Once again, the word of the day is “glorified.” In our reading of 2 Thessalonians 1:10-2:2, St. Paul writes that he prays constantly for his congregation as they face nameless trials. His concern is not on what the Thessalonians should do to prevail in their troubles. His focus is on God’s work in the faithful. Thus, he prays “that the name of Christ may be glorified in you and you in Him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 12).
Note that in yesterday’s reading Paul has just promised that when Christ returns in glory, he will be “glorified in his saints” (vs. 10). But now the apostle applies that thought to those all who believe in Christ. His prayer is that the Lord may also be glorified in them. In both Greek and the English translation, the word “glorified” is in the passive tense. God is glorified when His exceeding splendor is “exhibited.” For example, the Psalmist sings, “The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork (Oxford Annotated Ps.19:1). That is to say that God “is glorified” in the majesty of the heavens
Glorified in Us
Just as the heavens show forth the glory of God so does the holy lives of the saints But what about the rest of us? We learn from our reading that the name of the Lord can also be glorified in us. The name of the Lord refers to all that Christ is, especially his authority, power, status, and excellence (Strong’s #3686, 179). In summary the name is the character and identity of the Lord.
On the Day of Pentecost, St. Peter exhorts the multitude, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). By their baptism, the new believers were to be identified with Christ in whose name they were to be christened. So also, when we call ourselves “Christians” we claim our identity with Christ. Whatever we who are called “Christians” say or do reflects on the one whose name we bear and whose identity we share.
A Life Fully Devoted to Christ
Therefore, we learn from Paul that our faith and life can glorify Christ. St. John Chrysostom says that we are glorified in Christ because we put Him above all else. The preacher teaches that a life that is fully devoted to Christ is a life that glorifies Him (NfPf1: 13, 385). On the other hand, faithlessness does the opposite. Thus, the writer of Hebrews warns that that those who fall away “… put Him [Christ] to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:6).
Yes, the Lord may be glorified in the faithful. But believers may also be glorified in Him (vs. 12). Chrysostom teaches that this glorification happens “because we have received power from Him, so that we do not at all yield to the evils that are brought upon us” (NfPf1: 13, 385). The great preacher explains, “Tribulation for the sake of Christ is glory.” And he states, “by how much we suffer anything dishonorable, so much more illustrious we become” (NfPf1: 13, 385).
However, Chrysostom teaches that what is true of trial is true of temptation. When we resist temptation, others see how God has “nerved us,” (NfPf1:13, Chapter 2, 1-2) because He has given us strength to withstand the enticement. And onlookers will admire us because we have shown ourselves to be worthy of God’s kingdom. But note that this esteem is not to our own credit. God glorifies Himself in us. It is by His grace that we endure suffering and overcome temptation (NfPf1: 13, 385).
A common objection to what we learn today is that people say, “I am not a saint.” We might ask whether that is a statement of humility or an excuse. We find the answer in Paul’s prayer that that Christ may be “glorified in us and we in Him” (vs12).
The apostles’ prayer teaches that there is no essential difference between saints and ourselves. Paul writes to the Romans that they are “called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). And the apostle in 1 Peter says, “But as God who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:16). We note that both writers use a form of the Greek word ‘agios’ when they speak of “saints” and “holiness.” Thus, these two terms teach that both saints and ordinary believers have the same thing in common, the calling to devote one’s life to God. Thus, the Almighty works in all the baptized so that they grow in saintliness and holiness, in consecration and in service to God. The result is that “God is glorified” in all of us.
1] “The heavens describe” that is, they are “set apart for the sacred.” “The glory of God and firmament announces the making of His hands” (Wendland Septuagint: Ps. 19:1).
St. Porphyrios, St. 2005. Wounded by Love: the Life and the Wisdom of Saint Porphyrios. Translated by John Raffan. Limni, Evia, Greece: Denise Harvey, Publisher.