Christ in Us Our Hope of Glory
Scripture is from the NASB and AMP
In Second Thessalonians, the apostle Paul was instructing the church (us) about the coming of the Lord. Before Christ comes, Paul said, two events must take place: 1) the falling away of those who have professed to know Christ and 2) the Antichrist must come. He said they fall away because they refuse to love (all) the truth that they might be saved. In other words, they pick and choose what they want to believe. Consequently, God eventually gives them over to a deluded mind to believe what is false.
On the other hand, in verse 14, Paul encourages us, saying, “It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Gaining His glory does not mean that we seek for attention or fame, but rather that we put on His divine nature and His character, and walk in His ways—a result of loving the truth while on earth.
I’ve heard many teachers quote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but I have never heard it taught that we must not stay that way—short of His glory. Additionally, in past years, I’ve listened to spirit-filled leaders instruct us to never touch the glory of God, saying that the devil was after God’s glory in the garden because he wanted to be God. As a result, our minds are conditioned by teachers to reject the whole idea of ever wanting God’s glory. However, there’s a problem with such thinking. What do we do with all the Scriptures that speak about God’s glory formed in us? I will refer to some of these Scriptures as I continue.
My purpose for writing this is to expose the fact that God desires His glory to be in us now—on this earth. His glory in us is simply the life we should be living, if we truly belong to Christ
The gospel of glory instructs us towards a goal: Love from a pure heart (1 Timothy 1:5), which is reached through a process called sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8), with the outcome of sanctification resulting in God’s promise, eternal life (Romans 6:22).
Scripture reveals that God hides His purposes in mysteries which the unspiritual man cannot understand, but He reveals them to babes (Matthew 11:25), who thirst1 for the pure milk of the Word, desiring to grow into completed salvation (1 Peter 2:1-2 AMP).
For example: Jesus’ disciples asked, “Why do you speak to them in parables or mysteries? He replied to them, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given, and he will be richly furnished so that he will have an abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away from him’” (Matthew 13:11:12 AMP). Jesus went on to say that the reason some followers don’t understand the mysteries of the kingdom is because they have the power to see, hear, and understand them, but don’t use it. But if we (the church) would repent from listening to men, and begin listening to the Word, to obey His thoughts and ways, He would heal the church (v10-15), by changing our thinking to understand His purpose.
Listen to apostle Paul, a minister given to the Gentiles, to make the Word of God fully known among us.
He said, “The mystery of which was hidden for ages and generations [from angels and men], but is now revealed to us His holy people (the saints). To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory. Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full grown, fully initiated, complete and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One). For this I labor [unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me” (Colossians 1:26-29 AMP).
- Paul made the Word fully known, by revealing the mystery of glory
- The mystery is unveiled to the holy people of God who have ears to hear
- Paul’s words warn, admonish, and instruct everyone in all comprehensive insight
- Paul labored tirelessly to present us full-grown, complete and perfect in Christ
We see that the purpose of this mystery is to reveal that Christ (His nature and character) be fully formed in us now—the hope of having the glory of God—which is the purpose of the gospel (sanctification), so “that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14).
This same mystery is also spoken of in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8: “But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory, the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood.”
The Apostle John also fully carried out the preaching of the mystery of the Gospel. He taught us to be perfected in love by the Holy Spirit. He taught that if we abide in love (continue to obey the Holy Spirit), God abides in us and by this love is perfected in us so that we can have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus Christ is perfected in love (Hebrews 5:9, so also are we on this earth. And when He comes for us we will be like Him, for we will see Him just as He is (1 John 4:16-17). Everyone who hopes for eternal life purifies himself (1 John 3:1-3).
In Galatians 3:3 AMP, Paul was concerned because they were giving themselves to other religious busyness and not to the purpose of the gospel taught by the Spirit, even saying, “Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the Holy Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?” Remember, in Colossians 1:28 above, Paul said that His purpose was to present every man mature, complete and perfect in Christ.
And again, “I am alarmed [about you], lest I have labored among and over you to no purpose and in vain (Galatians 4:11 AMP). And, ‘My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed [molded] within you” (v19).
Paul labored to form Christ in us and was confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in us will perfect it right up until the day of Christ, bringing it to full completion (Philippians 1:6 AMP). Christ “formed” in us is our hope of glory. Paul labored throughout his life to the point of weariness, for this purpose!
