WHICH WAY IS THE ROAD TO GLORY?
“...Christ in you is the only hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
For we who are redeemed, Christ in us is the road to glory. The road is a person, Christ, who is the glory road. This glory road is paved with “peace that passes all understanding,” “joy unspeakable full of glory,” and a thrilling adventure, but one most often forged in pain. We must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12-13). We must work out of ourselves what God has imparted into us at our new birth and then by faith “possess our possessions.” We do that by faith, laboring to enter into the Sabbath rest made available to the children of God. We have it all in Spirit; however, “His rest” must be fully realized as a present-tense, living reality. It must not remain just an intellectual theory. The “Resurrection Life” of Christ must be experienced as a glorious new reality.
Most often it is a slow and sometimes painful “walk of faith” as we mature from one stage to another. I John 2:12-14 says that we experience our “Little Children” baby steps of faith and know peace with God and the forgiveness of our sins at our initial conversion. Then as we mature, we experience finding out who we are by first trying to operate from who we are not (Rom. 7). We are not an independent-self able to function apart from “Christ, Who is our life” (Col. 3:4). We discover our total helplessness which then conditions us to discover that we are joined to Christ in His death and raised together with Him in His resurrection, thereby experiencing an exchange of natures. Now as “Young Men,” we experience a new identity and begin to demonstrate a new level of spiritual authority through the Life of Christ in us.
Then finally, as we mature into the Fatherhood level, we know God’s Wisdom and His eternal purposes, as well as labor in faith to bring others to their full maturity in Christ. The final victory that is yet to be manifested is the redemption of our bodies, as mortality is swallowed up in immortality (I Cor. 15:54). However, we live now as ascended persons with full authority, seated with the ascended Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6).
THE ASCENDED CHRIST
With spirits in heaven, but bodies on earth, the sons go to release other captives, millions of them. Paul’s triumphant song for the Church is a throne shared now—a throne in spirit, while the body that contains it bears the scars of war. It is Christ’s throne. See the amazing power which lifted Him from the grave to the right hand of God in actual historical fact, both body and spirit. Believe that the same power has lifted us to the same exalted place in an actual spiritual fact, though not yet in our bodies. Then act not as if this was a glorified experience still to come, not as if this is some mystical throne millions of miles away that we are told we share, but as a throne shared where we are in our own spirits, and in our own defiant world.
Actually the enthroned Christ is everywhere; His throne, His lordship, His accomplished victory is in every square inch of the universe. Did He not say, ‘Go...teach all nations...and lo, I am with you always...’? And it is not the resurrected Christ, but the enthroned Christ who is with and in us. Let us get into the habit of recognizing this. I have found this to be the key to all situations—just when they are difficult, when all seems against deliverance, when the knots of disagreement seem beyond untying—to recognize Christ actually reigning there in the situation, and to take it for granted with thankfulness that we shall see that He is reigning.
When we turn from the Ascended Christ in Ephesians to Him in Hebrews, we find a concentration on Him in His office as High Priest rather than on the fact of His enthronement. Nothing is said in actual words about our enthroned relationship with Him, per se. But I suggest that to the eye that can see it, a relationship is etched in so sensitive and profound that it fully rounds out the high priestly ministry of the enthroned Savior and our relationship to Him in it. It actually carries us on beyond the Ephesians revelation to the fullness of the significance of the ascension.
Now we mount up ‘with wings as eagles’ to the ascended life. The Ascended Christ, the Great High Priest, is seen as the dynamic Savior doing His saving work as much as ever through His Body. The Ascended Christ lives the ascended life over and over again, in and through us.
The road to Glory leads us to what some have called “The Summit” or “Third Level Apostles and Intercessors.” Jesus preached this mountaintop “summit life” in His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5-7). He preached holiness and a perfection that exceeded the religious Pharisees, as well as a liberated spontaneous life, whereby we “take no thought for tomorrow.” He taught us that we could be as carefree as a lily: “consider the lily, how it toils not, neither does it spin.” He challenged us to love our enemies and seek first only one thing: His Kingdom of righteousness. As we do that, we will naturally experience a “totally supplied life.” Jesus taught that this spontaneous abundant life was available to all who ask, seek and knock: “Ask, and it will be given; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 11:9).
This life is as real and viable as that which Jesus experienced with His Father. It is a union oneness that is not just theory; it is REAL, and available to all who want to enter into a union relationship with Christ. This abundant Life is not just an experience, nor a thing we can know. It is not a “thing” at all. It is He, a person: it is Jesus Himself.
Knowing our oneness with Christ is knowing the “power of His resurrection” (Phil. 3:12), which then leads us right on to knowing the “fellowship of His suffering,” as well as then learning what it means to be “made conformed unto His death.” Basically, when we understand these truths we understand what the Apostle Peter meant when he called us “Royal Priests.”
Now here is the hidden privilege and cost to the “glory road.” It is what Paul tells us in II Corinthians 6:4-10, Colossians 1:24, and Romans 8:36-39. He says that when we suffer with Christ we will also reign with Him, and if we suffer with Him we will be glorified together. And it is for Christ’s sake we “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ,” as well as harvest the spoils as “more than conquerors.”
