I don’t understand God. Really, even that statement falls short of just how little I “get” of Him. Graciously He has allowed me to know Him, but what I know is much like the tip of an iceberg rising above the water; below are depths beyond my slight human grasp, depths that would overwhelm me in my frailty. By mercy He keeps much of this from me, knowing the effect such knowledge might have and just how poorly I would use it (if I could continue to function at all after such a revelation). Even what I do understand I often pervert and communicate very badly.
One example? Christ being glorified.
In my rather pathetic and shallow understanding, I’ve read of His glorification in the past with some reservations. Not that I didn’t believe the Son of God deserved it and not because I didn’t believe that He has been, in fact, glorified, but because for some reason it rubbed me wrong. “Yeah, yeah,” my sinful mind would hint. “He did all that but He knew glorification and paradise were to come. Doesn’t that sound a little self-serving?”
I always thrust this to the back of my mind, repenting of such evil thoughts against One Who suffered the Hell I deserve, and ignoring the topic all together. Maybe I’m the only one who’s ever struggled with that, maybe I really can say with Paul that I’m the worst of sinners, maybe I apply human terms and conditions to God far too often and forget that He is wholly separate from us…I’m not really sure, but the thought always kind of bothered me a little.
But God has been merciful. Rather than allowing me to simply ignore a bad view of Himself and leave me in simple ignorance, He revealed to me something very important about the glorification of Christ. Jesus was glorified, in part, that we might be glorified also. United with Him on the cross we died, rising with Him from the grave we lived, and ascending to heaven we were promised glorification. Am I the only one who has never understood this? Or perhaps it is just now hitting me square between the eyes and the truth of it is gloriously blinding. Because Christ was glorified, so we will be too. How baffling is that?
Maybe this is a simple truth you already understood, or at least knew academically, but I challenge you, dear reader, to mediate on that for a few moments. The glorification of Christ was not just a self-serving reward (as if we could even use such pathetic human terms in relation to our God), but it was also a means of promising glorification to His bride, the Church.
“…for Christ Himself the covenant of redemption was a covenant of works. Its promises were conditional upon His obedience…It is because He was obedient unto death that He is highly exalted. It is because He has finished the work given Him that He asks that He Himself be glorified and the salvation of His people completed.” Donald Macleod