W Threadgold, Purley
WE HAVE SEEN SOME OF THE PURPOSES of God for the Church in the present and we are now to consider some of the glories which await her at the consummation of the Father's counsels for His Son. It would be a good thing before going further to read through Paul's letter to the Ephesians, also Rev. 19. 1-10; 20. 9-22; 22. 5. We shall then be ready to consider two of the great purposes of God concerning the Church. The first is to glorify His Son by giving to Him a spotless Bride, one who will be suitable to Him and in every way fitted to be His companion throughout the coming ages. In our reading from Ephesians we will have seen that Christ is going to enter into an inheritance 'in the saints', 1. 18. In some marvellous way He, the all-glorious Lord, is going to be displayed and 'admired in all them that believe', 2 Thess. I. 10. From Ephesians 5 we learn that our Lord is even now preparing the Church for her high and holy destiny by sanctifying and cleansing her 'with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing'. It is possible that the 'perfect man' growing 'unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ', of Ephesians 4, refers to Christ and His Church viewed as body and head. The Church, the Bride of Christ, is to be perfected and glorified, and in Ephesians 2. 7 this gracious purpose is linked with the divine kindness. The kindness of God was shown to Mephibosheth by David when he brought him from the place of no pasture and seated him at the king's table. Thus has 'the kindness and love of God our Saviour' been manifested to us, and His kindness is to be eternally shown to those whom in His rich mercy He has quickened and saved: 'that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus'.
How and when will this great purpose be brought to fruition? At the 'glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ', Titus 2. 13. Like the Thessalonians we have 'turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven'. We are 'looking for that blessed hope', and it is abundantly clear from Scripture that the Lord Jesus will fulfil His purpose to come again and receive us unto Himself. Christians who have died will be raised in bodies incorruptible, and the living Christians will be changed, given bodies like unto His body of glory, and caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Then later He will 'appear in glory with all his saints'; the sufferings of Calvary will be answered by the glory of His coming. The passage in Revelation 21 is a most interesting and instructive study because it is the last passage in the Bible referring to the coming glory. In this chapter light and colour, precious metals and precious stones are all laid under contribution to bring home to our hearts the glories that are awaiting us in that day. Thus the coming of the Lord to receive us to Himself and His coming in glory and power are closely linked with the fulfilment of His promises to His Church, His Bride. Well might the apostle say: 'For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us', Rom. 8. 18.
In a closing word let us recall Ephesians 3. 10-11, which have been referred to in a previous article. These verses tell us that the manifold or many-coloured glories of God's wisdom are to be seen in the Church now. We have not to wait for the day of glory before the world sees in us those characteristics that show Him forth. May it be ours to live as men and women who are waiting for the Lord. In the words of the apostle John: 'And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure', 1 John 3. 3.