Friday, September 14, 2012

On the Edge of Glory

Have you heard the song, by Lady GaGa?
I'm on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment with you
I'm on the edge

The song has been stuck in my head all day, since last night really. It got me to thinking.

"Glory" is one of the most common words in scripture. It is used to express importance, honor and majesty. We read of the “glory of the Lord.”

In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, 'Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.

In the gospel of John, Jesus addresses a long prayer to God in which he says:

I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever the world existed.

The glory of God is the express greatness of his splendor, beauty, excellence, majesty, magnificence and honor. Therefore glorifying God means to acknowledge His greatness, and give Him honor by praising and worshiping Him, primarily because He, and He alone, deserves to be praised, honored and worshipped. God’s glory is the essence of His nature, and we give glory to Him by recognizing that essence.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 4:17

So while the Lord is glorified, the growth and development of a Christian has been described as a process – culminating in Glorification. Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, the full realization of salvation. This includes developing to that point where we glorify God through our life on earth, to decrease so that He may increase so that as others encounter a living breathing Christian who is walking in Glorification, they encounter Christ and perceive His Glory and His presence.

But it also speaks of afterlife. After the final judgment, all the righteous dead shall arise and their bodies will be perfected and will become a glorified body. Only then can they enter Heaven. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis’s Weight of Glory: "If we were to see them in their glorified forms we would be tempted to bow down and worship them." Many people believe that this body will be very similar to the one Christ had after He rose from the dead, or likened to an angel. That is, a perfect body fit for the needs of eternal life in a new Heaven and new Earth.

What kind of body will it be? All I know is it will not be the kind of body we are familiar with.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, raised in incorruption, sown in dishonor, raised in glory. Sown in weakness, raised in power. Sown a natural body, raised a Spiritual Body.” 1 Corthinians 15:42

He contrasts the body we now have with what we will have. All I know is that it will be a body on a higher level, and of a higher quality than the one we have now. It will be glorious. It will be strong and spiritual. It will never wear out or corrupt. And it is the kind of body you could enjoy being in paradise in. Isn’t it?

Glory – Sometimes the word is used as a place. The Bible says about Jesus,

“God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1Timothy 3:16

The Apostle Peter identified himself not only as an elder, not only as a witness of the sufferings of Christ, but also a

“partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.” 1 Peter 5:1

All of which is to say, that when I hear the song they play a lot today, “on the edge of glory” I can’t help but think of how I am on that edge spiritually. I am almost there. I could be a day away, or a year, or many years, but nevertheless on that edge of glory. I can see the end. I just need to be strong, and stay strong, and don’t let anything or anyone get in my way of my goal. I must resist the temptations of the world and remain spiritual and focused on glory. I must keep this glory in my mind and on my heart. I want this desire for glory to direct my life, my decisions and my choices.

“He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. And her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Revelations 21:10

“partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.” 1 Peter 5:1

I am on the edge of glory, and I can’t wait. On the edge of knowing and seeing the Lord’s glory, having that new glorious body, and going home – received up into glory.

The things of this world, the hard times we have and face, the suffering, poverty, crime, wars etc., impact Christians and non-Christians alike. By remembering that we are “not of this world,” remembering that these things are just for a little while, we can see them in a different light. We are still surrounded by all the horrors and tragedy of this life, but this is not our life. The knowledge that we are not of this world gives us Christians hope even in the darkest times. This messed up world is not where we belong, and it is not where we will stay.

We are here for a while. Meanwhile we wait. I am waiting, knowing I am on the edge of glory.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2Cor4:16-18