Matthew 25:31-32 (The Hidden Glory of God)

After forsaking the temple mount and predicting its destruction for having rejected His Spirit from filling it, Jesus is on the Mount of Olives giving signs to His disciples and warning them to keep watch lest they too be swept away in the coming judgment.  Here in the parable of the sheep and goats He is summarizing those warnings with a reminder of the substance of true religion that is the standard by which not only the lesser nation of the Jews, but all nations of men are to be judged by the truth of the gospel; cf. Deut 7:7, 1Pe 4:17-18.  For the gospel truth of life through death is a winnowing fork that judges the hearts of people as it forces them to choose between Christ’s kingdom and the kingdoms of this world; cf. Mat 3:12.  We have begun to see that that day of judgment is not entirely future, but also present.  For Jesus says that whenever (and hence, wherever) He comes in His glory, He will sit on His glorious throne and separate those gathered before Him as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.  And just as heaven is God’s throne wherein is found all truth and from where He reigns in glory, Christ’s throne of glory from where He judges the nations in righteousness as He establishes His kingdom on earth is the truth of His word that will never pass away.  That truth manifests itself in the hearts of His people as they come by faith to the knowledge of the truth hidden from their sinful nature that real lasting glory comes not from lording over others, but from laying down their lives for them in love; cf. Mat 20:25-28.  This sacrificial love of God was demonstrated in the life of Christ, who is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature (Heb 1:3).  We have also seen that the glory of God is not like the glory of this world that is measured in material wealth and the subjection of others to our own self-will.  Rather, His glory is to raise to life those who are weak and of no account in the world and to seat them on a throne of glory, of which Christ is again the supreme example; cf. Phil 2:5-11.  In what way was this glory of God also exemplified in the life of Abraham (cf. Rom 4:17-21), in the nation of Israel (cf. Deut 10:22, 26:5, Eze 16:3-14), and even among the Gentiles (cf. Eph 2:11-13, Col 1:27)?  See also Joh 11:4,40.

How do these things help us to understand the way that Jesus comes in the glory of His Father (Mat 16:27)?  See Rom 6:4, Heb 2:10, and consider that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so is Christ also exalted in glory by bringing many sons to glory.  And how does He bring many sons to glory?  See Mat 16:24-25 and think: Is it not by raising to newness of life those who are dead in their sins and likewise leading them in the way of the cross by which they too may share in His glory by laying down their lives to exalt others?  What does this illustrate about the nature of God’s glory that makes it so much more glorious than man’s?  Is He jealous of His glory and selfish for others to partake of it?  Or is He willing to share His glory by sharing His divine nature that was exemplified in the life of Christ?  Cf. Num 11:29, 2Pe 1:3-4.  Shall we then be unwilling to share our glory with others?

In what ways is this glory of God woven throughout the fabric of His creation?  Cf. Joh 12:24-25, and consider the transformation of a lowly caterpillar or grub worm into a butterfly; cf. also the role of a wife subjecting herself to her husband, but him raising her up in glory; Eph 5:27, 1Pe 5:6, Pro 31:10,28.  Although such glory is evidenced throughout creation as a reflection of its Creator, is the nature of that glory necessarily obvious, even to angels?  Cf. 1Pe 1:11-12.  Why is such glory especially hidden from men so that it is seen here on earth only through the eyes of faith, as through a “glass darkly” (1Co 13:12, KJV), or a “mirror dimly” (NAS)?  Cf. the real-life parable in Act 13:8-11.  What does this remind us about the darkness of sin that prevents men from perceiving the truth?  See Rom 1:21-23 and consider that as men exchanged the hidden glory of the incorruptible God for a lesser glory that is more readily observed by their corruptible nature, so is God’s glory hidden all the more from their fallen, sinful nature, as if covered by a veil that is only removed in Christ; cf. 2Co 3:14-16.  When our eyes are opened to see that glory, it is like a blinding light to our carnal eyes that had been so accustomed to the darkness; cf. Act 22:11, and notice there that the NAS brightness is literally glory.  This is the light of the gospel of the glory Christ: that true life is entered only through death and the greatest glory is found in the greatest service and sacrifice for others; cf. 2Th 2:13-14.  It is this glory that God would have us behold through the eyes of faith that transforms us into the same image from glory to glory, just as it did Paul; see 2Co 3:18, 4:3-12, 2Ti 2:10.  It was also this glory that Isaiah saw that was veiled from the unbelieving Jews that kept them from believing the gospel; see Joh 12:37-41.  For the glory that Isaiah saw was not the glory of an earthly king, but the heavenly glory of Christ who suffered and died and was crowned with glory for the sacrifice He made to redeem fallen man and lift up the weak and lowly who are themselves dead and of no account.

What Christian ordinance that was practiced throughout history in the Church and even in America until the last half of the 20th century speaks of the hidden and unexpected glories of God that are veiled from our sight but manifested to all creation in weak and often powerless vessels, contrary to the ways of the world?  See 1Co 11:1-16.  Rather than symbolizing the oppression and inglorious role of the weaker sex as is often supposed, in what way does a Christian woman’s head covering actually signify the exact opposite?  In what way is the hidden, heavenly glory symbolized by a Christian woman’s veiled head of hair also the exact opposite of the worldly glory that is thinly veiled by the extravagant or form-fitting fashions of men?  How does this help us to better understand the principles behind Christian modesty and why it is virtuous for reasons beyond not causing others to stumble in lust?

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