It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 The 2:13)
I spent some time yesterday pondering on this verse. My initial conclusion was that I didn’t like the word “may” in the context particularly well. It was thus natural to make an attempt at finding out what this “may” was pertaining to. Would we gain the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ after we had left this temporal world? I soon rejected this idea, because God is operating in the now. The now is His prime concern in His dealings with His precious children.
My second approach was to reflect on whether this “may” perhaps was pertaining to some condition we have to fulfill in order to see the manifestation of the promise. For instance if we walk in the Spirit and not the flesh then we will most certainly gain the glory, I reasoned. However, that seemed as a very shaky foundation for the fulfillment of a promise. With all these thoughts swirling in my mind I got into the car in order to pick up our daughter. I put on some music and relaxed to the enchanting rhythms and terrific guitar work of Paradise Lost.
When I turned the first curve a new thought hit me with a compelling force. What if this “may” was pertaining to God’s dreams and will from before the foundation of the earth? What if His desire always has been to see a succession of sons who share in the glory of His firstborn son here and now? However, in order that they “may” gain this glory He had to sanctify them first. And so He did through one offering for sins. I am without a shadow of doubt sanctified in Christ, and if I am sanctified I have also gained the glory of my Lord Jesus Christ. Since I am unable to see my glory I trust that what God says about me is the absolute truth. I find it quite futile to discuss matters that He of His own free counsel has decided, notably when those matters are to my benefit.
Those we encounter in this temporal realm can, however, detect our glory. I assume what Paul observed covers this remarkable thing: “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.” (2. Cor 2:14-16)