Christ Glorified in His Saints
April 27th, 1958 @ 7:30 PM
CHRIST GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Thessalonians 1:1-10
4-27-58 7:30 p.m.
Now let’s turn to the second Thessalonian letter – all of us. The second Thessalonian letter and let’s read that first chapter. Second Thessalonians – almost to the back of your Bible – Second Thessalonians. We’re going to read the first chapter. And share your Bible with a neighbor who might not have remembered to bring it. Second Thessalonians. All have it? Now let’s read the first chapter together – Second Thessalonians:
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth,
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure,
Whichis a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer;
Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you,
And to you who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power,
When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that Day.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
[2 Thessalonians 1:1-12]
I am to speak tonight on the subject which is the text: Christ glorified in His saints and admired in all them that believe [2 Thessalonians 1:10]. It is in the heart of this apocalyptic discourse Paul is saying to the persecuted, troubled, suffering Christian people in Thessalonica:
God will recompense tribulation to them that trouble you,
And you who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power,
When He shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe . . . in that Day.
[2 Thessalonians 1:6-10]
What a difference between the first appearing of our Lord in the days of His flesh [Luke 2:1-7] and this second appearing in flamingfire and judgment of God when He descends in the glory of the Father with all of His holy angels "to be admired in them that believe" and "to be glorified in His saints" [2 Thessalonians 1:10].
When He was first here, He was of no repute – scorned and despised [Isaiah 53:2]. Herod Antipas held Him in contumely and scornful indifference [Luke 23:11]. But when He shall come back to earth again, what a tremendous difference!
This thing brings terror to a man that is not a Christian – if he’s not prepared, if he hasn’t given his heart to Jesus – when He "shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God" [2 Thessalonians 1:7-8]. No wonder lost people and ungodly people don’t like to hear it mentioned, don’t like to hear the subject discussed or referred to, for that day is an awful day for them. Their lives are in this world. That’s the end of the world. Their lives are consumed in pleasure or the vanities of this existence; and when God comes in Christ, all of that turns to smoke, to ashes, to dust. And not only that, but they face a retribution, a vengeance, from God – an awful judgment.
But do you notice when Paul describes that, he does this description of the destruction of the unbeliever by incidental reference? That’s not why Christ comes. That has to be done – the destruction of the wicked, the damnation of those who refuse the mercies of God – but the great thing for which Christ comes is "when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe" [2 Thessalonians 1:10]. The damnation of the wicked, the destruction of the violent, the judgment of those who refuse Christ: this is not the thing in which His Spirit delights that makes God unashamed and proud and happy and glad [Ezekiel 33:11; Luke 9:54-56; 2 Peter 3:9]. That is – by the way, it is just a necessity that God is thrown into.Could I illustrate it?
Right down here on this corner at St. Paul and Bryan, they’re building a Hartford Insurance Company building right down here. And there was an old building there with a liquor store in the corner, and they had upstairs some kind of a tenth-rate or fiftieth-rate flophouse or hotel. I don’t know what it was. I never did have enough nerve to go up there to find out. Well, anyway, that old thing was down there on the corner. Now, the great purpose of these men who are working there is not to destroy that old liquor joint and that old flophouse and tear that thing down, but their great purpose is to erect there a beautiful building that shall tower and be a glory and an honor to this city.
That’s the way it is with the coming of Christ. When our Lord comes, the great purpose of His coming is for exaltation, and glory, and light, and ecstasy, and gladness, and happiness, and, incidentally, to build a new world and to bring in the kingdom. To bring to us the city of God, He has to destroy the wicked with the fury of His countenance and the burning of His presence.
So when we see the great thing Jesus is coming for, that’s going to be our subject.When you preach on hell, it’s because you have to. When you speak of the damned, it’s just to warn. God doesn’t exult in the death of those who refuse Christ. Neither do we. But when He comes, those things are of necessity. They have to be done. This world has to be rid of its unbelief and its unrighteousness. But the great purpose of His coming when He comes, He is going to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe [2 Thessalonians 1:10].
Now my text – glorious one – has two parts in it. When He comes to be endoxsazō, doxa: you have that word doxa, the "Doxology." "Let’s stand and sing,"we say, "the ‘Doxology.’" That is, we’re going to stand and sing a praise to Jesus – doxa. Doxsazō is to praise. Endoxa: they just stuck an en on it. Endoxa: "when He shall come to be glorified in His saints" [2 Thessalonians 1:10]. All right, that’s the first part of my message: when He comes to be glorified in His saints, to be praised in His saints – doxa: "esteem, praise, acceptance, renown" – all of those things. You can multiply those adjectives indefinitely that shall characterize the presence and the appearing of our Lord.
