|12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. – 1 Peter 4:12–19 (ESV)
Do you see a common theme in the passage above?
In these eight verses, the word “glory” is used three times. When you stop to think about it, “glory” is an interesting word. It’s a word we often hear at church. But have you ever tried to define exactly what it is? I would propose that it is virtually impossible. Our human language simply doesn’t have the capacity to fully describe the glories of God. Honestly, I surmise that even if we could adequately define it, our hearts and minds would scarcely comprehend it. Indeed, the scriptures provide us with descriptions and glimpses, but even those merely whet our appetites for the fuller revelation of His glory that is yet to come. And this week, glory is at the center of Peter’s point!
One could argue that the glory of God is the focal point of every text, as it is the very thread that carries the biblical narrative from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation. Consider it:
- Before creation, God delighted in His glory.
- In creation, He displayed His glory.
- Mankind was created in His image and crowned with glory.
- The fall and the redemptive plan are for His glory.
- His judgments declare His glory.
- The exodus of Israel was led by His glory (a pillar of fire).
- On Mount Sinai, during the giving of the Law, Moses beheld His glory.
- His glory filled the Tabernacle in Leviticus.
- In Numbers, His glory fills the earth.
- In Kings and Chronicles, His glory fills the Temple.
- In Psalms, it fills the heavens and the earth.
- His glory was revealed to the prophets and proclaimed to the masses.
- Then Christ came in glory.
- In His transfiguration, He revealed His glory.
- On the Cross, He redeemed us for His glory.
- And through His Ascension, He reclaimed His throne of glory.
Now, in this week’s text, Peter reminds us how God’s glory is in His church, dwelling inside each and every one of us! The question, though, is: “What does the glory of God have to do with our forging?” Well, that is a fantastic question, and I can’t wait for us to dig in together and find out! For now, let me just say that we are being forged to glory, and our forging accentuates our understanding and longing for God’s glory. Oh, friends, I’m telling you, I cannot wait for Sunday!
Love you, church!