Partakers in Glory
It is a dangerous thing to start thinking about our glory. It seems the moment our mortal minds begin to dwell on any sort of glory that involves ourselves, we are tripped up into idolatry, into a lust for praise and human acknowledgment. We begin admiring ourselves as we imagine how admirable we will, at last, be. But it is even more dangerous not to think on it. It is in the thinking on it, the examination of it, that we purify ourselves in the spirit the apostle John intended us to do. Can we fathom a glory prepared for us in which, upon fixing our minds on it, we do not turn into proud devils? I pray we can, for the Lord calls us to do it.
The Bible does more than hint that we will, in fact, be partakers in God’s glory. Jesus prays that the glory God has given him would be given to all of us, so that we may be one, just as he and the Father are one (John 17:22). Peter is so bold as to say it like this:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Pet. 1:3–4)
You and me? Called to his glory? Partaking of the divine nature? How can it be? I won’t pretend for a moment that I can explain it! I can’t and shan’t try. But I will state it as fact: you and I and all those who belong to him and are his children are indeed called to his glory, and we shall become partakers of his divine nature. He has guaranteed our glory by the strength of his will and his word (Rom. 8:29–30).
Here we must rely on John, the beloved disciple, to guide us into visions of our future glory: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2–3).
How do we ready ourselves for the glory that awaits? We put every shred of our hope in Jesus and the promise that we will be like him. Hoping in God is how we purify ourselves for glory—that time when the dim glass will be removed, the veil forever lifted, the door finally and fully opened, and the commendation, “Well done,” received into a pure heart that can bear to hear it without sinning.
Lewis says, “The promise of glory . . . becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgment, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”1
If we can begin to imagine ourselves enjoying his praise because it’s from him, from his mouth, not mainly because it’s centered on us, then we will begin to ready ourselves for heaven. This is the inheritance of children. Do away with all notions of complexity and the tortuous need to nail it all to the wall. Beloved, we are God’s children. The glory that awaits is not mainly for those who can explain it all, having become so grown up they seem to forget the dust from which they were made. It is for those who will receive it like a child. Maturity in the Christian life is greater and greater childlikeness.
The Glory of Eating Like a Child
Children can be notoriously difficult to please when it comes to food but not when it comes to bread. I’m sure there is an exception out there, but I’ve never met a child who turns up his nose at a loaf of bread fresh from the oven. They gather round, eager for the first slice, not because of selfishness but because of delight. Mouths full, they can’t help but talk about how good it is and immediately begin asking for more. While their manners may not be as refined as some adults prefer, no one could question their genuine appreciation, their joy, and their happiness in the bread. No one has to ask, “Do you like it?” or urge them to say a dutiful “Thank you.”
As someone who makes bread a lot, I can tell you the response of happy children eating bread is the very best response. It is the response that brings me, the bread maker, the most pleasure and honor. So it is with the Lord. The more we can forget ourselves and our overbearing manners and simply receive the bread of life with the joy and delight of a child, the more honor God gets. When we are satisfied by his bread, that is, his Son, he is honored and glorified.2
We put every shred of our hope in Jesus and the promise that we will be like him.
The fuller purpose [of this] is not that you would merely eat the bread of life but that you would eat it as a child, for it is only children who really can eat it. For as high and lofty as glory is, God makes up for that loftiness by bestowing it only on humble children:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:1–4)
The disciples were seeking glory, asking “Who is the greatest?” Jesus’s response must have shocked them as it does us. The greatest are those who have refused a particular kind of aging—the kind that leads to cynicism, scoffing, hypocrisy, and pretense—and instead have grown new, childlike, and full of faith. When Eve ate the forbidden fruit, she “grew up” in the worst way. One could say that was the moment she became that deadly sort of adult that cannot enter the kingdom because she has lost her ability to enjoy all the good things that will be there—most especially God himself.3 When we turn and become children, every bit of life, from the perfect foam of a latte to the delicious warmth of clothes coming out of the dryer, from the piercing truth of Galatians to the unparalleled wisdom of the parables—all of it becomes vibrant and alive with the goodness of our Father. Everything is received as from him. We become partakers of wonder, which gets us about as close as we can get to partaking of the divine nature.
Won’t you turn and become his child? Won’t you taste and see that he is good? Won’t you stir up your hunger for him, knowing that it is his good pleasure to satisfy you with himself? Won’t you join me in waiting and hoping for the day when all hunger ceases and we will be glorified in his presence?
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Rev. 7:16–17)
- C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, rev. ed. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001), 41.
- This is a riff on one of the most meaningful sentences I’ve ever read outside the Bible: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him” by John Piper. If you’d like to explore this life-changing sentence more, I suggest you read John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 1996), 10.
- I am not saying that Eve was not God’s child or that she did not enter heaven when she died. I am simply commenting on what sin does to us.
This article is adapted from Bread of Life: Savoring the All-Satisfying Goodness of Jesus through the Art of Bread Making by Abigail Dodds.
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