Paul lists the cost of this “glory road” in II Corinthians 6:4-10. As ministers and “Royal Priests” walking along this glorious road, we will experience hardship. However, through these trials and afflictions, outer need, and distresses, we acquire endurance and patience. We will labor in faith without seeing fruit; we will watch and wait without immediate results; we may even fast. In our humanity, we will feel these pressures, but all along we also have Christ’s pureness, His Spiritual knowledge, His longsuffering, His kindness, and by all means the Holy Ghost in heartfelt love. The Holy Spirit speaks by us in the word of truth, by the power of God; by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left. And then paradoxically, we experience both honor and dishonor; evil report and good report; we are regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; and “as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
Now we are on the “road to glory.” What? You say! Yes, we understand God’s ways of fruit bearing. Glory comes out of suffering (Rom. 8:17-18). Light comes out of darkness. God even “commanded the light to shine out of darkness” (II Cor. 4:6). After Solomon’s temple had been built, the Shekinah Glory came to rest over the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies, and the presence of His Glory appeared to them out of thick darkness (Ex. 20:21; I Chr. 6:1).
Think about these paradoxical pairs of opposites: light comes out of darkness; victory comes out of defeat; joy comes out of pain; strength comes out of weakness; living water flows out of a hard rock; and a flat plain levels a mountain of troubles. Suffering and glory are on the opposite ends of the same reality. The afflictions, the problems, the satanic attacks, all the pain of this present life “work in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of GLORY” (II Cor. 4:17)! “For the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). Great glory comes out of great affliction, but the miracle is that afflictions are transformed into “light affliction” when you suffer with Jesus. We are “sons of God, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” If we suffer with Him, we shall be glorified together with Him.
My Mama said it best as she lay dying with cancer, “Sylvia, this is not happening to me, it is happening to Jesus.” Yes, her body was dying, but her spirit joined to Jesus was rejoicing, and her testimony to us, her family, was “don’t you cry for me, I am not going to give the devil one ounce of glory, for I am going to praise God and give Him the glory for it all.” The fruit of my mother’s intercession has been manifested into the Life of Christ being formed in her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, from generation to generation.
STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERIES
This is what we are as the “Stewards of the Mysteries of God” (I Cor. 4:1), “who rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God” Rom. 5:2b). What glory are we hoping for? Adam forfeited his divine mind and wisdom in the Garden which separated him from his glory. “...Every seed after its own kind (Gen 1:11)”; therefore, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Ezekiel saw the Shekinah glory leave Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem (Ezek. 10:18) and foresaw the return of that glory (Ezek. 44:4) in the New Jerusalem, who is free and the mother of us all (Gal. 4:26). Christ Jesus, our intercessor, came to be the restorer of the breach and reunify man to his lost divine mind and glory through His substitutionary death, burial, resurrection and ascension (I Cor. 2:7-8). “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory, which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Cor. 2:7-8).
The Gospel says that Christ in you is the only hope of Glory (Col. 1:27). Through the New Covenant, “...Christ is made unto us Wisdom” (I Cor. 1:30), and His Wisdom is ordained unto our glory. What is this inherited glory? Or Who is glory? Glory is the Wisdom of God (I Cor. 1:24) as well as the mind of the God-Head. Wisdom is the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16) and the mind of the Spirit (Rom. 8:6). Wisdom is the pearl of great price and the glorious indwelling presence of God. Wisdom is the “crown of glory” and “the tree of life” (Prov.3:18; 4:9). Wisdom is the “Rose of Sharon” and “the Lily of the Valley” (Song of Sol. 2:1). Wisdom is the looking glass or mind mirror of the Lord (II Cor. 3:18). Wisdom is the “perfect law of liberation” (Jas. 1:25), and is the well of living water springing up out of us (John 4:14).
APPREHENDING WHAT IS ALREADY OURS IN CHRIST
Proverbs admonishes us to “get wisdom, get understanding; forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth; Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee; love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her and she shall promote thee; she shall bring thee to honor, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee” (Prov. 4:5-9). In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul prays for us this important prayer: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:17-18).
King Solomon asked for Wisdom and the Lord gave it to him. The Apostle James tells us to ask for wisdom, in faith, and “God will give it to you liberally” (Jas. 1:5-6). In union with Christ, we are anointed with the “Spirit of Wisdom” causing us to experience eternal glory NOW. To the seeing eye of faith, all of our inheritance is available now, that is, except for the final glorification of our bodies (Rom. 8:23-25). However, until the time of our final glorification, we will take up the glory of the Cross and follow Him in this present fallen reality. And by the power of His resurrection we will lay down our lives and take them up again. Over and over again as intercessors we labor in faith for others. The creation groans, we ourselves groan, and the Holy Spirit groans within us interceding and waiting for the final manifestation of the liberation of the sons of God when we will be delivered from the present bodily bondage of corruption into the glorious liberation of the children of God (Rom. 8:20-27). Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Now we wait for the end of all things, when time ends, and all the earth is glorified and it enters into a timeless eternal state (I Cor. 15:24-28); then “we will fully know even as we are known.” There will be no more sin or death, and all creation will be an expression of eternity without even the possibility of death. Then as God promised, the Glory as well as the knowledge of the Glory shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Num. 14:21; Ps. 72:19; Isa. 6:3; Hab. 2:14). Jesus will return for His Body and our mortal flesh will be swallowed up in immortality (I Cor. 15:51-57; Rom. 8:23-25; I Thess. 4:14-5:5; Phil. 3:20-21; II Tim. 1:10; II Cor. 5:1-4). And Christ will reign, just as He said He would, for one thousand years on the throne of David in Jerusalem and we “who love His appearing” will be reigning with Him forever. God, Himself declared it in Numbers 14:21 and so shall it be. “As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.”
Therefore, be wise. Jesus refused to know the five foolish virgins, but He did know the wise virgins with their lamps oiled and lit with glory (Matt. 25:1-12). And Daniel said that “the wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament” (Dan. 12:3). So then, “Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.”