Dr. James Montgomery Boice, the late pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, captures the essence of Advent: “Jesus descended from the peak of glory to this lowly position in order that He might raise us from our lowly position to His glory.” The significance of the incarnation is not only that we know the grace of Christ now, but that we will share His glory in the hereafter. Jesus was made lower than the angels and tasted death for everyone in order to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:9-10).
Of what do the riches of Jesus’ glory consist? Hear how the Apostle Paul describes the riches of His glory from 2 Corinthians 5:
First of all, it involves receiving an eternal house. 2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
The picture of a tent suggests a lack of permanence and insecurity and is a common symbol of earthly life and its setting in the body. Our earthly house is compared to a tent, which serves as a temporary dwelling. Our eternal house is compared to a permanent building constructed by God Himself. Many people wager their lives on death being
the end, but a Christian knows he will live forever with a glorified body in perfect communion with his Lord.
Secondly, it involves receiving an eternal home. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:8: “We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
As believers, we enjoy a most wonderful relationship with our Lord that will never end. We will be perfectly known and perfectly loved forever and ever. The phrase “with the Lord” suggests a dynamic, intimate communion with Jesus Christ. The riches of His glory consist in having an eternal home to go to at the end of our days. What a comfort this is! Jesus assures His followers in the Upper Room: “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
Finally, it involves receiving an eternal weight. 2 Corinthians 4:17 is a reminder of what suffering and affliction produce in the life of a Christian: “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”
We ought to commit ourselves to read at least once a year C.S. Lewis’ essay, The Weight of Glory. It can lift us from the harsh and stark realities of this world and renew our vision for what is ultimately in store for us in the coming kingdom of our Lord.
“Apparently, then,” Lewis concludes, “our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.”
Ultimately, what we all are truly longing for is GLORY – inexpressible glory. We want
to be welcomed, received, acknowledged by, and taken in by God into His dwelling
place. This is exactly our future because the only-begotten Son of God became a man to take upon Himself our rags of sin, condemnation, rejection, guilt, shame, brokenness, isolation, and insecurity. He has granted us His favor, smile, and righteousness. The words of the prophet Isaiah summarize how we should respond this Advent:
“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).