What I want you to enjoy as you read this is the destiny of your calling, the aim — the God-appointed, blood-bought, Spirit-assured goal of your life. What is the final, highest enjoyment in your future?
God chose you as the firstfruits for salvation, through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth, to which he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13–14)
Your election and salvation and sanctification and faith and calling are all aiming at this: “that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The caller is God.
The root of the call is election.
The instrument of the call is the gospel.
The pathway to the goal of the call is holiness and faith.
The workers of holiness and faith are the Spirit and truth.
And the goal of the call is the possession of the glory of Christ.
Yes, “possession of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” is the literal translation. The glory of Christ will be your possession. This is your final, highest enjoyment in the future. You will come into the possession of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What does that mean?
First, dwell on his glory.
His glory is the brightness and the nature of the Creator of the universe.
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).
His glory is the sum of all the beauties of love and wisdom and power that he revealed in his earthly life.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory” (John 1:14).
His glory is the triumph of every battle he wins over all his personal, global, and universal enemies.
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).
His glory is the eternal radiance of the light of God replacing the sun and moon forever.
“The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23).
You were made for this glory. This alone will satisfy the longings of your heart. Jesus prayed that you would see his glory in its fullness, on the other side of his resurrection: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory” (John 17:24).
Now in 2 Thessalonians 2:14 Paul says we are destined for “the possession of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So now dwell on possession.
The glory of Christ is our “blessed hope.” We long for him to appear. “We wait for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
When it appears — when he appears shining with it — we will see him. More truly, more clearly, more compellingly, more emotionally, more attentively, more undividedly than we have ever seen anything or anyone — good or evil. All the good emotions we have ever known, and all the good aspects of all the bad emotions, will come together in the fearful, unprecedented joy of that sight.
Then we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and we will become glorious as he is glorious. We will be changed by the sight of his incomparable glory. “When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). For now, we suffer with him. But this happens “in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17).
Our union with him will be changed from invisible to visible. And in him we will become glorious. “God has called you to his eternal glory in Christ” (1 Peter 5:10). The union will be mutually radiant, so that not only are we glorified in him, but also he in us. “The name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in him” (2 Thessalonians 1:12). And we will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father (Matthew 13:43).
Jesus himself will always be the height and the depth of our glory and our joy.
And thus we will be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Which means that we will not only be given the radiance of the Son, but the character of the Son — the heart-eyes of the Son. With this character and these heart-eyes we will be able to see and enjoy the gift of the Son’s radiance in us, and the gift of the Son’s radiance before us, in such a way that our own radiance will never tempt us to think we are God. He himself will always be the height and the depth of our glory and our joy.
This is the goal of our calling, our life — the possession of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.