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The Rev. Jon Browning, D.D.: Glory after awhile

Years ago, the Chuck Wagon Gang recorded a song on a 78 record entitled, "We Shall Have Glory After While." When my mom's faith became sight, the Heavens were opened to her, only the pain and cancer were left behind in her bed. I try to think of her first few moments of Glory, not after awhile, but present. What is Glory anyway? A bright light? A street of gold? Here is what we do know.

First, Glory is purposefully hidden.

We are assured of it, but God hides the details in part because we couldn't describe them to others or understand it ourselves. Also, it is hidden because God wants us to be surprised. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says: "But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

God knows we have labored and endured hard, and because He loves us, part of His reward is our wonder at His goodness to us. Sometimes the world ridicules us because we cannot describe Heaven, but it is purposed so by the Lord. The Lord says His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Perhaps we may take for granted or appreciate less if we knew all this side of Heaven.

Second, Glory is revealed in our person and His Person.

1 John 3:3: "It doth not appear yet what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." We know that our bodies will be glorified, as Paul reminds us they will be fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body. Our glorified body will be at least very similar but not equal form to the body ascribed to Christ in the Gospels. We will not be vagabonds in rags living in a beautiful city. The greatest glory is that we will be like Him as He is: sinless. We shall not suffer any more. We shall finally be the product that we were always intended to be. God's purpose has always been inward, wherein lies the greatest need of renovations. The great thought in both the physical and spiritual is that on earth we are to be reflections of Christ but in Heaven, Christ will reflect Himself onto us! That is glory!

Third, Glory is revealed in our place.

The Apostle John again reveals our place of great honor and eternal rest. The old King James tells us of mansions. Many scholars translate it as dwelling places, and some even as apartments. Typically, a royal family lives in apartments. We tend to think of southern plantation palisades, which since we are coming back to earth may be possible, but a God-wrought apartment is better than any mansion of the earthly. Heaven our home will be visually stunning, but the real glory will be its chief occupant, our Savior Christ Jesus. You know on earth that every house no matter how grand and appointed means little and is empty if the beloved ones do not dwell there. So it is with Heaven. Heaven will be the wonderful choice of residence because it's where the King lives.

Lastly, Glory is revealed in its everlasting longevity.

Longevity means everything when we compare earthly with Heavenly. In this world we know of endings. Heaven is the absence of end. That's unfathomable to a dying world. The Wonder of Glory cannot be changed because it cannot end. You have things that will need replacement because they are flawed, but in Heaven everything will be right the first time and have no decay! So down here in this below world, we can be glad of our hope as we see everything falling apart here. Nothing in the world has real glory, because it ends. The explorers of the New World hoped to find the Fountain of Youth. They hoped to find that which endures. We will find after while not that which endures but that which is everlasting. Glory to God! Hastened be the day when faith becomes sight!

May God keep you closely to Himself until that day!


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