The Suffering and Glorified One

2 Corinthians 3  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
2 Cor. 3
I have been thinking how the contemplation of the sufferings of our blessed Lord is used to produce the effect in us of being epistles of Christ down here. In this chapter, evidently, it is the glory of the Lord. If I take the sufferings of the blessed Lord in themselves, I have to watch against mere human feeling. It is blessed to think of His sufferings, and it draws out the affections of saints even more than the glory; but there may be a great deal of natural sympathy and feeling about the sufferings of Christ, with nothing divine in the soul. "Weep for yourselves and for your children," Jesus said. There is nothing divine in their weeping.
In the supper, the Lord calls us back to dwell on His death in remembrance of Him, and in that way presents Himself to us as the glorified One, as the Person who would draw us completely out of the world unto Himself. We look back with Him at what His sufferings and sorrows were; then we see their divine character. When we contemplate Christ as the humbled One (see Phil. 2), we stand and adore; He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him. "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life," etc. He can give it as a motive for His Father to love Him.
When I trace His life, a lonely life, I see divine love at every step. He is the most gracious, the most affable of men, full of lowliness and grace, utterly without any sympathy from man. I see in Him divine love come down, bearing our sorrows and carrying our sicknesses; I get there the divine thing. I stand and look on that divine Person-
Christ made sin-no place where He was so alone as on the cross. In the glory we shall be with Him; we shall see Him as He is, and shall be like Him. On the cross He was alone. When I see Him as man working that work by which I am with Him in the glory, my heart is fixed upon Him there; my mind dwells on Him in glory. If my soul has taken hold of that, the effect is to make me like Him down here.
Faith is an individual matter, and each must have it for himself. Faith is always lonely; it must look to God, and God only. There are moments in every man's life when he must act with God absolutely, and with God alone; and so in every step faith is a practical possession of the soul. The Lord is the summing up in His own Person of all that the Spirit unfolds through the Word. The Spirit of the Lord gives me to behold a Man in glory, gone up on high, all accomplished in His Person, and glory the result. Then there is liberty in the presence of the holiness of God, sin settled, death done with, Satan's power done with, all the fruit of His work; we are the fruit. Liberty of heart in God, and being made the righteousness of God in Him, being associated with Jesus, the heart at liberty in perfect love-at liberty from Satan, from death, from sin-all this is the fruit of His blessed work. We are foolish to let our hearts slip down again into bondage, and miss the enjoyment in the power of the Holy Ghost of this divinely-given, divinely-wrought, divinely-sustained place, this place of a child of God, of an heir of God, etc. When the heart turns back and sees the perfect divine work, and the divine Person who stood there, then always the divine element comes out, and we must adore.
Where is the glory now? It is in the face of Jesus Christ. There is no veil on the glory of God for me; the place where I see it, is in the face of the Man who bore my sins. I dwell on Him and look on Him and am changed into the same image, but my heart goes back to see how it was all accomplished, to see Him as the bread which came down from heaven; and we must be in heaven to know the Lamb that was slain. He will be the theme of praise there, and the more through the Spirit I know Him exalted to God's right hand, the more my heart goes back to the cross to see Him as the One who became obedient unto death. The moment I see the glory in the face of Jesus Christ, my heart goes up; though angels veil their faces, I can adore. I am still a poor feeble creature, but I can look on Him, can dwell on Him, and get blessed and established by it.
Is there any constancy of heart in us to contemplate the glory? Are we steadfastly looking up into heaven like Stephen? I feel for myself how little one does it, but in the measure of that steadfastness is the result that we shall be the epistles of Christ, known and read of all men; and it is comforting after all to think that God contemplates us with individual love. When I think of looking at His glory in the face of Jesus Christ, I think of my weakness in doing so; but when I think of His looking at me, I find there is no cloud; He is steadfastly looking upon me, though I am feeble in looking steadfastly at Him. "He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous" (Job 36:77He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted. (Job 36:7)).