Actually, I was searching for something else on the net as I suddenly found an exposition on the glory of God by Alexander MacLaren. I could not stop reading although I can hardly relate to all these wonderful blessings he wrote about right now. Even while deeply suffering, I am still sitting here, knowing that which I read there is the truth. Dear brothers and sisters, have you ever heard someone preach or teach on the possibility of being glorified even during this life on earth? I am speaking spiritually here, of course! However, as far as I can see it, you often only find Christian writings about justification and/or sanctification. And you also hear that sanctification will not be finished unless we are in heaven after our physical death. Yet is that biblical truth too? Although the Bible speaks about the necessity to die once (Heb 9:27), we also have Jesus’ mysterious promise he confided to Martha whose brother Lazarus had died before,
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (Jn 11:25-26 ESV)
We read, “… and everyone who lives and believes IN me shall never die.” (Emphasis in caps mine) Just now, while emphasizing the preceding sentence, I suddenly “knew” that those believers who died to their old self nature and were put IN(TO) Christ may already share eternal resurrection life here and now! In fact, they will NEVER die again!! That does not mean they won’t shed their physical shell, their mortal remains, like all other human beings, but they won’t have to endure any separation from the Spirit of God any longer. Indeed, they are already sitting with Christ in heavenly places wherever they might be, even on this earth! The gate into an open Heaven has opened up and they are able to see God in ALL things. This is THE ABUNDANT LIFE that Christ wants to bestow on us (cf. Jn 10:10)!
Any other ‘life’ outside of Him is mere existence, an existence full of struggles, pains, fears and doubts. Granted, a few happy moments too. But the sting of death hinders us to enjoy life at its fullest because we fear the future. We can suppress our fears by ignoring them, we can try to numb the pain of an insecure existence with hobbies or activities of all kinds (religious too), with drugs, alcohol, love affairs, or by clinging to pipe dreams, but we cannot drown out the nagging fear of losing it all, particularly those people whom we love the most! However, if we have finally died to our old self nature, the sting of death is gone (see 1 Cor 15:55). We cannot be separated from God anymore (Rom 8:38-39) and IN God, finally all things are ours. Eventually, here is one part of MacLaren’s notes on Romans chapter 5, verses 2 – 4. If you want to read more, just follow the link beneath the excerpt. The emphasis in caps below, once again, was added by me.
Now, I suppose I need not remind you that that phrase ‘the glory of God’ is, in the Old Testament, used especially to mean the light that dwelt between the cherubim above the mercy-seat; the symbol of the divine perfections and the token of the Divine Presence. The reality of which it was a symbol is the total splendour, so to speak, of that divine nature, as it rays itself out into all the universe. And, says Paul, the true hope of the Christian man is nothing less than that of that glory he shall be, in some true sense, and in an eternally growing degree, the real possessor. It is a tremendous claim, and one which leads us into deep places that I dare not venture into now, as to the resemblance between the human person and the Divine Person, notwithstanding all the differences which of course exist, and which only a presumptuous form of religion has ventured to treat as transitory or insignificant. Let me use a technical word, and say that it is no pantheistic absorption in an impersonal Light, no Nirvana of union with a vague whole, which the Apostle holds out here, but it is the closest possible union, personality being saved and individual consciousness being intensified. It is the clothing of humanity with so much of that glory as can be imparted to a finite creature. That means perfect knowledge, perfect purity, perfect love, and that means the dropping away of all weaknesses and the access of strange new powers, and that means the end of the schism between ‘will’ and ‘ought,’ and of the other schism between ‘will’ and ‘can.’ It means what this Apostle says: ‘Whom He justified them He also glorified,’ and what He says again, ‘We all, beholding as in a glass’-or rather, perhaps, mirroring as a glass does-’the glory, are changed into the same image.’
The very heart of Christianity is that the Divine Light of which that Shekinah was but a poor and transitory symbol has ‘tabernacled’ amongst men in the Christ, and has from Him been communicated, and is being communicated in such measure as earthly limitations and conditions permit, and that these do point on assuredly to perfect impartation hereafter, when ‘we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’ The Three could walk in the furnace of fire, because there was One with them, ‘like unto the Son of God.’ ‘Who among us shall dwell with the everlasting fire,’ the fire of that divine perfection? They who have had introduction by Christ into the grace, and who will be led by Him into the glory.
Now, brethren, it seems to me to be of great importance that this, the loftiest of conceptions of that future life, should be the main aspect under which we think of it. It is well to speak of rest from toil; it is well to speak of all the negations of present unfavourable, afflictive conditions which that future presents to us. And perhaps there is none of the aspects of it which appeals to deeper feelings in ourselves, than those which say ‘there shall be no night there,’ ‘there shall be no tears there, neither sorrow nor sighing’; ‘there shall be no toil there.’ But we must rise above all that, for our heaven is to live in God, and to be possessors of His glory. Do not let us dwell upon the symbols instead of the realities. Do not let us dwell only on the oppositions and contradictions to earth. Let us rather rise high above symbols, high above negations, to the positive truth, and not contented with saying ‘We shall be full of blessedness; we shall be full of purity; we shall be full of knowledge,’ let us rather think of that which embraces them all-we shall be full of God.
As I was thinking about what it means to have finally reached that immensely blessed state as a believer, I thought that you could also say we are redeemed or saved then. The whole process of salvation begins when we start to believe in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and it ends when we have been glorified and can see Him as He really is, from a heart that has been completely purified in order to be able to encounter the Eternal God on His Holy mountain (Tabor). Although it might seem a bit odd, I thought I could attach the poem I wrote for Michael Clark’s blog as I posted my very first comment on A Wilderness Voice back in December 2013 since my rhymes refer to exactly what I just tried to describe above. Here you are.
The Light of Salvation
His Life eternal here on earth
Who sees its beauty and its worth?
Although our eyes are opened now
It’s dimly view, through glass somehow
Into His realm, into His face
Beholding Him, receiving grace
Empowered by His Love, so true
To share His blessings, no one knew
Before God made them manifest
Giving His Spirit to these blessed
To you and me, to everyone
Who have believed in Christ, the Son
The Savior who leads all of these
Who see His heart while on their knees
Through wilderness, though dry and hot
Unto a mountain we knew not
Where we can share His glory too
All brothers, sisters, me and you
This mountain I am speaking of
With Tabor’s light which from above
Will draw our hearts so near to God
That we won’t evermore applaud
A man, a thing, that’s less than Him
Our hearts will merely be a hymn
That praises God all day and night
Beholding now His glory’s sight
That frees from any fear and pain
And from this world which is so vain