2 Thessalonians 1:10
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints…
There be the two halves — the aspect of that day to those to whom it is the revelation of a stranger, and the aspect of that day to those to whom it is the glorifying of Him who is their life.
I. The remarkable words which I have taken for my text suggest to us, first of all, some thoughts about that striking expression that CHRIST IS GLORIFIED IN THE MEN WHO ARE GLORIFIED IN CHRIST. IF YOU look on a couple of verses you will find that the apostle returns to this thought and expresses in the clearest fashion the reciprocal character of that "glorifying" of which he has been speaking. "The name of our Lord Jesus Christ," says he, "may be glorified in you, and ye in Him." So, then, glorifying has a double process involved. It means either "to make glorious," or "to manifest as being glorious." And men are glorified in the former sense in Christ, that Christ in them may, in the latter sense, be glorified. He makes them glorious by imparting to them of the lustrous light and flashing beauty of His own perfect character, in order that that light, received into their natures, and streaming out at last conspicuously manifest from their redeemed perfectness, may redound to the praise and the honour, before a whole universe, of Him who has thus endued their weakness with His own strength, and transmitted their corruptibility into His own immortality.
1. The artist is known by his work. You stand in front of some great picture, or you listen to some great symphony, or you read some great book, and you say, "This is the glory of Raffaelle, Beethoven, Shakespeare." Christ points to His saints, and He says, "Behold My handiwork! Ye are My witnesses. This is what I can do."
2. But the relation between Christ and His saints is far deeper and more intimate than simply the relation between the artist and his work, for all the flashing light of moral beauty, of intellectual perfectness which Christian men can hope to receive in the future is but the light of the Christ that dwells in them, "and of whose fulness all they have received." Like some poor vapour, in itself white and colourless, which lies in the eastern sky there, and as the sun rises is flushed up into a miracle of rosy beauty, because it has caught the light amongst its flaming threads and vaporous substance, so we, in ourselves pale, ghostly, colourless as the mountains when the Alpine snow passes off them, being recipient of an indwelling Christ shall blush and flame in beauty. "Then shall the righteous blaze forth like the sun in My Father's Kingdom." Or, rather they are not suns shining by their own light, but moons reflecting the light of Christ, who is their light.
II. And now notice, again, out of these full and pregnant words the other thought, THAT THIS TRANSFORMATION OF MEN IS THE GREAT MIRACLE AND MARVEL OF CHRIST'S POWER. "He shall come to be admired" — which word is employed in its old English signification, "to be wondered at" — "in all them that believe." So fair and lovely is He that He needs but to be recognized for what He is in order to be glorified. So great and stupendous are His operations in redeeming love that they need but to be beheld to be the object of wonder. "His name shall be called Wonderful." And wonderfully the energy of His redeeming and sanctifying grace shall then have wrought itself out to its legitimate end. Such results from such material! Chemists tell us that the black bit of coal in your grate and the diamond on your finger are varying forms of the one substance. What about a power that shall take all the black coals in the world and transmute them into flashing diamonds, prismatic with the reflected light that comes from His face and made gems on His strong right hand? The universe shall wonder at such results from such material. And it shall wonder, too, at the process by which they were accomplished, wondering at the depth of His pity revealed all the more pathetically now from the Great White Throne, which casts such a light on the Cross of Calvary; wondering at the long, weary path which He who is now declared to be the Judge humbled Himself to travel in the quest of these poor sinful souls whom He has thus redeemed and glorified.
III. And now a word about what is not expressed, but is necessarily implied in this verse, viz., THE SPECTATORS OF THIS GLORY. We need not speculate, it is better not to enter into details, but this, at least, is clear, that that solemn winding up of the long, mysterious, sad, blood and tear-stained history of man upon the earth is to be an object of interest and a higher revelation of God to other. creatures than those that dwell upon the earth; and we may well believe that for that moment, at all events, the centre of the universe, which draws the thoughts of all thinking, and the eyes of all seeing creatures to it, shall be that valley of judgment wherein sits the Man Christ and judges men, and round Him the flashing reflectors of His glory in the person of His saints.
IV. And lastly, look AT THE PATH TO THIS GLORIFYING. "He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be wondered at in all them that believed; as that word ought to be rendered. That is to say, they who on earth were His, consecrated and devoted to Him, and in some humble measure partaking even here of His reflected beauty and imparted righteousness — these are they in whom He shall be glorified. They who believed": poor, trembling, struggling, fainting souls, that here on earth, in the midst of many doubts and temptations, clasped His hand; and howsoever tremulously, yet truly put their trust in Him, these are they in whom He shall "be wondered at."
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.