Called to Eternal Glory
September 18th, 1960 @ 10:50 AM
1 Peter 5:10-11
CALLED UNTO ETERNAL GLORY
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 5:10-11
9-18-60 10:50 a.m.
Now let us turn in our Bibles to 1 Peter, which is almost to the end of the Book, 1 Peter, chapter 5. In our preaching through the Bible, we left off last Sunday evening at the seventh verse. Tonight, I am going to preach on verses 8 and 9. I am going to preach on our adversary, the devil; "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil," [1 Peter 5:8], going to preach on that tonight, going to preach on Satan tonight. Now this morning, the pastor is preaching on verses 10 and 11, in 1 Peter 5:
Now the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
[1 Peter 5:10-11]
And the title of the sermon is Called Unto Eternal Glory.
Simon Peter, in this chapter, has laid upon the hearts of the brethren a great appeal and an earnest exhortation. And now, he turns from exhortation to prayer. "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His glory, eternal . . . make you perfect, stablish you, strengthen you, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" [1 Peter 5:10-11]. For you see, a true minister of God has a twofold responsibility. One, he is to represent God’s message, and he is to be God’s messenger to the people. As Cornelius said to this same Simon Peter in chapter 10 in the Book of Acts, "Now are we all gathered here before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of the Lord" [Acts 10:33]. That’s one thing the preacher ought to do, is to tell the people what God has to say. Is there a message from the Lord? What can save our souls from hell and our lives from eternal death and destruction? Is there a word from God? That’s the first assignment and the first commitment of the minister: he’s to bring God’s message to the people.
But when he’s done that, he’s only fulfilled half of his ministry; he ought to follow always his preaching by his supplication and his praying. He ought to bear up unto God the burden and the souls of his congregation. When he speaks in public for God to them, he ought to speak for them to God in secret. The high priest of the temple bore on his breast a plate on which he carried the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel [Exodus 28:15-21, 28-30]. So the true minister of God ought to bear upon his heart the burden, and the intercession, and the love, and the sympathy, and the care of his congregation, always. Preaching should always be accompanied by earnest prayer and appeal. So Simon Peter, as he closes this book, after he has earnestly exhorted his people in the name of God, closes his exhortation with a prayer: "Now the God of all grace": He is not the God of miserly tokens; but He is "the God of all grace," of abounding grace, of overflowing grace. He is the God of infinite and boundless and limitless supply. He is the God of convicting grace, of quickening grace, of supporting grace, of sustaining grace, of keeping grace, of illimitable grace; "the God of all grace" [1 Peter 5:10].
When we stand in the presence of the great King, our petitions ought to be large. When we ask, we ought largely, nobly, wonderfully, magnificently to ask; in keeping with the magnificence of God. The famous sermon of William Carey was entitled "Attempt Great Things for God, Expect Great Things from God." The great pastor of this church, Dr. Truett, had a saying that he repeated many times: "If God is your partner, make your plans great," the God of all grace; abounding, limitless supply, stored up for His people in His promises.
I read this week a story that I’d heard before about Alexander the Great. There was a courtier who had done a valiant and valorous and noble thing in behalf of Alexander. And after he had done it, Alexander said, "You may have what you ask. Ask." And he asked so large and so much that the treasurer refused to pay him until first he’d asked the monarch himself about the request. And when the treasurer brought the request the courtier had made to Alexander, Alexander smiled and said, "It is a large request; but it’s not too large for Alexander to give. I admire him," said the great monarch, "for his faith in me. Give him what he asks." Don’t you think God is complimented by asking at His hands a tremendous thing? something great, something wonderful, something marvelous, something big, something magnificent, something in keeping with the marvelous riches of His glory in Christ Jesus; the God of all grace.
He is not a fountain shut up that it cannot flow, sealed waters that are never imparted. Ask, ask greatly, ask nobly, ask largely: O God, that the bush may burn unconsumed [Exodus 3:1-2]; O Lord, that the barrel of meal may not waste, or the cruse of oil may not fail; O God [1 Kings 17:9-16] . . . and then make it big for Him. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit" [John 15:8] . . . "Herein are ye My disciples" [John 15:8]. Faithful to God because He is faithful to us.
