No true Christian would expect to be without suffering or chastisements from the Lord, because these are evidences that he is a follower of Jesus and a son of God. It is one of the ways in which the spirit of the Lord testifies to us that we are his. (Hebrews 12:2-11; Romans 8:16,17) These sufferings of the Christian come from various agencies. The Christian suffers by being misunderstood. His motives are presumed to be wrong. He is sometimes charged with sedition because he does not desire to join with peoples of the world in engaging in war to destroy human lives; sometimes persecuted by false brethren, and sometimes by those who are ignorant. But all these afflictions he patiently endures, gladly.
St. Paul probably suffered as much or more than any follower of Christ. He suffered shipwreck, imprisonment, his back was flogged on three occasions at least, he was stoned and dragged out by the wayside and left for dead; and notwithstanding all these afflictions he wrote: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen”. (2 Corinthians 4:17,18) He was looking forward to the glory that shall follow, as should all Christians—not only some glory, but a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The Christian delights to meditate upon the promises given in God’s Word concerning this glory.
The great promise set before the church is that of eternal life—being for ever with the Lord. Addressing these, St. Paul wrote: “God will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life”. (Romans 2:6,7) It is to be noticed that those who are looking for that great reward patiently continue in doing well; that is to say, they cheerfully endure whatsoever experiences come, while they continue to walk in the Master’s footsteps. Let us, then, examine some of the texts setting forth God’s precious promises relative to the glory and honor that shall be the portion of the church in his great arrangement.
_Glory_ is the term used to describe Jehovah’s presence. It suggests the brightness of the divine person and character. Glory is associated with God’s holiness. (Isaiah 6:1-4) Our Lord Jesus is mentioned as the ‘brightness of God’s glory’. He is also spoken of as being ‘the express image of the Father’, and we are told that he is at the right hand of the Father. (Hebrews 1:3) The 144,000 members of his body are to be with him in his throne and in the Father’s presence, thus in glory. (Revelation 3:21) This glory that they shall enjoy will be so transcendently more wonderful than all the things of earth that could be glorious, that St. Paul describes it as a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”. The members of the church while undergoing development bear the image of the earthly. Imperfect human beings they are, with imperfect bodies and minds. But the promise to them is: “As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly".—1 Corinthians 15:49.