I believe that the secret of the apostle Paul’s life, from the very first day of his conversion, right up to the end when, after so many years, and after seeing and knowing so much, was to be still found aspiring, still stretched out. He had seen Jesus of Nazareth glorified, and he said: ‘That is the on-high calling!’ This is so much in keeping with what we have read in the letter to the Hebrews. We read: “We behold… Jesus… crowned with glory and honour” and then we read on: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling…” (Hebrews 3:1). What is this heavenly calling? It is Jesus crowned with glory, as the Man according to God’s eternal intention for man. Christ in a glorified humanity is the model, the pattern, the representation of God’s intention for all who believe in the Lord Jesus.
So then, if we have received that eternal life, if Christ is in us, dwelling in our hearts through faith, this is our destiny. We have the basis of an incorruptible life, which will eventually emerge in the fullness of that glory which He, as our Representative, now knows. Faith not only believes for the forgiveness of sins, not only for pardon, not only for justification and redemption. Faith in Jesus Christ apprehends Him as the very humanity to which we are to be conformed. Faith takes hold of Him as He is now, and says: ‘He is as He is because God wants me to be like that’; and, if we did but know, the Spirit of glory is operating for us on that basis every day, to make us like Him, to transform us that we may be transfigured, to conform us to His image. All the meaning of the activities and methods of the Spirit of God in our lives is to lay a foundation for glory.
May the Lord teach us how to keep clear of this corrupted world, how to keep clear of that wretched, corrupt old man. You remember that magnificent, though so simple, picture that Bunyan has given us of the man with the muck rake who has a crown of glory over his head, who is so occupied with his rake and so obsessed with what is down in the mud, that he does not see the glory but misses it all. That muck is our old man, and we are always turning him over to see if we can find something good in him, some glory. We are seemingly incapable of learning this one lesson, that there is no glory in that realm. We should finish all these investigations and lift up our eyes to the Lord of glory. This is how we will find the way of glory. Let us keep on the glory line.