This is now a time and a day of preparation. We live in a time of waiting. Like Esther was prepared before she was presented to King Ahasuerus [Esther 2:8-17], so the bride of Christ is being prepared for the great nuptial day of the Lord [2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:7-9]. We are now trimming our lamps [Matthew 25:1-13]. The bridegroom tarries, and the virgins are waiting, and our lamps are being trimmed. But in that day, in this day, "when He shall come to be glorified in His saints" [2 Thessalonians 1:10], then the day of preparation and waiting and lamp trimming is over,and there is our Lord Himself.
We glorify Jesus now, somewhat, in a feeble, faulty, stammering sort of way. We sing the praises of Jesus now, but you it’s not singing now like you going to some of these days. And we tell them the glad story of Christ but not like we’re going to tell it some of these days. We glorify the Lord now in our faith, in our trust. We glorify Him in our life and in our devotion, but oh, it is so feeble. It is so stammering. It is so full of humanity.
But some of these days, we shall glorify Jesus, not so much in what we do as in what we are, what we have become. Jesus shall be glorified not in what His saints are singing or what His saints are doing but in what His saints are: glorified in His saints "when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, in all them that believe." That’s how we get to glory. That’s how we get to heaven is by trusting Jesus: "because our testimony among you was believed" [2 Thessalonians 1:10]. Isn’t that a marvelous thing that such could come from a man’s trust, from his faith?
"For our testimony among you was believed" [2 Thessalonians 1:10]. They came preaching about Jesus, God manifest in the flesh, and they believed it. And those preachers came declaring that Jesus died for their sins according to the Scriptures, and those Thessalonians believed it. And they preached that Jesus rose again from the dead and He’s in heaven today, and they believed it. And Paul preached to them that in triumph and in power, the Lord is coming back again, and they believed it. And Paul says it is in that faith and in that belief that some of these days, Christ is going to be glorified in His saints: "because our testimony among you was believed" [2 Thessalonians 1:10]. All right, that’s the first part of it.
Now, the second part: "And to be admired in all them that believe" [2 Thessalonians 1:10]. That old English word "admire" is just exactly as it is here in the Greek, but today "admire" has come to mean, oh, not an altogether different thing, but not like – not like Paul wrote it there. The Greek word there is thaumazō, and the best English word that you have to translate thaumazō is "to wonder, to be amazed, to be awestruck." He is coming to be glorified in His saints and to be wondered at in all them that believe.
What Paul is saying there is that when Jesus comes back to this earth again, He’s going to do a work that will astound the whole creation: an amazing, awestruck thing! We had thought He was going to do great things. We had supposed that He would do marvelous things, but, oh, who would ever have thought that Jesus would do such deeds of grace as this – to be wondered at, to be amazed at, to be awestruck – thaumazō.
The angels shall wonder at Him when He comes in His glory. The angels wondered at Him when He created the earth and the planets and the sun and the stars, and I suppose they followed Jesus around to see what glorious thing He’d do next. And the angels marveled at Him, wondered at Him, awestruck at what the great Creator of this universe was doing. And I suppose the angels wondered at Him when He descended from heaven to earth and became a babe in a manger. They wondered at Him. But say, brother, that’s no wonder at all compared to the amazement to the angels when He shall come in the glory of His power to be glorified in His saints.The angels are going to be amazed at the grace and mercy of God found in His children, these blood-bought saints of Jesus [1 Peter 1:10-12]. The angels are going to look at them in amazement and in wonder when Jesus is glorified in His children – you and all of His people!
And Satan and the diabolical spirits and ungodly men are going to be amazed at Jesus as He is glorified in His children. There will be an ungodly man standing there who sold the poor for a pair of shoes. There will be those ungodly tyrants who took God’s Christians and fed them to the lions, and burned them at the stake, and put them in boiling cauldrons of oil. There’ll be ungodly men who scoffed at the whole idea of salvation by grace and by faith in Jesus Christ, and they’regoing to stand there and see these poor dupes – these insignificant, feeble trash that they burned like chaff.
They’re going to be amazed when they see them kings and priests in the presence of God our Father.
