A Divine Love Affair, Part Five
In today's text, we find out what Jesus did with the glory the Father gave to Him. Let me give you these two texts and then add the third. First, He prayed, "Father, give Me glory, the glory that I had with Thee before the world was." Then Peter says, God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory. Now back in John 17:22 we read, "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them." This is none other than the Bridegroom's present to the Bride. This is a wonderful thing.
For many years it has been my custom, whenever I married anybody, that when the bridegroom hands me an envelope, I go and say to the bride, "Here is my wedding present to you. If he has been very generous to the preacher, you've got a good sum." If he has given me five dollars, that's what she gets; if he gives me twenty dollars, that's what she gets. I just give it back to the bride.
The Bridegroom's present to the Bride, which doesn't pass through any intermediary, is this: "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them." The Lord Jesus Christ says, "I have chosen you." Oh, do you understand your place in the plan of God? Do you understand that God loves you because of Christ, and God is determined to make you like Christ? He will whittle you, He will cut away, He will rub you with sandpaper X-fine, and ultimately He will accomplish that for which you were predestined.
Oh, how many people glibly recite Romans 8:28 without knowing Romans 8:29! They say, "Yes, we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." But what is His purpose? It is this: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).
God will never stop working on you until you become like Christ. "It does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him" (1 John 3:2). The Bible also says that the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is to be "the fulness of him that filleth all in all," and that the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.
I have no doubt whatsoever that some cook on Main Street is going to have a much bigger place in heaven than some of the people she's worked for. And I have no doubt whatsoever about some obscure little preacher who has been pastor of a little church of fifty or sixty people out in the sticks writing eternal truths on a few dull hearts, but pouring out his heart to the Lord. At the time that the rewards are given he may have a much greater award than the preacher who was able to fill a church and have a radio program and all the rest of it. This is a thing which should cause everyone of us to tremble, every day, as we read, "Beware, lest anyone take thy reward; beware, lest anyone take thy crown." In other words, beware lest we turn our lives inward, and begin to live for ourselves instead of turning our lives outward to live for Jesus Christ, and to allow Him to flow over to others.
- When will the Lord stop working on us?
- What does it mean to be more like Christ?
- What gifts do we receive as the bride of Christ?
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