Brethren Archive
Luke 9:18-36; Romans 8:17-19; 1 Peter 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 3:10-12; 2 Timothy 4: 6-8.

Suffering and Glory.

by H. D'Arcy Champney

I have read these passages because they bring out very clearly that the Christian's path here is one of suffering, but it leads to glory.  But coronation is preceded by crucifixion, or, to use very familiar words, 'No cross, no crown'. The Lord had all along been preparing His disciples for the announcement He makes as given in Luke 9.  But never before had He fully unfolded what is here brought out.  The disciples had, however, been daily more and more impressed with His competency to take up the ruined or falling interest of Israel, and to set them free from the dominion of the Romans and deliver them from all evil, and, as Messiah, to reign over them and bring in the long-promised kingdom.  But, strange to say, Jesus is about to tell them that their hopes for the immediate setting up of the kingdom in power and glory, and the removal of the outward pressure and evil could not yet come to pass.  Before Jesus unfolds this to them, we find Him alone praying.  His disciples being with Him, He asks them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They answered to the effect that there were different opinions.  Upon this, Jesus said to them, "But ye, who do ye say that I am?" and Peter answers with the greatest decision and certainty, "The Christ of God".  The disciples had no question about it at all.  It was evident to them that He was the long-looked-for Christ, and that He had all the power needed to deliver man and to set up the kingdom over Israel. But to their astonishment, they are strictly charged and commanded not to tell any man that He was the Christ! Jesus takes another title—that of Son of man —and says, "The Son of man must suffer".  Instead of showing them that their hopes for earthly blessing were to be immediately realised, He closes such hopes for the moment, and says He must suffer!  He takes a grand title—that of Son of man—a title connected with far more glory than that of Messiah, Israel's King.  Psalm 8, written long before Christ came, shows it is connected with universal dominion and glory, but that first He would be made some little inferior to angels.  Hebrews 2: 9 shows that it was "on account of the suffering of death", but that it leads to all things being put under His feet in the coming day.  He told the disciples, not simply that He would suffer, but that He must—there was no way of avoiding it if men were to be saved.  He must die for them.  So He says, "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up".  The last words, however, showed that the suffering was not to end in death, but in resurrection and glory, for He would be raised again, yea, He must (God's glory demanded it) be raised again the third day. What an eye-opener this was for the disciples!  They naturally would have looked for the elders and chief priests—the leaders of religion—to receive Christ, but no, they would reject Him and kill Him!  But for their encouragement, He shows that the elders, etc., would not succeed in their plot to get rid of Him, for the third day He must rise again!
Then He shows them that, if they would follow Him, their path also would be one of suffering, for He said to them all, "If any one will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me".  Now this is no light thing.  We may deny ourselves hosts of pleasures, etc., and yet not deny ourselves.  To let self go is the last thing we want to do.  It means real suffering to refuse ourselves, but we cannot follow Christ truly unless we deny ourselves.  Yea, more, for the Lord added, "and take up his cross daily and follow Me".  Christ took up His cross willingly for the glory of God and in His love for us, that He might die for us, and we are called to follow Him.  But we cannot take up His cross—we are not called to do so, nor could we.  We are called to take up our own.  Each man has his own cross to take up.  Men were not crucified on the same tree.  Each had a tree, or cross, to himself, and had to carry it to the place of crucifixion.  Your cross is not mine, nor mine yours, but every disciple has to carry his own cross. This must mean suffering and shame here, and even moral death.  If a man was seen carrying his cross, every one knew that he was on the way to be crucified, and that he was considered not fit to live.  This is the place the world will give us if we are true in following Christ, and we have ourselves also to take that place as being in ourselves not fit to live.  The cross represents the end of man. That is why we read in Romans 6: 6—"our old man has been crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin". Also Galatians 5: 24 says, "They that are of the Christ, have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts".  This we are called to do practically every day—not to spare the flesh, but to deny ourselves, and that without anybody knowing it perhaps in this world.  If we sought to get a name for it, and to be thought something of for our self-sacrifice or self-denial, it would not any longer be carrying our cross, but the very opposite.  It is a great test for us to do this every day.  A man might be willing to do some heroic deed for Christ once and for all, and perhaps lay down his life, but to do this daily, week by week and year by year, for many a long year, this is where the test comes in.  But the Lord is sufficient for us and can enable us to do that which He encourages us and bids us to do.  He said, moreover, that "whosoever shall desire to save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake, he shall save it".  He would find life in a far better way, above and beyond this world, and he would gain far more than all that could be got in this world. Besides, in what way would a man be advantaged if he should gain the whole world and lose himself or be cast away?  For, in any case, he would lose the whole world after gaining it, for he could not keep it, nor take it with him when he dies.
