Matthew 17:1-13 & No Gory, No Glory

We want the figure of a god, without the diet and exercise. When it comes to our salvation, to being godlike, we want to do it on our own, and we don’t want to do that much. We want glory, with none of the pain. We are spiritually health conscious in a way, but we want a quick, easy, and cheap fix. Gives us a pill, give us a surgery. What we will not do is really sweat or really work. We will not sacrifice our diet of sin. The diet of religion is both lazy and sinful seeking less than perfection. It is lazy because it seeks less than perfection. It is sinful because it seeks less than perfection. Its seeks to enjoy sin with minimal consequence. It does not truly seek to be holy as God is holy.

Physically, in our age of dieting, many try to delude themselves. Its funny how many articles are written as if it is some secret that diet and exercise are the key to health. There is only one way for health to get deep into your bones. It takes work. Our spiritual health likewise involves work. Paul tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).” But be careful. Our salvation is something we work out, it is not something we work for. No drug we manufacture can bring about our salvation, and all our work, even our best work is also futile. We’re not simply spiritually flabby. We’re dead. We couldn’t sweat enough “good,” we couldn’t bleed enough “payment” even if we wanted to. Any sweat is already only our due, and all our blood is the debt we already owe. We need unequaled and unobligated sweat and blood.

Our salvation is no sweat-less labor; no bloodless surgery. A laparoscopic procedure won’t suffice. Flesh must be rent wide open. Blood must be spilt. To give the dead life, The Life must die. Then, and only then, do our eating habits change, for we have an appetite for the Bread of life. Then, and only then, do our work habits change, for we love to do good works unto God’s glory through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of the fall there is only one way to glory, and that is through the gory. For us to go up, God must descend, further down than any.

The transfiguration is framed by a lot of cross talk (Matthew 16:21-28; 17:9, 12, 22-23). Jesus tells the disciples not to tell anyone this vision until after He is resurrected. The glory light they have seen will only be properly understood when illuminated by a dark cross. The transfiguration is not so much a flashback to Jesus’ eternal glory, as it is a flash-forward to his resurrection glory, and the cross comes first. No gory, no glory. He takes our part, that we may take His.

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” -Philippians 2:8-11

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