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2 Thessalonians 2:14

For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Destined for glory

The poster declared “Uncle Sam wants you.” It meant the nation needed you to surrender your time and skills, your body and even your life, to protect and serve the country. The church denomination of which I am a part, calls its pastors to serve the Gospel and the people – but then slips in a line about supporting the denominational organization itself. Top athletes in the country are met with promises that if they answer the call to this or that university, they will be able to show their skills on a national stage and advance their careers – though it clearly advances the university’s bottom line. And even the Army promises that in the service you can “Be all that you can be.”

The call of God doesn’t ask us to surrender ourselves for the sake of a larger institution, or promise us personal glory. It promises us “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”: the glory that belongs to Christ as the beloved child of God, the glory that comes to him as the faithful son, the glory that radiates from him in perfect love, the glory that adheres to him as the firstborn of the dead.

We are called by the Gospel to discipleship (“Follow me”) and to a mission (Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”) but these are only part of the more profound call to be children of God, sons and daughters of the light, citizens of the age to come, called to be conformed to the image of his Son,” to “obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We are used to the call narratives in the Gospels – Peter and Andrew, James and John at their nets, called to be fishers of men. And we are familiar with the call of the disciples into the mission of bearing Christ to the world in such places as Matthew 28: We tend to think of God’s call in terms of tasks. But here we hear something different. Here the purpose of our call is “so that [we] may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”