Then to help us and encourage us, He speaks of His coming in glory, and that in a threefold character of glory, and shows how serious it would be if He had to be ashamed of us then.  The Lord does not want to have to be ashamed of His people.  It is a delight to Him to be able to say, "Well done!"  He does not want us to receive some mark of shame and disapproval on His part at that day, but rather a mark of approval.  So, in His love and care for us, He warns us beforehand, and speaks of the threefold glory of His coming.  First, He would come in the glory of the Son of man.  This glory is opened out in Daniel 7: 9, 10, where the thrones were set, that is, cushions were thrown down for the monarch to sit upon, and "The Ancient of days did sit . . . thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him".  Then, after the destruction of "the beast" that is, the Latin empire in its last form, a Man is brought near before Him, and everlasting dominion is given to Him, a kingdom that can never pass away.  For we read, "Behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man, and He came up even to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him.  And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (verses 13, 14).  We find, too, in the same chapter that "the saints of the most high places" (verse 25), the heavenly saints who died in faith, and who served Him faithfully here, take the kingdom with Him and reign with Him then.  It is needless to say, that the Son of man of Daniel 7, to whom is given, by the Ancient of days, that vast dominion, is the despised Jesus of Nazareth whom we find in Luke 9 quietly opening out His glorious future to His dear disciples.  How rightly glad, then, should we be at that day if He were to own us when coming in such amazing glory!  But how sad if we were passed by in shame, or if we had to receive some mark of disapproval, or if He could not own us at all as belonging to Him!  Let us then carefully consider those words, "ashamed of Me and of My words".  Many perhaps would not exactly be ashamed of Him but are ashamed of His words.  Perhaps we slight what He says about forgiving our brother, or about fighting for our rights, or about not being of the world, or about taking up our cross and denying ourselves.  If so, we shall find He will have to show His disapproval of us in that day when His approval and glory will be found to be of eternal value.
He will come, too, in the glory of His Father. This is even a greater glory than that of having universal dominion as Son of man, the last Emperor of the world, if I may so speak of Him.  He is more than universal Ruler, He is the Son and is the object of the Father's love and delight.  What He is with the Father is even more than what He is as having universal dominion.  What an honour to be associated with the Son of God! Yea, even to be brought, through Him, into the same blessed relationship with God as His dear sons, so that the world will know at that day that God has loved us as He has loved His Son!  Ought not such a thought to affect us deeply?  Again, there is a third glory, for He comes in the glory of the holy angels.  Now Christ Himself it was that made those holy angels, for the direct work of creation is attributed in Scripture to the Son, the second Person of the Trinity.  Jesus is not only Man, He is God, and He made the holy angels to do His will and carry out His pleasure, and they are all at His command, and they delight to serve Him.  Think, then, what a magnificent escort for the Son of man!  For He will come accompanied by His mighty angels, whose power is far greater than that of men, and all ready to serve Him!  We read of one angel slaying an army of one hundred and eighty-five thousand men!  What resistance, then, could the world make against Christ establishing His kingdom and reigning over the whole world?  He will carry all before Him, and men who do not want His kingdom will be cut off and perish.  What an encouragement, then, to suffer with Him now, if we are to reign with Him then, and have some distinction, it may be, in a kingdom that will be so glorious that all other kingdoms in the past will be absolutely forgotten or sink into the shade.  If, through grace, we are God's children, heirs too of God and joint-heirs with Christ, as we read in Romans 8, we must not forget what follows—"if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him", and that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed to us".
