We have a future More Glorious
than we could ever have imagined
Jesus anticipated that his followers would share his glory: I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one - (John 17:22)
In his letter to the Christians living in Rome, Paul wanted to encourage them that though it may sometimes be tough to live as a Christian in an environment hostile to Christianity, it was worth it. Here’s what he said: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
Writing to the Colossian church, Paul tells us that when Christ appears (i.e. returns) then his people “will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4), and he goes on to say that as we are renewed we are being renewed in ‘the image of our Creator’ (Colossians 3:10). And he told the Corinthian Christians that they were being transformed into the Lord’s likeness “with ever-increasing glory” – a glory that is linked with the work of God’s Spirit within those who believe (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Writing to Christians in Philippi, Paul tells them that “our lowly bodies” will be transformed “so that they will be like his [i.e. Jesus’] glorious body.” (Philippians 3:21) Paul’s fellow apostle John agrees: “We know that when [Jesus] appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
So, not only do Christians know where they’ve come from, we know where we’re headed! There is so much to look forward to – even the wildest imagination could never begin to do it justice.
But before leaving this section, I must also point out that while Christians are guaranteed a wonderful future, Jesus didn’t pull his punches when it came to warning people that the alternative to this glorious future was an unimaginably dreadful future. He had as much, if not more, to say about hell than anyone else. And this didn’t go unnoticed by his followers. The rest of the New Testament also contains dire warnings about the consequences of rejecting Jesus (see, for example, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)