1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels…
Glory implies three things. It is an exemption from that which is opposite, and a conquering over the contrary base condition. But where these three are — an exemption and freedom from all baseness, and all that may diminish reckoning and estimation, and when there is a foundation of true excellency, and likewise a shining, a declaring and breaking forth of that excellency — there is glory. It will not be altogether unuseful to speak of the circumstances of Christ's being "taken up to glory."
1. Whence was He taken? He was taken "up to glory," from Mount Olivet, where He used to pray, and where He sweat water and blood, where He was humbled.
2. And when was He taken "up to glory"? Not before He had finished His work, as He saith, "I have finished the work Thou gavest Me to do" (John 17:4).
3. The witnesses of this were the angels. They proclaimed His incarnation with joy; and without doubt they were much more joyful at His ascending up to glory. Now this nature of ours in Christ, it is next to the nature of God in dignity; here is a mystery. Among many other respects it is a mystery for the greatness of it. We see after His ascension, when He appeared to Paul in glory, a glimpse of it struck Paul down; he could not endure it. In this glorious condition that Christ is received into, He fulfils all His offices in a most comfortable manner. He is a glorious Prophet, to send His Spirit now to teach and open the heart. He is a glorious Priest, to appear before God in the holy of holies, in heaven for us, for ever; and He is a King there for ever.To come to some application.
1. First of all we must lay this for a ground and foundation of what follows, that Christ ascended as a public person. He must not be considered as a particular person, alone by Himself, but as the "Second Adam."
2. In the second place, we must know that there is a wondrous nearness between Christ and us now; for before we can think of any comfort by the "glory of Christ," we must be one with Him by faith, for He is the Saviour of His body.
3. Again, there is a causality, the force of a cause in this; because Christ, therefore we. Here is not only a priority of order, but a cause likewise; and there is great reason.
4. And then we must consider Christ not only as an efficient cause, but as a pattern and example how we shall be "glorified." It is a comfort, in the hour of death, that we yield up our souls to Christ, who is gone before to provide a place for us. Likewise, in our sins and infirmities. When we have to deal with God the Father, whom we have offended with our sins, let us fetch comfort from hence. Christ is ascended into heaven, to appear before His Father as a Mediator for us; and, therefore, God turns away His wrath from us. Consider the wonderful love of Christ, that would suspend His glory so long. Hence, likewise, we have a ground of patience in all our sufferings from another reason, not from the order but from the certainty of glory. Shall we not patiently suffer, considering the glory that we shall certainly have? "If we suffer with Him we shall be glorified with Him." (Romans 8:17). Again, the mystery of Christ's glory tends to godliness in this respect, to stir us up to heavenly-mindedness. (Colossians 3:1).
Parallel VersesKJV: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
WEB: Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.