[Christ comes] to be glorified in His holy people…This includes you, because you believed… (2 Thessalonians 1:10, NIV)
The Bible tells us that we will be glorified in Christ, but it’s important to know also that Christ will be glorified in us. We see this idea above, and find the same statement again when Paul prays that “the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you” (1:12, NIV).
What does that mean? How is it possible for Jesus Christ to be glorified in us?
Three Ways Christ Will Be Glorified in His People
The apostle John was given a marvelous vision of what is to come, recorded for us in the book of Revelation. John saw God’s people in the presence of Jesus, and he wrote down what was most striking to him. In his words, we learn how Christ will be glorified in his people:
1. By the vast number of the redeemed
I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language. (Revelation 7:9, NIV)
The first thing John writes about is the sheer number of these people. Christ has redeemed people from every corner of the planet. They have been drawn from every generation of history. John is given a glimpse of the day of their gathering, and he says nobody could possibly count them!
This brings great glory to Christ. Isaiah speaks about how, on the last day, Christ will see the fruit that came from all his suffering, and he will be satisfied (Isaiah 53:11)—not disappointed, satisfied.
I’d been a pastor for two years when I received a letter inviting me to speak at “The Greater Clacton Convention for the Deepening of Spiritual Life.” The letter sounded very grand. I showed it to Karen and said, “This sounds like something! I think we should go.”
We drove 100 miles and arrived at a rather grand looking church in the town of Clacton. It was closed. So we drove up and down the street, until we spotted a narrow lane going off the main street. At the end of the lane was a little wooden hut, and on the door of the hut was a sign that said, “The Greater Clacton Convention for the Deepening of Spiritual Life.”
We went inside, and including the two of us, we found a grand total of five people. My wife reminds me of this story often, and says it’s for the purpose of promoting humility!
We’ve all been at events when only a few people showed up. We say, “Is this it?” On the authority of the Word of God, no one will be saying “Is this it?” in the presence of Jesus. This will be larger than any gathering we have ever seen or imagined, and every person there will have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
2. By the unique difficulties his people have endured
These [people] have come out of great tribulation. (Revelation 7:14, NIV)
Christ is glorified by the unique trouble his people have endured. It’s a vast company, but let’s move a little closer:
- Here is someone who has struggled with depression all her life, but not now. There is a light and joy in her face that she never knew a single day of her life in this world.
- Over there is someone who lacked confidence. He battled fear all his life, but not now. There’s no fear in him—he stands certain in Christ.
- You look further and you see someone who was scarred by a great evil inflicted on them by another person. It troubled them, it haunted them, it dogged them all of the days of their life, but not now. There they stand in the presence of Jesus, and every tear has been wiped from their eye.
Each of these people has faced unique difficulties in life. Some have endured a lifelong struggle that arose from their temperament or from their background, but in every case Christ has brought them through. That’s what we’re to think about when we’re in the middle of the battle.
3. By the complete transformation of inveterate sinners
I use the word “inveterate” not only because I want you to remember how our sins are not a small thing. “Inveterate” means long-established, deep-rooted, or habitual, so it’s a good word to describe the human condition. By nature we’re inveterate sinners.
Think about it. We read that sinners are “shut out from the presence of the Lord” (1:9, NIV). But these people are all in the presence of Jesus, and they were sinners too. So why are they here? What are they doing in the presence of the Lord? Why are they all dressed in white?
John gives us the answer: “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb” (7:14, NIV). That’s why these people are here—not because they have lived some perfect life, but because they have been washed by Christ.
Look at who’s here in this crowd: David the adulterer, Moses the murderer, Peter the denier, Paul the persecutor, you, me, and all the stuff we’ve done.
This crowd will be there because they have been washed in the blood of the lamb. Christ has cleansed them, and look at them now! They’re dressed in the white robes of his righteousness; they’re holy as God is holy. They are in his presence, without fault and with great joy.
The complete transformation of inveterate sinners brings glory to Jesus because only he could accomplish such an amazing transformation.
Come to Christ
Charles Spurgeon was a wonderful evangelist, and he uses this marvelous truth to give hope to people who have done terrible things, people who would say, “I feel so bad—there is no hope for me.” In his sermon, Spurgeon replied this:
I put it to you…If Jesus Christ is to be glorified in saved sinners, would he not be glorified indeed if he saved you? If he were to save such a rebel as you have been, would it not be the astonishment of eternity?…What if my Master were to make a saint of you? (7)
If your sins are many, you have every reason to come to Christ today: Your salvation will bring great glory to Christ. Put your trust in Christ, and he will be glorified in you forever. And if you are a believer in Christ, this will help you to stay the course when you’re tired of the battle. Lift up your mind; see what is yours in Jesus Christ. This is your future in him.
[This article is adapted from Pastor Colin’s sermon, Christ Will Be Glorified In You, from the series Staying The Course When You’re Tired Of The Battle. | Photo credit: Unsplash]