receive glory, or that we must strive and suffer to receive God’s best.
Please understand that I am not condemning anyone. I have been taught these same things when I was a young child, and it wasn’t until much later when I saw what the Bible actually says for myself that I came to realize the truth. If you never remember anything else that I say, remember this: Never take someone else’s word for what the Bible says: Read it for yourself. Study it, examine it, meditate on it, and pray about it. God is faithful to always grant wisdom to those who seek Him for it.
Also I am not against good works at all. Good works are desirable, but they are the fruit of what Jesus Christ has done in us, not the root of it. God works are the end result, not the beginning or the way to get there.
So why are good works and suffering not in-line with what the scriptures say regarding receiving glory? Because they both eliminate the need for Jesus Christ.
If we could attain glorification (as in perfection and salvation) through our own self-effort and work., then Jesus Christ came and suffered for nothing because we were able to do it ourselves.
Likewise, if we are required to suffer the same pains, curses, punishment and hardships as Christ during His sacrifice, then again He suffered for nothing because we still need to do it ourselves.
So what then? How exactly do we receive glory? Let’s read Romans 8:16-17:
“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Now at first glance some of you may be saying “Se! It says we need to suffer!”, well actually it is not saying that. This is another instance where our English translation does not do the Greek text justice. To truly understand these verses, we must examine the word “with” in verse 17 a bit more closely.
See in the Greek language, which our New Testament was written in, the word “with” is actually the Greek word sumpascho, which carries the meaning of “to agree with, be in accord with, or to sympathize with”.
I am not saying that there won’t be any persecution, Jesus Himself said that there would be, what I am saying is that the verses we have just read have been misunderstood to imply that we must suffer the sufferings of Christ on the cross or that we must work for our own salvation, and this is not the case at all. The persecutions that Christ spoke of in other verses was the rejection of family and friends, and pressure (temptation) from the world as a result of us following the Gospel. It is not the same torture and pain that Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins.
So what are these verses actually saying? They are saying that when we age with the truth of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for us, when we align our heart and mind with that truth of His grace given to us instead of our own ideas, and when we sympathize with His sufferings in our place, we receive His glory.
It is nothing more than a long and descriptive word-picture of belief – faith in what Jesus Christ has done. Simple!
So how is this possible? It’s the message of salvation. When we put our faith in Christ, He takes effect in us. He changes our position, He removes our sin, and gives us His righteousness. Our shame is removed and we receive His glory an honor.
He suffered in our place, and as us. God the Father did not see Jesus on that cross, He saw us on that cross. Jesus had no sin of His own, He took our sin upon Himself. And when He suffered on that cross He suffered not as Himself, but as us.
Today when we put our faith in what Jesus has done, when we sympathize with His sufferings in our place, and when we trust in His finished work, we are in-essence saying “Yes Jesus suffered for me, and as me. I have no debt anymore because Jesus paid it.”
My friends, this is not some strange form of denial, Jesus paid our sin debt. There is no reason at all for two people to pay the same debt. If I take you out to dinner and I pay the check, why would you try to pay for the same meal twice?
Jesus paid it, believe it, receive it, trust it. Know the effortless grace and glory that He has given to us. It is free, but it is not cheap, Jesus paid a high price for it, yet He gives it to us freely, for no other reason than His love for us… and all we need to do is say “Yes”.