But to further encourage His disciples, Jesus said that some of them should not taste of death till they saw the kingdom of God.  And accordingly, eight days later, He took three of them up into a mountain.  We read, He went up to pray—an expression of dependence on God, for there never was a man so dependent as Christ, and He it is who will bring in universal happiness for this world.  It will not be brought in by the independence of the rulers of this world, nor by the independence and will of the people, but by the praying and dependent Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Suddenly the praying Man is shining like the sun (Matthew 17: 2), and "his raiment white and effulgent".  There were also two men with Him and intimate with Him, who "talked with him".  They were Moses and Elias, and they appeared in glory and spoke, not of Christ's glorious kingdom, but "of His departure which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem" that is, of His exit or exodus, the glorious way He would leave this world by Calvary's Cross. For what men look upon only as shame and weakness—the death of Christ—was really a moment of supreme moral glory.  For He shone out in those closing moments more gloriously than ever before, in His grace and love to man, and in His devotedness to the will of God in giving Himself a sacrifice for sin, and in expressing fully the love of God to man.  He won the battle of Calvary, not at the cost of the blood of thousands, but only of One—of Himself, the Son of the living God, so that through the shedding of His precious blood, we might be cleansed from all sin, and might never perish, but be eternally saved.  Moses and Elijah also appearing in glory, not only expressed that the law and the prophets of the Old Testament were fulfilled and made good in Christ's glorious kingdom, and on the ground of His death, but they are also figures of the saints who have died in faith and of the saints who are, as Elijah was, taken up without dying, when Christ comes for His own.  Then we shall be caught up to meet the Lord, together with all those who have fallen asleep through Him; in other words, with all those who have died in faith, and we shall all come with Him in glory.  Thus, Moses and Elijah are a picture of the heavenly company in glory with Christ, while the three disciples represent the earthly company who will enjoy the reign of Christ over the earth in the coming day.  What a day that will be when the praying Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, comes in power and majesty and rules the earth for God, and when all the heavenly saints come in glory with Him!
But there is a still greater thing than the manifested glory of the kingdom.  We read that as Moses and Elijah departed, there came a cloud, a bright cloud (Matthew 17: 5), and overshadowed them, and that the disciples were afraid as they entered into the cloud, and there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son: hear Him". That cloud was the cloud of "the excellent glory" (2 Peter 1: 17), and was the Father's dwelling-place, the Father's house.  It represents the brightest portion and privilege that we can have—namely, to be associated with God's own Son in the Father's presence, before His face, to know and enjoy His love as revealed to us by His Son.  This is why the voice out of the cloud said: "This is my beloved Son: hear Him".  As we listen to Christ, and learn of Him, all fear goes, and He unfolds to us the place we have in the Father's bosom of love, and in the Father's house.  Only the Son could reveal that love.  How foolish then was Peter, or ignorant, to put, as it were, Christ on the same level as Moses and Elias, and wish to make three tabernacles, etc.  But he soon found his mistake when Moses and Elias disappear, and they find themselves overshadowed by the cloud of glory and hear the Father's voice calling attention to His Son. After that, "they saw no one but Jesus alone" (Matthew 17: 8).  Surely, beloved, it is worthwhile suffering for Christ here, in view of such glorious privileges!  It is nothing new that saints have to suffer.  They have always had to suffer from the very beginning of time.  And they suffered for many and various reasons. The Old Testament Scriptures reveal many kinds of suffering. Abel is the first case. Abel suffered for righteousness at the hands of Cain, who hated him and slew him.  He slew him "because his works were wicked, and those of his brother righteous" (1 John 3: 12).  Abel owned by his sacrifice that death was on man, and therefore he slew a lamb and offered it to God and was accepted.  He was righteous and suffered from Cain whose works were evil.
