Is Eternal Glory Inevitable for the Elect?

Posted: June 24, 2006 in Thoughts on Getting Ready for Christ's Return

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10 NKJV).

Paul suffered for the elect that they may obtain the salvation with eternal glory. In context, Paul is writing to the elect (chosen ones) who have already believed Jesus through the gospel. Paul is not suffering to share the gospel to unbelievers. He is working hard to bring believers to eternal glory. If the elect are already predestined to glory because they have been justified by faith (Rom. 8:29-30), why would Paul write this seemingly contradictory verse? One perspective of predestination tells us that Christians will make it to glory no matter how they live. Paul, writing to believers, does not see predestination this way.

Paul emphasizes that eternal glory is conditional when he wrote next, “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2:12). The two uses of if tell me that believers have something to gain through suffering for their faith, that is, through proving or justifying their faith. They also have something to lose if they deny the Lord in some way. They can gain a crown or forfeit one, gain eternal glory or not.

Glory means weight, implying such a substantial honor that it commands respect (to people) or reverence (to God). God reserves special honors, which will be acknowledged with crowns, for those who put in the hard work of serving Him faithfully.

Paul wrote a few verses earlier that one is not crowned unless one follows the rules (2:5). The soldier endures hardship; he does not entangle himself with this life so that he may please his leader (2:3-4). Clearly, eternal glory involves a standing before God based on dedicated, hard-working service from the heart. Now there’s a ground rule for receiving a crown!

I am inspired to rise up and serve the Lord, knowing that my labor will not be in vain, but Jesus will richly reward me for my work.

Living with the end in view means to prove your faith by your works.

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Comments
  1. Derek Kidder says:

    I, for one, totally agree with that viewpoint of Paul’s writings on the topic.

    It isn’t about “fire insurance” it is about “doing the work of the kingdom!”

    There are many who have no idea what it is to live by faith in a way that goes beyond what you will wear to your $70,000 a year job today. It is about knowing that “God will supply ALL your needs through His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.”

    So few ppl really understand what it is to suffer. When there is no money to pay the bills let alone the rent or other living payments. When they’ve lived through it and have come out the other side, they might understand what TRUE faith is all about.

    Derek

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