1 Thess 1:12 "...Calls you.. his.. glory"?

Discussion in 'Exegetical Forum' started by Stope, Jan 9, 2017.

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  1. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    I see that Paul told the Thessalonian believers that "God... calls [them] into his own kingdom and glory", I was curious in what sense he calls these believers to God's "glory"?

    [11] For you know how, like a father with his children, [12] we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
    -1Thessalonians 2:12​

    Also, in 1 Thessalonians, Paul admonished admonishes his readers to have increasing love for others to the end that the Lord may "establish [their] hearts blameless in holiness"... Aren't their hearts already blameless in holiness from the time they first believed?

    [11] Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, [12] and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, [13] so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
    -1 Thessalonians 3:11-13​
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    τὴν ἑαυτοῦ βασιλείαν καὶ δόξαν.
    The... glory (his, God's own)

    The Thessalonians had turned to God "from idols" (1:9) on account of the calling-ministry of Paul. Hence, it was a deliverance out of connection to this world, and its gods and kingdoms, and unto another kingdom; away from the glories of this world, and unto God's own glory that these believers were called.

    Because of this new identity, they were to live lives that conformed to, and were worthy of, their new identification.

    Rom.3:23, sinners fall short of the glory of God. They cannot attain to it, no matter what pious efforts they make, if any. This glory includes the glory that was given and intended for man to possess in creation, and further enhanced by practice and worship; such glory is God's gift.

    God's glory is also reference to the brightness of his presence, not simply in luminescent (sensed) quality--though God is light says the Scripture, 1Jn.1:5--but that "in him there is no darkness," meaning no sin, no defect, no impurity. In other words, there is gleaming perfection in his kingdom, in everything to do with him, for his glory resides there. It imparts its quality to that which is in his presence, including persons, who then reflect his glory.

    Of course, no evil can abide his presence. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. But we will see him, for we will be perfected in holiness. We will be like him, when we are raised in glory.

    Our full perfection has not been achieved, though in principle it is a done deal. In Christ, we are already perfect just as he is perfect. But in ourselves there is anticipation of the completion of our salvation in glorification. The end comes when Christ comes again, and the resurrection occurs. Paul prays in vv12-13 that God would fulfill his promise to his elect, to be faithful to complete the good work begun in them until the day of Christ Jesus, Php.1:6.

    There's no conflict between believing in the certainty and finality of the outworking of divine election, and praying for that outworking, being part of the means by which God likes to respond in blessing to his saints requests. He saved us, and is presently saving us, through his appointed means.

    There will be times when thinking in terms of the absolute acceptance of the believer before God is appropriately comforting. But most of the time, we're only too aware of how unholy is the heart before the Lord, how still filled with sin and unpleasantness it is, how unkind to our neighbor and proud and idolatrous we are. It is in those times we may take comfort that God is still at work in us, and hasn't given up.
  3. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Great stuff. Im very pleased that you took the time to respond. I especially found below's comment insightful:

    That said, Im still a little confused because when you say "This glory includes the glory that was given and intended for man to possess in creation", isnt this we are now talking of "Man's glory in God"? I can see that if we changed the passage from "...God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory." to "...God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory, speaking of this glory, that is really man's intended glory to posses that he lost at the fall. [I have added the italicized text]"?
  4. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    All man's glory is derivative. It is not original to him. But he has glory, "My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand," Job.29:20.

    That glory of God's which is his own in the most proper sense is never shared, Is.42:8, "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." cf. 48:11

    Whence man's glory, then? Ps.62:7, "In God is my salvation and my glory." Our Lord God is our glory. Ps.3:3, "But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." Man is the image and glory of God, 1Cor.11:7. This glory must be an expression of another sense from the unshared glory spoken of in Isaiah.

    In my first reply, I did not dwell too much on this glory which is given. I said our interpretation of the passage should include the thought that this glory-description of God is something FOR man, seeing he is being called INTO it. When the full gift of fellowship with God is considered, it would be an odd blessing indeed if the effect of that blessing was something like, "Look, but don't touch; nor will you be touched by this glory." Where in that is the intimacy that the language "called into" evokes?

    The bulk of my first reply focused on God as possessor and source of the glory called "his own." Obviously, it is not the unshared-in glory Isaiah mentions. We cannot be called INTO that glory without being destroyed. That would be the unmediated essence of divinity, Our God as Consuming Fire.

    Being called into the penumbra of the mediated glory, we end up reflecting it, after the manner Moses' face shone before the Israelites. Was it Moses' glory? In one sense, yes; it was his face that shone. But it's source was God; it was divine glory.

    Perhaps some meditation on all the above will prove I'm not trying to import extraneous ideas into the text of 1Ths.2:12. I'm just trying to accord the apostle the fullest expression his ideas are freighted with.
  5. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Ahhh a beautiful collection of truths that you shared here. Both insightful and encouraging. Thank you as always for taking the time.
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