"But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
(1 Peter 5:10)
by Charles Spurgeon
e shall say a little
upon that glory of which we have so sure a prospect, that glory which is prepared
for us in Christ Jesus, and of which He is the hope! I pray that our eyes may be
strengthened that we may see the heavenly light, and that our ears may be opened
to hear sweet voices from the better land. As for me, I cannot say that I will speak
of the glory, but I will try to stammer about it; for the best language to which
a man can reach concerning glory must be a mere stammering. Paul did but see a little
of it for a short time, and he confessed that he heard things that he felt utterly
nonplused as to describing what he had seen. Though a great master of language, yet
for once he was overpowered; the grandeur of his theme made him silent.
As for us, what can we do, where even Paul breaks down? Pray, dear friends, that the Spirit of glory may rest upon you, that He may open your eyes to see as much as can at present be seen of the heritage of the saints. We are told that "eye hath not seen, neither hath ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." Yet the ye has seen wonderful things. There are sunrises and sunsets, Alpine glories and ocean marvels which, once seen cling to our memories throughout life; yet even when nature is at her best she cannot give us an idea of the supernatural glory which God has prepared for His people. The ear has heard sweet harmonies. Have we not enjoyed music which has thrilled us? Have we not listened to speech which has seemed to make our hearts dance within us? And yet no melody of harp nor charm of oratory can ever raise us to a conception of the glory which God hath laid up for them that love Him.
As for the heart of man, what strange things have entered it! Men have exhibited fair fictions, woven in the loom of fancy, which have made the eyes to sparkle with their beauty and brightness; imagination has revealed and rioted in its own fantastic creations, roaming among islands of silver and mountains of gold, or swimming in seas of wine and rivers of milk; but imagination has never been able to open the gate of pearl which shuts in the city of our God. No, it hath not yet entered the heart of man. Yet the text goes on to say, "but He hath revealed it unto us by His Spirit." So that Heaven is not an utterly unknown region, not altogether an inner brightness shut in with walls of impenetrable darkness.
God hath revealed joys which He has prepared for His beloved; but mark you, even though they be revealed of the Spirit, yet it is no common unveiling, and the reason that it is made known at all is ascribed to the fact that " the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." So we see that the glory which awaits the saints is ranked among the deep things of God, and he that would speak thereof after the manner of the oracles of God must have much heavenly teaching. It is easy to chatter according to human fancy, but if we would follow the sure teaching of the Word of God we shall have need to be taught of the Holy Spirit, without Whose anointing, the deep things of God must be hidden from us. Pray that we may be under that teaching while we dwell upon this theme.
What then is the destiny of the saints? Our text tells us that God has "called us unto His eternal glory." "Glory!" does not the very word astound you? "Glory!" surely that belong to God alone! Yet the Scripture says "glory," and glory it must mean, for it never exaggerates. Think of glory for us who have deserved eternal shame! Glory for us poor creatures who are often ashamed of ourselves! Yes, I look at my book again, and it actually says "glory" -- nothing less than glory. Therefore so must it be.
Now, since this seems so amazing and astonishing a thing, I would so speak with you that not a relic of incredulity may remain in your hearts concerning it. I would ask you to follow me while we look through the Bible, not quoting every passage which speaks of glory, but mentioning a few of the leading ones.
This glory has been promised. What said David? In the seventy-third Psalm and twenty-fourth verse we meet with these remarkable works: "Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." In the original Hebrew there is a trace of David's recollection of Enoch's being translated; and, though the royal Psalmist did not expect to be caught away without dying, yet he did expect that after he had followed the guidance of the LORD here below the great Father would stoop and raise up His child to be with Himself forever. He expected to be received in glory. Even in those dim days, when as yet the light of the gospel was but in its dawn, this prophet and king was able to say, "Thou shalt afterward receive me to glory." Did he not mean the same thing when in the eighty-fourth Psalm, verse eleven, he said, "The LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly" ? Not only no good thing under the name of grace will God withhold from the upright, but no good thing under the head of glory. No good of Heaven shall be kept from the saints; no reserve is even set upon the throne of the great King, for our LORD Jesus has graciously promised, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and an set down with My Father in His throne." "No good thing," not even amongst the infinitely good things of Heaven, will God "withhold fro them that walk uprightly." If David had this persuasion, much more may we walk in the light of the gospel. Since our LORD Jesus hath suffered and entered into His glory, and we know that we shall be with Him where He is, we are confident that our rest shall be glorious.
Brethren, it is to this glory that we have been called. The people of God having been predestinated, have been called with an effectual calling -- called so that they have obeyed the call, and have run after Him who has drawn them. Now, our text says that He has "called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus." We are called to repentance, we are called to faith, we are called to holiness, we are called to perseverance, and all this that we may afterwards attain unto glory. We have another Scripture of like import in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 -- "Who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory." We are called unto His kingdom according to our LORD's Word, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good ; pleasure to give you the kingdom." We are called to be kings, called to wear a crown of life that fadeth called to reign with Christ in His glory. If the LORD had not meant us to have the glory He would not have called us unto it, for His calling is no mockery. He would not by His Spirit have fetched us out from the world and separated us unto Himself if He had not intended to keep us from falling and preserve us eternally. Believer, you are called to glory; do not question the certainty of that to which God has called you.
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