"The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory" [1 Peter 5:10], the Lord hath called us to many things. The Lord hath called us to the house of conviction; and there we’re made to feel the unworthiness of our souls and the sin and the guilt of our lives. Then the Lord hath called us to Calvary’s mount; and there we see lifted between the earth and the sky our bleeding Savior. And there are we taught that our souls are cleansed, and our lives are cleaned, and our spirits are washed in the blood of the Lamb. Then the Lord calls us to places of service. And there is a kingdom enterprise in our hands, and here is an assignment. And then finally and someday, the Lord calls us, yes, He calls us to the waters of the cold Jordan.
When I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me;
When my life becomes a burden,
And I’m nearing chilly Jordan,
O Thou "Lily of the Valley,"
Stand by me.
["Stand by Me"; Charles A. Tindley]
He calls us to the crossing of that great divide. But that’s not it; that’s not the ultimate. That’s not our destiny. "For the God of all grace hath called us to eternal glory" [1 Peter 5:10]. He has called us to the heavenly city, to the golden streets, to the pearly gates, to the songs of the redeemed, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to an innumerable company of angels, to those whose names are written in heaven, to the New Jerusalem, and to the blood of the covenant that speaketh better things than that of Abel [Hebrews 12:22-24], called to eternal glory.
Yesterday, I drove up to a light, and while I was waiting there for the light to change, a big truck passed by going this way. And as I watched the truck go by, on it were five concrete cryptoriums; three on the bed of the truck and then two on the three below. And as I watched it go down the street, I thought of my text for this morning. To what hath God called us; to those cryptoriums? Five of them, for five of us somewhere; is that our end and our destiny? Is that why God hath made us and created us? Is that why God hath called us and set in our hearts a hope, and a longing, and a vision, and a desire, and a prayer that someday we might see His face and live in His presence? Is this the end? "Called us to glory" [1 Peter 5:10], I thought glory belonged to God alone; but the Scriptures say, "glory, glory for us, called us," worms of the dust as we are "to eternal glory."
Now just what is that? Well, you can’t describe it, you can’t say it; language is not able to bear the burden of the weight of that eternal glory. The apostle Paul says in the twelfth chapter of the second Corinthian letter, that he was caught up, he was caught up into the third heaven, and there did he see things glorious; and he says, "It is not permitted for a man to say what I looked upon" [2 Corinthians 12:2-4]. Even Paul himself staggered at the impossible magnitude of describing what he saw in glory.
Upon an occasion in the thirty-third chapter of the Book of Exodus, Moses said to Jehovah, "Let me see Thy glory. And God put Moses in the cleft of the rock, and covered him with His hand; and He caused all of His glory to pass by. Then after it passed by, He took His hand away from the cleft of the rock," and the Book says, "And Moses saw the afterglow of the glory of God" for to look upon God in His glory, unveiled, in His fullness, in His boundless abundance, is more than a man could look upon, and live. So He put him in the cleft of the rock, and hid him there with His hand; and then Moses saw the afterglow of the glory of God [Exodus 33:18-23]. How could I describe it? I haven’t language, nor could I learn poetry, nor could we sing a song to describe, "God hath called us to the glory of God" [1 Peter 5:10].
As it is written, "Ear hath not heard, eye hath not seen, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things God hath prepared for them that love Him" [1 Corinthians 2:9]. Eye hath not seen. I have seen many wonderful things. We have seen sunrises, and sunsets, and rainbows, and Alpine glories, and ocean marvels; and the memory of them abides in our hearts as long as life doth last, the things beautiful glorious that our eyes have seen. Our ears have heard many wonderful things: symphonies, glorious music that thrills the soul and the heart. And what hath mind and heart of man imagined? Those fanciful flights of imagination, where we revel among the islands of silver and climb up mountains of gold; all of these things that a boy thinks of, that a girl thinks of, that even in maturity we dream about, visions of rapture and glory. I took out of James Russell Lowell, James Russell Lowell, one of these beautiful things:
When I was a beggarly boy,
And lived in a cellar damp,
I had not a friend nor a toy,
But I had Aladdin’s lamp.
