THE GLORY OF CHRIST
"The glory of Christ." 2 Cor. 8:23
This is a wonderful title as applied to guilty men. It enters into that within the veil. The people of Christ are for his glory forever. This was the great end proposed for their redemption. This has been the great object in view in all his personal dealings with them. This is the great final result which they are made to accomplish. All his works praise him. But his saints bless him with peculiar honor. They speak forever of the glory of his kingdom, and talk of his power, to make known the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Theirs is intelligent, voluntary, experienced praise. And the glory which they give is very peculiar glory. But this title is given to them even now. They are the glory of Christ. This is the name by which the apostle would have them called. This is the description which he gives of them, as actually belonging to them. Does any one inquire concerning them? They are the glory of Christ. It seems almost presumption to appropriate such a title. But what blessing or name is there in the gospel which would not be presumptuous, did not the Lord himself direct it? Am I the glory of Christ? Yes, if saved at all. To whom else is the glory?
1. What an amount of GUILT has he pardoned! It is impossible to overstate this. No view that I can now take of it ascends to the truth. My original debasement--my wayward youth--my rejection of his love--my rebellion against his authority--my forgetfulness of his goodness--my backslidings from his way--my inconsistent profession--my vain and sinful example--the wickedness of my unconverted state--the errors of my renewed state. Alas! every day and every act brings up its separate testimony. And all condemn me. But he has freely pardoned. He has blotted out this whole fearful record. He will remember it no more. Surely this is glory. He will display it all, that all may see the riches of his grace in my forgiveness. Be it so. I know it is most disgraceful to me. But willingly would I come there and have it said, "There is the vilest and the most unworthy creature that has ever entered here," so that Christ shall have all the glory of my forgiveness. My sin has fearfully abounded. But his grace has so much the more abounded, and the glory is his.
2. Through what TRIALS has he brought me! My whole life has been a contest with him. He has led captivity captive, in bringing me on to glory. All this will appear to his honor at the last. In how many afflictions has he comforted me! In how many conflicts has he stood by me! From how many foes and dangers has he rescued me! How much has he endured in my own perverseness and unbelief! For how many years has he thus been contending with me, and triumphing for me! Oh it fills me with grief to look back and see how great my ingratitude and folly have been. But what honor he has brought out of it to himself! Surely there can be no such monument of grace besides. And when the whole work is done, and all my trials, and all his trials with me, are remembered and seen, it will be unspeakable glory to him, that he has carried me safely through. Was ever a bark so tossed and shattered upon the sea? Was it ever so unlikely that any one would get safely to the shore? But Christ has carried me through by his mighty power. And well may I praise him forever, and call myself the glory of Christ.
3. What abundant grace has he displayed! His forgiveness, how full and free it has been! No sin remaining. His justification, how complete! No defect unforgiven. His sanctification, how perfect! No part of my character unrenewed. His fidelity, how unfailing! No hour of my pilgrimage unwatched. His forbearance, how tender! No error of my life remembered. His compassion, how affectionate! No sorrow of my heart unconsoled. His recompense, how abundant! More than I have power to conceive. What abounding grace has been thus displayed to a creature so completely vile--so destitute of all ground of hope or claim in himself! I cannot know that such abundant grace has been displayed to any other. I cannot know that any other of his redeemed is so truly, and to such an extent, the glory of Christ. But well I know, that it appears impossible more grace should have been exercised for any than has been shown to me. Oh that I could ever give him all the praise for all his wonderful works of mercy to my soul!
4. What TRIUMPHS has he accomplished for me! Every difficulty was arrayed in his way, in bringing me to glory. And he has triumphed over all. My own sinfulness--my hostility to him--my just condemnation--my extreme deceitfulness--the opposition of the world--the enmity of Satan--the sorrows of earth--the feebleness of the flesh--the darkness of the grave--the dominion of death--all these have been conquered, and conquered by him alone. Each one would have confounded every created arm. But all combined must yield to him. And he has done it. Surely the glory is his. Can any other creature have such reason to praise as I have? Can any redeemed sinner owe him so much, or be so really, the glory of Christ? Oh, let me love him, praise him, adore him, with all my powers, and in all my being!
5. These facts mark his glory in me--amazing guilt forgiven--innumerable trials overcome--unspeakable grace displayed--unceasing and eternal triumphs obtained. These make me the glory of my Savior. These manifest the wonders of his love and power, as they are displayed in me. Oh, with the brightest, happiest hope, would I press forward to his rest and kingdom, and give him everlasting praise for all his love.
Oh my Savior, Shield, and Sun,
Shepherd, Brother, Husband, Friend,
Every precious name in one,
I will love you without end.