Glory Follows Suffering


Glory has many connotations in everyday life. One of my favorite scenes is from the movie Glory. John Legend just won an Oscar for his song Glory. I am writing this morning about God’s Glory. While the movie and song are important, they pale in comparison to the importance of God’s Glory. As widely as the connotations are, there are a wealth of definitions for glory. Dictionary.com provides several definitions of glory: very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; and adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving. For the purpose of this post, I will major on how glory is outlined in the Word of God.

In 1 Peter 1:11, the word used for glory is doxa (do’-ksä). In the context of that verse, doxa means the kingly majesty of the Messiah and the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ. Christ has been, is being and will be praised for His personal excellency or majesty. The text sets the order of things based on Christ. Of Him, the text says that Glory Follows Suffering. Let’s read it.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.

There it is in black and white – Glory Follows Suffering. The text conveys that Christ had sufferings.Christ’s gloriewould follow those sufferings. All true believers in Christ should expect our lives to be that of Jesus’. Colossians 3 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” As a Christian, our lives are not our own, and we are to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice which is our spiritual worship.

Since Christ suffered, we will suffer. While not in the same degree and manner, we will, as 1 Peter 1:6 tells us, suffer grief in all kinds of trials. Our expectation is to demonstrate the character of Christ in response to those trials. He, like we are told the prophets of old, recognized that life was about others not Himself. As a consequence, we are told that “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”*

Consequently, we, as followers of Christ, should do likewise. Endure our hardships and trials with the understanding that we are not doing it for ourselves but for others for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. We have the assurance that Glory Follows Suffering. As such, we should embrace trials and hardships because the end result is glory to God.

That is hard to accept in the moment of your trial or suffering, but it is expected of followers of Christ to live by the Spirit who will enable us to follow Him. Philippians tells us “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” God’s good purpose is Himself – to bring glory to Himself as only He is worthy of praise, glory and honor.  We know from 1 Peter that He gets glory when we reveal His character i.e. walk in the Spirit responding as Christ would.

There are many examples of in the Word of God that illustrate or depict that Glory Follows Suffering. Consider Abraham and Sarah; Joseph; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; the Apostles – Peter, Stephen, and Paul along with many others.

Whether it is having a limb amputated, being beheaded, or sitting in a house with a broken heater, Glory Follows Suffering. Look in your life today to see what God will allow to bring glory to Himself. Don’t just grin and bear it, exult in it. Hallelujah.

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