It is interesting to note that Peter, after identifying himself as a “witness of Christ’s suffering” immediately refers ahead to the time in which all believers will share ”in the glory to be revealed” (5:1). Heaven was not a distant land. The time was short until Christ would return and the reality of endless joy and fellowship would break in. I sense that the majority of contemporary believers spend but a modicum of time thinking of the timeless future. They might be of the opinion that anyone whose life was governed by the reality of the next world could well be somewhat out of touch.
What do you think of when you think of heaven? Big “mansions” somewhat like the more affluent sections of any city? “Streets of gold?” Or do you go to the book of Revelation and come away more confused than ever. Perhaps you have a less material idea of heaven and choose to reflect on that moment when you will first “see his face” (Rev 22:4). It is helpful to keep in mind that when scripture speaks of that which belongs to a higher realm it has no option but to describe it in terms we use here below. To literalize the language used to “describe” life in this new dimension is to read the poetry of God as though it were yesterday’s newspaper.
Peter speaks of “the glory to be revealed,” not the glory we already know. The Greek doxa is used to describe that which is honorable, glorious, rich in splendor. God is the “father of glory” (Eph. 1:17) and Jesus came into this world bearing “the glory of the one and only God” (John 1:14). So we have at least a faint understanding of the “glory to be revealed,” but you can be sure that it will be infinitely greater than our most successful attempt to understand it. Not different, just deeper and profoundly superior in every sense.
As we reflect on God’s unique and surpassing glory may we be encouraged to live in a way that displays at least to some extent the “glory to be revealed.” That is certainly what Christ did and the desire of very true believer is to be sculptured into his image.