Then we have Enoch, who walked with God three hundred years, and who prophesied of the Lord coming "amidst his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all; and to convict all the ungodly of them of all their works of ungodliness, which they have wrought ungodlily, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him" (Jude 14, 15).  It is evident that Enoch suffered because of his godliness or piety. Piety brings God into everything in daily life, and Enoch lived godlily in the midst of an ungodly world, and God owned him by taking him away without his passing through death.  "He was not, for God took him" (Genesis 5: 24). Then we come to Noah—he built an ark for the saving of his house, believing that God would drown the world by a deluge.  Noah suffered because he acted under the influence of things not seen as yet, for before the flood, the earth was watered by a mist rising from the earth (Genesis 2: 6).  It is not recorded that there was any rain before the flood. For one hundred and twenty years, he testified that God would drown the world, and as Peter speaks of scoffers in the last days who say, "Where is the promise of his coming?" (2 Peter 3: 4), so no doubt in those early days, before the flood came, Noah had to suffer from scoffers and bear any amount of ridicule.  But the flood did come—and swept them all away.  We too must expect suffering in this world if we live and are moved by the light of the world to come and by the "things which eye has not seen, and ear not heard . . . but God has revealed to us by His Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2: 9, 10).  The world vainly hopes it will continue for ever, and we must expect their ridicule if we maintain that God is going to judge it and bring in a world of life and glory to take its place.  Then Abraham had to suffer in leaving his country, kith and kin, in obedience to the call of the God of glory who appeared to him.  For one hundred years, he was a pilgrim and a stranger in the land of Canaan, with no politics in this world—no patriotism—for he looked for a city which had foundations and for a country which was heavenly and rejoiced to see Christ's day.  How often we allow natural relationships or false ideas of patriotism to prevent us following the Lord.  But if we answer to the call and live as belonging to another country, we shall have to suffer here. What wonderful compensation, however, when we find ourselves part of the holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, which descends out of Heaven from God for the blessing of all the nations!
Next, Joseph suffered from his brethren.  He suffered for several reasons—because his father loved him, and because of his coat of many colours, and because of his visions and revelations, and also because he exposed their evil ways.  So the Christian who enters more than others into the Father's love, or who comes out distinctly in the beautiful moral clothing of Christ, with its many colours or varied graces, is often hated or disliked by his fellow Christian, who knows little of that love, and does not seek to know it, though the same love is for him too, and whose clothing is more that of the world than of the beauty of Christ.  He is hated too by the world which has always shown great antipathy to the chosen objects of the Father's love and care, and who are morally altogether different from themselves. Then too, Christians have to suffer because of the wonderful revelations of God's purposes of love, which the Spirit reveals to those who love God, and again they often have to suffer, not only because, by their walk they convict the world, but because their godliness is a rebuke to their brethren who walk carelessly, and hand in glove with the world.  Joseph also suffered under a false charge when sold into Egypt, and he was imprisoned, though perfectly innocent, and was laid in irons until what God had said came to pass, and the king sent and let him go free and exalted him to be the chief ruler in the land.  Perhaps to be falsely accused and misunderstood in this world is one of the hardest kinds of suffering; but let us remember, the time is fast approaching when God will publicly justify His maligned people, and at the Judgment-Seat of Christ, every one will be manifested, and no false charges will stand then, and the approved will be publicly manifested.
Then again, Moses suffered for identifying himself with the despised people of God, the children of Israel, when they were still in bondage under Pharaoh. He might have remained great in Pharaoh's court and have been the patron of the Israelites, but he chose "rather to suffer affliction along with the people of God than to have the temporary pleasure of sin; esteeming the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he had respect to the recompense" (Hebrews 11: 25, 26).  It was the first time in Scripture we have a people who were the people of God, and Moses had the courage to leave all and identify himself with them.  Now, this today means real suffering if we identify ourselves with the Lord's people, however much they are despised and however poor, or of what nation they may be.  But they will not always be poor and despised.  Very soon now they will be seen in the glory of Christ and shining like the sun and will be by far the most exalted people in the whole universe, and they will have the highest place in Heaven of all God's creatures.  Do not then let us now be ashamed to own and identify ourselves with those who love the Lord, and who are bound together in true and holy fellowship, waiting for Christ.  Again, Moses also suffered because he was the servant of the Lord.  He is a striking figure of Christ and was a very remarkable servant.  He brought Israel out of Egypt and served them forty years in the wilderness. His was a very difficult service and cost him much suffering.  At one time, in his faithfulness, he had to stand alone for God against the whole vast congregation of Israel.  But God sustained him till the end, and Luke 9 shows him in glory in the coming day.  So too, all who serve the Lord here must expect to suffer, and sometimes even to stand alone, but remember, "If any one serve Me, him shall the Father honour" (John 12: 26).