And diabolical spirits, who all their lives made pawns of them, are going to be amazed at these feeble Christians who are now reigning with Christ in glory and in power [Revelation 5:10, 20:6], lambs that Jesus plucked from the very jaws of the lion. And Satan, when he sees that great throng, is going to be amazed at what Jesus has done. Not a lamb is lost, not a sheep for whom He died [John 6:39], not a single one in the whole fold of God, not a soldier fallen in the day of battle – all of them redeemed and all of them saved. And Satan and his ungodly hosts shall sink into hell and into torment [Revelation 20:10] as the angels sing and the saints sing, "Hallelujah, the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, and the accuser of our brethren is cast down into hell" [Revelation 12:10]. What a day when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them, to be wondered at in all them that believe [2 Thessalonians 1:10].
Now, we’ll be there, and Paul is speaking here about us. When He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be wondered at in all them that believe: He’s got to turn to that. It isn’t just wondering at Him alone. It’s wondering at Him in us. So let’s take it just like Paul says – wondering at Jesus in us. Bless your heart, in that day, we are going to be transformed, translated, immortalized, glorified, and we shall be amazed [1 Corinthians 15:51-54]. We shall wonder at what has happened to us, to us – what God hath wrought in us.
This shriveled seed – if I die – that’s in the ground and buried in the heart of the earth shall be raised and shall flower gloriously unto God: sown in weakness, raised in power; sown in incorruption, raised – sown in corruption, raised in incorruption [1 Corinthians 15:35-40, 42-44]. Our Head rose from the dead [1 Corinthians 15:20; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18], then His body must rise from the dead, and that body is we [Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27, 15:22-23].
We shall be amazed in ourselves. Why, I’ll have my new body [1 Corinthians 15:50-54]. Think of it! And I’ll look at myself and look at the Lord and wonder at what God hath done in me. I am like a half-finished vessel on a potter’s wheel now; but then, wholly complete and perfect, all my faculties regenerated and redeemed – my mind, and my heart, and my soul, and the house I live in – to wonder at what God in Christ has done in me. And then the inevitable thing that follows: wondering at what Jesus has done in you, in you.
I’ll look at myself, and it’ll be a marvelous thing I see that Jesus has done in me. Then I’ll lift up my eyes and I’ll look at you, and it will be a marvelous thing to look at – what I see that God has done in you. Some of you ugly, ugly, ugly critters, you will be beautiful! And I’ll be amazed; I’llwonder at it. I’llwonder at it. And some of you dumb ones, you’llbe smart! And some of you ignorant ones, you’llknow all about God and all about everything! And you poor ones will be rich. And I’ll be glad. I won’t envy anybody. I’ll be looking at you, dressed in beautiful white robes, sparkling like the dazzling sun, and there won’t be any envy and there won’t be any jealousy. I’ll see what God’s done in you, and I’ll be glad. And I’ll see what God’s done in you, and I’ll be glad. And I’ll see what God’s done with all of His children, and I’ll be glad. What a day! What a prospect!
There’s that old drunkard over there. I knew him when he was down in the gutter. Look at him now! He’s a saint of God. There’s an old blasphemer over there. My soul, look at him now. He’s a loving disciple of Jesus. There’s that old persecutor there breathing out threatening and slaughter. Man, he turned into a preacher of the everlasting gospel of the Son of God. And there’s that old, hard, stiff-necked, stubborn, incorrigible unbeliever. He has a heart as soft as the mellow light of the sun. What a change. What a change. These all hell-bound sinners, dead in trespasses and in sins [Ephesians 2:1], now they’ve been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God. And we will wonder at one another what God has done for you "when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be wondered at in all them that believe" [2 Thessalonians 1:10].
And we will wonder how Jesus has brought us all of the way and has delivered us safely in that great day. Oh, we had a faith that was feeble, but He sustained us. We had feet that were so prone to wander away, but He kept us. We had hearts that were so cold and dull and – and hidden against Him and closed against Him – and He opened our hearts. That He led us – and say, there’s a crowd there that He led that I think will wonder at Him most of all: these are they, who through the rack, and through the fire, and through the stake, and through the cross, and through dungeons and imprisonments: the great martyrs of Jesus. They shall look and wonder at all-sufficient grace that carried them through.
I saw the martyr at the stake,
The flames could not his courage shake,
Nor death his soul appall.
I asked him whence his strength was given.
He looked triumphantly to Heav’n,
And said, "Christ is all."
["Christ is All," by W.A. Williams, c. 1873].
