Giving up glory

Heaven is the place we all want to go. Heaven is the greatest place imaginable because it is the dwelling place of Deity. Why would anyone willingly leave heaven?

I once had a discussion with someone who feared sinning and being cast out of heaven. I suggested that while angels were cast out (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6), it was not possible for us to sin and thus be banished from God’s presence.

Sin requires temptation (James 1:14, 15). There will be no temptations for us in heaven, and thus no possibility to sin. This is a great comfort to me, for I desperately want to live forever with my Lord. Once my glorified body is taken to heaven I can not imagine ever wishing to leave.

But one was willing to leave heaven. One was willing to give up glory. One was willing to temporarily abdicate his eternal position to enter the temporal realm.

We often focus on the great sacrifice of the cross, and with good reason. The cross is the central focus of God’s redemptive plan. In salvation we reenact the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3, 4).

Christians are compelled to look back to the death of Christ each Lord’s day (1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Acts 20:7). The power of forgiveness resides in the power of the cross. We must not neglect it.

But should we increase our focus upon the sacrifice of leaving heaven? Not the incarnation itself, that beautiful act has our focus, but rather the initial act of the sacrifice of heaven.

The Word is eternal. He had all glory, all power, all prestige. Jesus prayed to the Father, “Glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5).

When we read the visions of heaven granted to a select few, we see a glimpse of the majesty of God. He is so glorious as to be praised continually. Yet our Lord freely emptied himself of that glory (Philippians 2:6, 7).

Without the cross there is no salvation. Let us not diminish the sacrifice that Christ made, the suffering, the humiliation, and the agony of it. But without the Word leaving heaven, there is no cross.

Knowing this world I cannot imagine leaving heaven for it. Our God did just that for me and for you. Ponder that before you praise him in prayer and song. What a sacrifice! What a Savior!

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