The Riches of His Glory: The Pathway of the Glory (continued)
What Is the Pathway of the Glory? (continued)
Nevertheless, we must finish, and finish on perhaps a much happier note. While we must understand what the glory demands and see the way of the glory, we do want to have at the end a final look at the ultimate glory. To do this we remember Peter's word, "When the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory" (1 Peter 5:4). - "A crown of Glory," that is the end. Of course, "A crown of glory" is a symbolic word. I am not very ambitious to have a little crown put on my head, and for the life of me I do not see how I am going to ever have three crowns on my head, literally; and there are three crowns mentioned in the Word. It means being crowned, having your life and your work crowned or capped with glory. That is the last picture, the crown of glory.
What is it? Well, I have mentioned that there are three crowns, and you probably know them well. There is "the crown of righteousness" that we are to receive on certain grounds. "A crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give." Paul says, "There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8). What was his meaning? It was this - that at the last part of his life, in one of his prison letters, which was that beautiful letter to his beloved and longed for children in Philippi - he says, "Leaving the things which are behind ... I press toward the mark for the prize of the on-high calling of God" (Phil. 3:13-14). But then he also says, "I count not myself to have attained, neither am I already perfect: but this one thing I do, if by any means I may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of mine own, but the righteousness which is of God through faith.
The last longing cry of the apostle's heart was that the righteousness of God through Christ should adorn him; that he should obtain unto it; that is, that he should stand before the Throne of the eternal One without any qualms, any fears, any flinchings; that he should stand justified, stand in a righteousness not his own, but stand perfect in righteousness. And that is what he meant by "the crown of righteousness," to stand at last before the Eternal Throne of Infinite Holiness, clothed with Divine Righteousness, with all his own unrighteousness and imperfection gone forever. "Clothed in righteousness," that is what he called the crowning thing for his life, and the fullest realization of his ambition, "That I may stand perfect, lacking nothing. I am not already perfect, I have not already attained, but if only I can attain to being found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, but His righteousness. What a glorious end!
That is a crown to covet, that is a crown to suffer for, a crown to live for, a crown to be abandoned for. A crown of glory indeed! That, dear friends, is something that you and I are in agreement on. If there is one thing we long for more than any other, it is the full and final escape from our own sinfulness, from this accursed fallen nature and all that it carries with it. How we desire to attain unto the crown of righteousness.
(continued with # 38 - (The Crown of Life)