Friday 11 August
Jago Wynne is the Rector of Holy Trinity Clapham and formerly served at All Souls Langham Place and Holy Trinity Brompton. His is an author and has a passion to help people connect their faith in Jesus to their everyday lives! Here is a summary of his message on Friday evening at New Horizon:
Over the last two nights, we have been looking at the book of Colossians. We have been looking at the theme verse – “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” We have considered what it means to have “Christ in you and me”… seeing how the Holy Spirit transforms us and transforms the world through us.
The Holy Spirit is also the “Hope of Glory” – there are a few places in Scripture where the Spirit is described as a deposit that is guarantee of our future hope. When buying a house there is a difference between putting in an offer and paying a deposit or a down payment.
What is this Glory that the Holy Spirit guarantees?
Romans 9:23 God is Glorious: It is hard to define and explain the glory of God. To understand beauty we point to lots of things that are beautiful and that helps to explain what it is. We see beauty made manifest in a sunset or a beach or the Giant’s Causeway or in a person.
Glory is the beauty of God’s holiness made manifest. It is God going public on His holy. It is the way God puts His holiness on display. We see God’s glory in creation. We see God’s glory in human beings and supremely we see God’s glory in Jesus. This glory of God is an eternal, forever glory.
Many know the first question of the Westminster Catechism. What is our chief end? Our chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Romans 9:23 reminds us that we are not glorious. We deserve God’s wrath. Remember Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
However, in Christ, God has had mercy on us, giving us what we do not deserve. We who are not naturally glorious. We have become objects of God’s mercy. We don’t just know God’s forgiveness now and the indwelling of His Spirit now. In Christ, you and I will be glorious (He prepared us for glory).
This life is a preparation in advance for glory. It is not dependent on us but it is dependent on our Saviour.
Look at Romans 8: 28 – 30
Look at the chain of events God describes:
- God foreknew and God predestined (both of these happened before time)
- God called and God justified (in this life)
- God glorified (eternity)
I have met people in the last few days who are suffering and struggling. New Horizon is fantastic but it is not glory. How come Paul put the “glorified in the past tense if it has not already happened? This is not because it has already happened but because it is a certainty in the future. We will be glorious – the beauty of God’s holiness made manifest in us.
In the light of this truth, what should we focus on. So often we focus so much on this life that we forget that life after death even exists. I want to encourage each one of you tonight that as New Horizon draws to a close, will you look up from the pains and pleasures of life in the present? Will you look up from the plans and pressures of the coming months? Will you look up from the fears and fascinations concerning your long term future? I want you to go in your minds eye, all the way forward into eternity. We can do that because of the Holy Spirit, living in you and me. He is the hope of glory, the deposit guaranteeing what is to come. Having this hope of glory in the futrue has a huge impact on how we will live in the present.
The past does not define you
All of us have baggage from the past – things we regret, things we have done wrong, ways in which we have been hurt. The greatest thing is to let the Holy Spirit work in us so that we start defining us in the light of what we one day will be in the future not by what has happened in the past and not even in what is happening in the present. There will be trouble now but the Holy Spirit helps us to lift our eyes to look into all eternity.
Do not let your past define you! Don’t even define yourself by what you are in the present (you will either get too puffed up or get pulled down). Define yourself by the future. Who am I? I’m a heir of God; I’m a co-heir with Christ. That is what I’m being prepared for.
The present doesn’t defeat you
There is a huge tension between the now and the “not-yet”. Suffering now, glory later. This chapter is so full of the Holy Spirit but also full of groaning for a future free from struggle and suffering.
Recently two male presenters on Dutch TV volunteered to experience the pain of childbirth. As the programme started one of the men said, “According to women, childbirth is the worst pain there is. According to men, women exaggerate.” However, soon the two men were screaming in agony. One of the amazing things about women is that they are willing to put themselves through the pain of childbirth again and again because of the hope of a new child.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit brings a portion of the “not-yet” into the now. We cannot demand it but sometimes it happens (healing, breakthrough… etc.). These are first fruits. But more than holding on to the first fruits now, we need to hold on to the potential of the future.
The future does delight you
When we suffer, struggle and groan because of the present, the big temptation is to think that surely God does not love me, if He is allowing me to experience this situation but at the end of the chapter Paul writes – in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! Of course, Jesus loves us in the present but the key thing is that through His death on the cross, He loved us.
The God of all the universe is totally committed to you. That is why we can be convinced that nothing can separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our lord.
The Holy Spirit is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Have you ever heard it said that someone is so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly use. That is total rubbish. If we have a true hope of glory, that does not make us less useful in the present, it makes us far more useful. If we are confident that in the future God will give us glory, then in the present we will be more ready to give God glory.
For us, it is not cheap bribery because glory does not depend on our performance but when we are confident in our future eternal glory, then we will walk through life for the better because we are not chained from representing Jesus to the world by our past, we are not defeated in the present but instead we are delighted in the future
William Wilberforce wrote this in his prayer diary in his late 20s and it drove him to make a difference in the world:
“I resolve to endeavour henceforth to live more for the glory of God and the good of my fellow creatures, to live more by rule, as in the presence of Him by whom I shall finally be judged.”