When I could not sleep for cold,
I had fire enough in my brain,
And builded with roofs of gold,
My beautiful castles in Spain!
Since then I’ve toiled day and night,
I have money and power good store,
But I’d give all my lamps silver bright
For the one that is mine no more.
Take, Fortune, whatever you choose,
You gave and may snatch away again,
I have nothing ‘twould pain me to lose,
For I own no more castles in Spain!
["Aladdin"; by James Russell Lowell]
Well, that’s life. The things we dream of, and the things we hope for, and the fanciful visions that thrill our hearts in imagination, they are as unestablished and are as intangible and evanescent as the morning cloud and the morning dew. And we’re left with the cold stark facts of life, dreary and cold and dead.
Yes. No! No! God hath prepared, God hath prepared what imagination could ever think of, what eye has ever seen, what ear has ever heard! God hath prepared for His people beyond what a man has ever imagined in his heart. Why, these dreams we have of glory, glory, glory; God says we haven’t even begun to imagine, to delineate, to outline, to think of, all that He hath in store for those who love Him. But, He says, "God hath revealed unto us by His Spirit," now that "them" is in the italics in your King James Version; it doesn’t say "them" all of them. "God hath revealed unto us by His Spirit" [1 Corinthians 2:10], and we know some of them. What God means in writing that verse is this: that heaven is not altogether an unknown country, and the glories that lie beyond are not altogether strange and unfamiliar and far away. But the Spirit hath revealed some of them at least to us [1 Corinthians 2:10], and we can feel them now, and we can know them now, and we can enjoy them now, and we can be assured of them all. So Simon Peter, in his text, says, "God hath called us unto eternal glory," and then, against a background, he exhibits four precious jewels of that eternal glory [1 Peter 5:10].
Now I call it here a black background. Every time a salesman of gem and of diamond will present his wares, will present his glories, his beauties, he’ll always do it on a black velvet. And against the black mat, the background so dark, his jewels will sparkle and shine, and flash back iridescent glory and brightness and light. All right, always in life there is that black background: "To eternal glory, after that ye have suffered a while" [1 Peter 5:10]. We’re born unto suffering and sorrow as the sparks fly upward. "Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble" [Job 14:1]; "after that ye have suffered a while" [1 Peter 5:10]. And against that background of the darkness, and the sufferings, and the trials, and the sorrows of our life, are these four jewels of glory. Even as Paul says, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory, glory, glory which shall be revealed in us" [Romans 8:18], or as he says again in the second Corinthian letter, "For our light affliction," he calls all the sorrows of this life "a light affliction," "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, weight of glory" [2 Corinthians 4:17]. So he has against the black back drop the sorrows of our life, and the disappointments of our life, when you’ve suffered a while; then he has four of those glorious jewels. And they are: "God make you perfect, God establish you, God strengthen you, God settle you" [1 Peter 5:10].
Now let’s take those four, in the little brief moment that remains, then I must quit. Katartizō, katartizō, call you to eternal glory; after that ye have suffered a while, make you katartizo [1 Peter 5:10]. Well, what a word! You won’t find that much. Simon Peter was a fisherman – and there’s one other place where you’ll find that katartizō – Simon Peter was a fisherman, and in the fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew, when our Lord was passing by, He saw some men. There was James and his brother John, there was Andrew and his brother Peter, and there they were, katartizō, katartizō They were mending their nets – they’d been worn out with use, and they’d been dragged over jagged places in the sea – and they were mending their nets [Matthew 4:18-21]. And the old fisherman recalling the days of Galilee, he makes that word first, katartizō, "mending" [1 Peter 5:10]. The eternal glory, we’re going to be mended. Why, bless His name, mended. When Adam, the psalmist says, "made just a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory, and dominion, and power" [Psalm 8:4-6], he was the monarch truly of all that he surveyed [Psalms 8:6-8]. And then with him, all of us fell into that disrepute. And all of us fell into those imperfections [1 Corinthians 15:22]. But bless you, remember, some of these days God shall give us back and restore all that we have lost in Adam and in sin and in death [Ephesians 5:27]; we’re going to be mended, and we’re going to be perfected [1 Peter 5:10]. That’s the way it’s translated here. We’re going to be made in every part, the whole man, all together, without fault and without blemish – our spirits now when we’re regenerated [Titus 3:5]; and our bodies someday in the great resurrection. As the great preacher Paul said, "It is sown in corruption," that’s right; "but it shall be raised in incorruption [1 Corinthians 15:42]. It is sown in dishonor," that’s right; "it shall be raised in glory, glory",called unto eternal glory [1 Corinthians 15:43]. "It is sown in weakness; it shall be raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it shall be raised a spiritual body" [1 Corinthians 15:44]. We’re going to be perfected; we’re going to be mended.
