“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory in this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”
I remember how excited I was to get to watch an “R” rated movie, and at school no less. I was in eighth grade at the time. I imagine it was not the first “R” rated movie I had seen, but this was officially sanctioned (as long as my parents signed the permission slip). The title of the movie was “Glory.” It told the true story of the first all-black regiment to fight in the Civil War. It received an “R” rating because of the way it graphically depicted the horror of war.
The word “glory,” when used as a noun, can mean things like magnificence or high renown. Similarly, when a person is glorified, they are recognized as having become something more than they already are, or at least perceived to be. The movie “Glory” is appropriately titled because the regiment whose story it tells, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Army, demonstrated a level of heroism no less than their white counterparts, all while dealing with a much greater level of adversity.
Glory is something many people aspire to possess, and something the rest of us are more than willing to bestow. On some level, we all want to achieve magnificence and become something more than we already are. Perhaps it was this desire that Paul was appealing to when he told the Christians in Colossae that the mystery of the Gospel, that Christ could live in them, would fulfill their hope for glory. Of course, the glory that is ours on account of our relationship with Jesus is both similar and different than the glory most people seek.
It’s similar in that with Christ living in us, we can become much more than we are, or could ever be, in our own power. We can become more gracious, more loving, and more generous, all while becoming less vindictive, self-centered, and greedy. This is just a glimpse of how different we can become. There is no end to the miraculous transformation that can occur in our hearts and lives because of Jesus. But since it is only because of Jesus, all the glory belongs to him. Being okay with that, even to the point of seeking after God's glory, instead of our own, is probably the most significant change that happens.
I’m reminded of what John the Baptist said, when made aware of Jesus’ growing popularity and the diminishment of his own. “He must increase, and I must decrease" (John 3:30). This statement, spoken with sincerity, is evidence of a level of spiritual maturity that we should all aspire to. Everything we do should be for God’s glory, and for his alone. To paraphrase the Westminster Catechism, “to glorify God is the purpose for which we have been created.”