"When He comes to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired" – to be wondered at – "in all them that believe" [2 Thessalonians 1:10]. The grace God gives us for any trial and any tribulation and any sorrow and any death.
Now, one other little word there: "When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be wondered at in all them that believe" [2 Thessalonians 1:10] – "in all them that believe. "Brother, we all going to make it. We all going to be there – all of us: "in all them that believe."
Oh, I know a lot of times God’s children are out there in a bypath. I know lots of times God’s sainted ones are over here doing service in the devil’s workshop. I know. Oh, lots of times those that belong to Jesus are out there in the wrong crowd going the wrong way, but they know it; and they’re not happy, and they’re miserable – wish they’d never been born. They’re tired and weary. They all come back – don’t you worry: "to be admired, to be glorified, to be wondered at in all them that believe" [2 Thessalonians 1:10]. They’ll be back. Just like sheep gone astray, theybe back. The Shepherd will bring them back. That’s why He’s called the Good Shepherd [John 10:14]. Of these that the Father gave Him, He has lost not one [John 6:39]. Not one. And He’ll not lose you.
Stubborn heart, incorrigible spirit, wayward child, you belong to Jesus. You’ll be back. You’ll be coming back. Your heart’s there; it’s not out there. Your life is hid with Christ in God [Colossians 3:10]. It’snot in the world. You’ll be back "when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be wondered at in all them that believe" [2 Thessalonians 1:10].
Now, that’s why we’re going to wonder. What an amazing thing all of us got there – all of us. All of us who have trusted in Jesus, we made it. Some on a plank, some on a life raft, some by swimming, but they all made it. Everyone like they reckoned: the twenty-seventh chapter of the Book of Acts, God gave Paul every one of the souls on the ship [Acts 27:23-24], and they all made it [Acts 27:42-44]. That’s the way it’s going to be with us:
Some through the fire, some through the flood,
Some through deep waters, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrows, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.
[From "God Leads His Dear Children Along," by George A. Young, 1903]
We’ll all make it, everyone of us. We’ll all be there:
And I saw a great multitude that no man could number, out of every tribe, and tongue, and nation under the sun.
[from Revelation 7:9]
And the [elder] said unto me, "Who are these . . . and whence came they?"
And I said, "Lord, I don’t know. I never saw such a throng, not in my life. I never saw such a vast host" . . . And the angel replied unto me, and he said, "These are they who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
[from Revelation 7:13-14]
"When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be wondered at in all them that believe" [2 Thessalonians 1:10]: God’s children gathered home.
Are you in that number? Are you? Are you walking with the children of the Lord? Are you in the glory way? Are you on the glory road? Is your faith in Him? Are you ready when He comes? Have you given your life to Jesus? Do you trust Him as your Savior?
Tonight, while we sing this appeal, if you’ve never given your heart to Christ, would you come and stand by me? If you’d put your life with us in the church, in the great balcony around, would you come down these stairwells and stand by me? Should you give your life in a new way to Jesus, would you come and give me your hand? As the Spirit shall make appeal and God shall open the door, would you walk in it? "Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart" [Hebrews 3:7-8]. "Behold, now, is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation" [2 Corinthians 6:2]. While we sing this song, coming by faith – coming to put your life in the church or coming in answer to a call of Jesus to give Him your life in a special way – would you turn? Would you come while we stand and while we sing?
GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS
What a difference between first and second comings of Christ
When He comes in His glory at the same time He comes in flaming fire taking
vengeance (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)
Destruction of the unbeliever not the main object for which He comes
the old building and liquor store at St. Paul and Bryan
parts to the text(2 Thessalonians 1:10)
– "to be glorified in"
– "to wonder, to admire"
II. Endoxa – glorified in His
These are days of preparation
Like Esther was prepared to be presented to Ahasuerus, so the bride of Christ
is being prepared
The virgins waiting for the bridegroom, trimming our lamps
We endeavor to glorify Him now; but then Jesus shall be glorified not in what
we do, but in what we have become
The destiny of believers
1. Because testimony
was believed (2 Thessalonians 1:10)
III. Thaumazo – admired, wondered
at, in all them that believe
angels to be amazed
his defeated legions and ungodly men to be amazed
Wonder at the change in ourselves
Wonder at the change in others
that Jesus has brought us all the way and delivered us safely
Wonder in all that believe – all of us will be there
a. Jesus will not come
until the last one is in the fold (John 10:14)
b. We will all make it (Revelation 7:9-14)