There are some of us who walk around with sightless eyes, and they shall see. And there are some of us who go on crutches; you don’t take any crutches to glory. There’s no staff to lean upon in glory. Our mutes are going to be able to speak, and our deaf are going to be able to hear, and our old are going to be young again, glory, glory, glory; katartizō, God’s going to mend us, He is going to perfect us. There’s nobody in divine presence today but feels the weakness of his soul and his life. There’s a thousand things in which you’re disappointed in yourself; not that others only are disappointed in you. There are a thousand things you wish you could do and you can’t. And there are a thousand imperfections that crowd upon us every day. He shall mend us; He shall perfect us, katartizÃ³ [1 Peter 5:10]. That’s going to be the first jewel in glory: we shall be without spot and without blemish, in body and in soul, perfect like our blessed Lord.
Then he says, "stērizō, stērizō." Stērizō means "to set firmly" [1 Peter 5:10]. Now what Simon Peter means by that is this: all of the glory that we know in this world is transitory and temporal, it is not established. Take in his day when those Roman soldiers came back from a battle, and the Roman Senate voted them a triumph, and they went through the streets of the Eternal City in glory, glory, glory, heroes, they were crowned with laurel; heaped upon them was the spoil of the battle. But it soon faded away; just for a moment. Like the rainbow that arches across the sky, just for a moment the beauty of its hues; it’s not a established, it’s just a tapestry of sunbeams and falling passing raindrops. And soon the sky is cloudy again, and the whole earth has lost the beauty and the glory of the divine colors. Why man, if to be a Christian is no more than to be like the flower of the field, God hasn’t established us. If to be a blood-bought son of heaven and a joint-heir with Christ is nothing more than to be like the grass that is poured into the oven, like the smoke that the wind out of the chimney blows away, like the leaves that are now falling from the trees in the autumn, if God doesn’t establish us, all of our hopes and our prayers and our visions turn to emptiness, and vacuity, and vanity, and futility. But our second jewel here is "to set firmly, stÃ©rizÃ³". Why man, God doesn’t write our names in the sand, but on the eternal Rock; and He sets us, He firmly establishes us forever and forever, the eternal glory [1 Peter 5:10].
This third word here, "strengthen, sthenoō, to strengthen" [1 Peter 5:10], what he means by that is, God, as Romans says, and Paul says in the ninth chapter of Romans, "God is preparing His vessels for glory" [Romans 9:23]. And God strengthens us [1 Peter 5:10]. Paul one time said, "We all, as with open face beholding in a glass, in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image as from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" [2 Corinthians 3:18]. All of these things that come to us in life, they are to strengthen us, to build us up into the likeness of the image of the glory of Christ; as Paul says in the first chapter of the Colossian letter, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" [Colossians 1:27]. What he means by that and what Simon Peter is saying here is this: do you want to see an exhibit of the love of God? Don’t look at a star, don’t look at an ocean, don’t look at a street made out of gold, don’t look at a city made whose walls are jasper and whose turrets are made out of gems; look at a fallen man that Christ has redeemed: there you will see God’s love and God’s mercy, and God’s forgiveness, and God’s goodness, and God’s abounding grace. If you want to see what God is and what God can do, look at a man made in the image of the Lord with that image defaced, and then watch God as in His grace and His mercy; He builds the man back into the glorious image of his primeval Maker [Genesis 1:26-27]. If an angel were to say in heaven, "What is God’s forgiveness, and what do you mean by God’s grace and God’s mercy?" I can hear another angel reply, "You go over there and you ask one of those men who’ve been redeemed, ask him." That’s what God is doing in us, in strengthening us [1 Peter 5:10]; in all of these ways, for us to be like the Lord Himself in glory, in glory.