How can the church put on God’s glory and build herself up in love if we do not fully carry out to the goal the preaching of the purpose of the Gospel with the faith and expectation to reach it? In Ephesians 4:11-14, God gave men gifts to prepare the church. His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints; that we do the work of ministering towards building up the church; until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God; to become a mature church, which means, built up unto Christ’s own perfection. This is our present goal (Ephesians 4:11-13 AMP).
- Gifted men are to be preparing the church to reach the goal
- Their outcome is for the church to be perfected and fully equipped in all aspects of knowledge with understanding and insight
- The church body in turn will work as ministers to win, teach and disciple others
- The need is for us all to have the same mind as Christ, speaking and teaching the samethings, and growing up in all aspects unto Christ, the Head (Ephesians 4:14-15)
Perfection is obtained through committing ourselves to continuously hear and obey the truth of the Word, taught by the Holy Spirit. Jesus called us to sin no more (John 8:11). “I write you these things so that you may not violate God’s law and sin; but if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One who will intercede for us) with the Father—[it is] Jesus Christ…” (1 John 2:1 AMP).
“And all of us, with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 AMP).
Putting on His glory, being perfected in love, and being found that way at His coming is not like a promise dangling in front of our face that we can never partake of in our lifetime. But rather His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him, who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:4 AMP). As pupils, we are to become fully trained, restored, set to rights and perfected like our Teacher (Luke 6:40 AMP).
Paul wrote, “And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you]” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 AMP).
The mystery of Christ perfected in us, our hope of glory, goes hand in hand with the mystery of the church found in Ephesians 5:25-32, where Paul reveals the condition of the holy church when Christ returns to this earth. He wrote, “…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless…This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” We can see that Christ is returning only for a holy church who has prepared herself before He comes, filled with His glory (Revelation 19:7).
Bringing this mystery of glory to a conclusion, Jesus said in John 17:19,22,23: “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves may also be sanctified in truth…The glory that you have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one. I in them and You in Me that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them, even as You love Me.”
- We are to be sanctified in truth (being holy as He is holy 1 Peter 1:14-16)
- The same glory that Jesus was given, Jesus has passed on to us
- His purpose is that we may be one, spirit, soul, and body, in perfect fellowship
- We must be perfected in unity, having the same mind and purpose as Christ
- This oneness will prove to the world that God sent Christ, because He loved the world and desired to see all men restored to the image of God, just as man was created in the image of God before sin entered the world
Be aware that teachings that shut our minds to the truth are doctrines that demons teach, which are damnable heresies. In fact, Scriptures constantly warns us to test everything by the Word of God, holding fast to that which is good. If a teaching is not instructing us in the mystery of His godliness, to restore us to Jesus’ nature, then we can know that we are listening to a lying spirit teaching a heresy. We know this because the gospel calls us for this purpose, that we may gain the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14).
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).
Anyone with discernment recognizes that much of the church is under the influence of the god of this world—another Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4) As long as minds are held captive by doctrines that demons teach, because teachers unwittingly omit God’s purpose for us, we are deceived and cannot gain the glory of God.
Just a little leaven, a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers, perverts our ability to conceive the truth by faith, and misleads the whole church (Galatians 5:9 AMP). As a result, we are rendered unable to see and understand the light of the Gospel, which is the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (in us) (2 Corinthians 4:4). The church cannot represent Christ and be the light of the world, in the image of God, if we do not believe and teach the gospel of glory. We must search the Scriptures and understand this, lest we be the blind following the blind.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 AMP).
His special people are the same people who had once fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but now, having been transformed by their faith in God’s Word and the sanctifying work of the Spirit, virtually display His deeds, virtues, and perfections for the whole world to see (Philippians 2:14-16). This is God’s purpose for His own purchased, special people—to display Him!
Having God’s glory in us glorifies Jesus Christ and our Father. Christ fully formed in us, our hope of glory, is the outcome of the gospel. Unless we teach and pursue His glory in us now on this earth, we will run our race without aim, be found short of the finish line, missing the prize of eternal life, which God has promised to those who are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14;12:14; John 17:17).
So let us encourage one another to search the Scriptures to see if this is true and discover the inherent power of the gospel of His glory to literally transform us into God’s very own image during our stay on this earth. This is the redeemed church that Christ is returning for, one that is washed from every lawless deed and purified, a people for His own possession (Titus 2:14). Now, while there is still time, let us “press on toward the goal, to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize, to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward” (Philippians 3:14 AMP).