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THE HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD

Because we are justified (acquitted) by faith, not only do we have peace with God, not only do we stand in grace, there is also confident joy: 'we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God' (Romans  5:2).

The word translated ‘rejoice’ is the same word translated with ‘boast’ or ‘glory’, depending on which translation you read, in 3:27 and 4:2. The salvation we have in Jesus Christ outlaws boasting or glorying or rejoicing in our own actions. On the other hand, it promotes boasting, glorying and rejoicing in what God gives us in Christ. The Christian’s confidence is not in him/herself, but in Christ.

Not only is there now peace, there is also certain hope.

This ‘hope’ is not the uncertain, wishful thinking such as we express in ‘I hope it doesn’t rain’ or ‘I hope I get this position’. Biblical hope is a certain and fixed confidence and assurance. So Paul is saying ‘we rejoice in our certain expectation’? We rejoice in our calm and confident assurance . Here is something to boast and glory about, here is some thing to be confidently, exuberantly happy about, here, if you wish, is something to brag about, to talk about all the time, because it is so sure, so certain, so guaranteed. There are no doubts about it. No uncertainty. No mere pensive, wishful, uncertain longing.

For those who are still trapped in the performance paradigm where their assurance of salvation is relative to their ability to do enough good deeds. For them, this confident assurance of life with God that the believer has, is seen to be self-righteousness and pride, and to be quite out of place and wrong. Their perception is that no one can be that sure that they have done enough good deeds to merit God’s favour. But God’s word here says: ‘we rejoice (boast, glory) in the hope of the glory of God.’

What is this ‘glory of God’ in which the Christian believer rejoices with strong and certain confidence? What is this ‘glory of God’ which apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ we would not and could not attain?

It is that pure, untarnished knowledge of God in which there is no darkness and no doubt, where the fullness of his holiness and majesty are uncorrupted by our human misconceptions of his being.

It is also that close and intimate positive original relationship with God in which we reflect his image, his glory, and which we rebelled against and abandoned when we rejected God in Genesis 3. (See Romans 1:21-23).

It is that for which God created us, and from which we fall short (Genesis 1:26,27; Isaiah 43:7; Romans 3:23).

This ‘glory of God’ is out of reach and barred to us no longer. When we truly see Jesus Christ we see the glory of God (John 1:14; 17:4) pure and undefiled. And when we see him seated at the right hand of God the Father, we will see that glory in all its power and fullness.

Jesus, anticipating his return to glory, prayed: ‘And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began’ (John 17:5).

Revelation reveals the glory of Christ (1:12-18; 5:1-14; 19:11-16).

And as we live with him day by day God is at work in those who are his, quietly, little by little, working at restoring his glory and image in us. As we contemplate Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit is gradually restoring us to what he created us to be.

‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit’ (read 2Corinthians 3:12-18).

‘... the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27).

‘How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ... we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is’ (1John 3:1,2).

This is the glorious assurance of those who stand in grace, those who have peace with God through Jesus Christ, those who have been justified by faith. Because of Christ we know that our future is secure, our eternal destiny is guaranteed.

We rejoice in the hope, the sure confidence, of the glory of God.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2020