I have felt for sometime that something was wrong. I have never been able to clearly convey the thoughts I’ve had. It has always come out muddled and sounds too much like whining and complaining. I have long sensed a problem, but could not grasp the nature of it. My vocabulary failed me when I tried to explain what I was coming to understand. I lacked the preciseness to convey the difference between what many believe and what the bible teaches. And then it happened. I found the words.
While reading, I found that Martin Luther gave words to what I sensed. He called it a Theology of Glory. This common belief claims presently all the glory we are promised in the age to come. This belief brings a strong entitlement to be happy, blessed, healthy, empowered, strong, victorious, and even prosperous. It embraces all these wonderful promises clearly taught in Scripture. Yet this theology ignores, the reality that presently, between us and the glory that awaits us, stands the cross. The cross brings weakness, suffering, poverty, shame, and the need for hope and endurance. This Luther called a Theology of the Cross. This the bible affirms.
What makes the Theology of Glory dangerous is that if we do not bear our cross, we will forfeit the glory we desire. No cross, no crown. Yet the theology of glory repudiates the cross and looks to avoid everything the cross brings. Long-suffering, weakness, and burden bearing are not only to be avoided, but are also seen as antithetical to God’s plan for us. It is indeed a theology.
What makes this theology futile is that, no matter how intent we are to achieve glory, it continues to elude us. Something always happens to shatter the illusion. Strife always returns, struggle resurfaces, weakness rears its ugly head. We often blame the flawed people in our lives and are encouraged to severe the relationship, when quite often they are our cross to be bear. Strive as we may, we simply cannot have the promises of the next age now. This world is not our inheritance.
In the cross we come to know God as He has made himself known. In Jesus Christ, the exact radiance of His glory is revealed in the cross he bore. And he has said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”