Conformable to the image of our Lord, and then this last: themelioō, what is that, themelioō? "To lay a foundation, to found"; it is translated here "to settle, to settle you" [1 Peter 5:10]. All right, he is referring to the foundation upon which God’s children rest as they are prepared for glory. "Thou shalt guide me with Thine counsel, and afterward receive me to glory" [Psalm 73:24], David here in the psalm, his mind goes back, and he uses the language of the translation of Enoch [Genesis 5:24], not that he didn’t expect to die, but he did expect someday to be received up into glory [Psalm 73:24]. At the eight-fifteen service we read this Psalm: "For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory" [Psalm 84:11]. In the incomparable passage in the eighth of Romans, These are strung together like pearls; "Whom He did foreknow, He did predestinate . . . whom He did predestinate, them He called; whom He called, He justified; and whom He justified, He glorified" [Romans 8:29-30]. Those are set by the decree, irrevocable and forever of God. "Those He did foreknow, He predestinated . . . those He predestinated, He called; those He called, He justified; and those He justified, He also shall glorify!" [Romans 8:29-30]. It is as certain as the throne of God itself. "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee." That’s the next verse in that Psalm [73:25]. The glory, glory, glory that God hath predestinated us, hath called us, hath justified us for, is to look upon, to enjoy the presence of God Himself.
The stars shine over the land, the stars shine over the sea.
The stars look down on you, the stars look down on me.
The stars have shined a million years, a million years and a day;
But the Lord and we shall live and love, when the stars have faded away.
[adapted from "Forever"; Author Unknown]
Called to glory, our destiny is glory, our foreordination is glory. Even as Paul said, in 2 Timothy 2:10, "He hath wrought for us our great salvation with glory in Christ Jesus," and the two are together, always together. It is glory in God, it is glory in Jesus. It is glory beyond death, "Called us to an eternal glory" [1 Peter 5:10].
We must close. And while we sing our hymn, somebody you, giving his heart in trust to the Lord; somebody you coming into the fellowship of His church; in the great throng in this balcony round, on this lower floor, anywhere, somebody you, would you come and stand by me? On the first note of the first stanza, down one of these stairways, or into the aisle on this lower floor, while we make appeal, would you make it now? While we stand and while we sing.
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 5:10-11
A. Peter turns from exhortation to prayer
1. Ought always to be this way(Acts 20:36)
B. True minister of God to execute two offices for the people
1. Bring God’s message to them(Acts 10:33)
2. Bear up the people before the throne of grace in intercessory prayer
II. "The God of all grace"
A. Not the God of little grace, miserly token grace, but of all grace
B. We cannot come too often, or ask too much
1. William Carey’s sermon, "Expect Great Things from God, Attempt Great Things for God"
2. Truett – "If God be your partner, make your plans great."
3. Courtier in kingdom of Alexander the Great
C. Ask greatly, nobly, largely(John 15:8)
III. "Called unto eternal glory"
A. Called us to the house of conviction
B. Called to Calvary’s mount
C. Called to service
D. Called to the waters of the Jordan
E. Called us to the heavenly city, to eternal glory (Hebrews 12:22-24)
F. It is beyond what can describe(2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Exodus 33:18-23,1 Corinthians 2:9)
1. Our eyes and ears have seen and heard many wonderful things – but God has prepared what imagination could never think of
a. James Russell Lowell’s "Aladdin"
IV. God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10)
A. Four jewels against a black background(1 Peter 5:10, Job 14:1, Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 4:17)
1. Katartizo – "to mend, repair"(Matthew 4:21, Psalm 8:4-6, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
2. Sterizo – "to fix, set firmly, establish"
3. Sthenoo – "to strengthen, to enable"(Romans 9:23, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 1:27, Genesis 1:26-27)
4. Themelioo – "to lay a foundation"(Psalm 73:24, 84:11, 25, Romans 8:29-30, 2 Timothy 2:10)