Again, Caleb and Joshua suffered because they brought a good report of the land, the whole congregation of Israel, six hundred thousand men, spoke of stoning them, when the glory of the Lord interfered, and the six hundred thousand had to perish in the wilderness, and the two faithful witnesses alone survived to go with the children of Israel into the land forty years later. So, too, if we are faithful in our witness and testimony and encourage one another to take a present possession, in the power of the Spirit, of what God has purposed for us, as His own dear sons and as belonging to Heaven, we shall have to suffer at the hands of those who, as it were, despise the pleasant land.
Again, David suffered because he was the Lord's anointed. Saul was the people's choice, but David was chosen of the Lord; he had, however, to suffer many a long day, and his people with him, before he eventually came to the throne.  But they were happier in the cave than Saul and Jonathan were in the palace, for God was with them. So all who are anointed with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, are sure to suffer in this world.  The world does not like that Spirit.  It is too blessed for them.  "All indeed who desire to live piously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3: 12), but relief will soon come, and if we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him.
Then, too, the prophets suffered for having the Word of God.  They had a word from God, and it reached the conscience and heart of man and exposed him.  It also brought God to him, and called for repentance, and testified of Christ as the only hope for man. But they all had to suffer for their testimony.  "Take as an example, brethren, of suffering and having patience, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord" (James 5: 10).  So today, if any one now has anything at all of a prophetic gift, in the way of bringing God to people, and thus causing the secrets of the heart to be made manifest, however small his service in this way, whether it were a brother or a sister, he would have to suffer.  Sisters may have some prophetic gift, but if so, they have to exercise it in a way suitable to a woman.  Many a mother has in this way brought up her family for the testimony.  But whoever at any time has a word from the Lord, even in a little way, he must expect to suffer if he is faithful to what the Lord gives.  The prophets took the side of God in a day when God was dishonoured and forgotten, and this meant suffering.
The last character of suffering that I have to mention from the Old Testament is found in the Book of Daniel.  Daniel and his three friends suffered from Babylon.  They refused the defiling food of Babylon.  Also Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refused to bow down to the golden image and join in the world's united religion.  They were thrown into the fiery furnace for it, but God delivered them and publicly honoured them. Daniel, too, refused to pray to man instead of God, when all agreed to displace God and set up the king in His stead.  It cost Daniel the den of lions.  But the living God closed their mouths and vindicated His servant before the world.  What an encouragement all this is for us, to refuse the modern Babylon, the proud system of this world's glory, which is quickly approaching its end!
Then in the New Testament, the leading sufferer is Christ.  He suffered beyond all men. He suffered because of what He was—absolute blessedness embodied in a Man, the full expression of God.  Also, He suffered in making atonement and in bearing the wrath of God for us as the sin-offering.  He, of course, was quite alone in this.  Then too, He suffered for all the reasons I have mentioned above.  He is the expression of all the varied sufferings the saints have been called upon to endure, for He is the Leader.  He was the greatest of all sufferers, and consequently, He leads the way in glory, as far beyond all.  The prophets all united in testifying to the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.  But in a similar way, we are called to suffer too.  All who have Christ's Spirit are called to suffer for Christ's sake.  Christian suffering is more intense than anything known in the Old Testament.  It is more inward than outward, more in spirit than in flesh, though there is also often the outward as well. But, "If ye are reproached in the name of Christ, blessed are ye; for the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God rests upon you" (1 Peter 4: 14), and "the God of all grace who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, when ye have suffered for a little while, Himself shall make perfect, stablish, strengthen, ground" (1 Peter 5:10).  Let us take care we have nothing to do with suffering as an evildoer, etc., but only as a Christian, and when the crowning day shall come, how great will be our joy and our reward.
For how will recompense His smile
The sufferings of this "little while!"
May the Lord keep us faithful till then, so that we may receive the "crown of righteousness" which the Lord will give at that day, not only to Paul, but "also to all who love his appearing" (2 Timothy 4: 8), for His name's sake!
London, October 1914.
"A Witness and a Testimony" 1930

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  • Suffering and Glory. (Luke 9:18-36; Romans 8:17-19; 1 Peter 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 3:10-12; 2 Timothy 4: 6-8.)