The Glorious Day of the Saints’ Appearance

By Thomas Brooks, an edited abstract from Works (Nichol, 1867), 6.318-334

Part 1 of 2

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).

The Apostle, in the verse before, tells them that their "life is hid with Christ in God." These saints might object: but when shall that hidden life be discovered? When shall that life of glory be manifested? He answers in the text: "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." The words do speak out the time when the glorious life of believers shall be manifested, and that is, when Christ shall appear in glory.

But first consider that…

Christ is the Life of Believers

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear." Life here is, by a metonymy, put for the author of life.

We have showed that Jesus Christ, He is first the author of a believer’s spiritual life. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (Jn 14:6).

Secondly, He is the matter of a believer’s spiritual life: "I am the bread of life" (Jn 6:48). The original hath it more elegantly, "I am the bread of that life," that is, of that spiritual life of which before the Lord Jesus Christ had spoken.

Thirdly, He is the exerciser and actor of the spiritual life of believers: "Without me ye can do nothing" (Jn 15:5). The original is: "separate from me, or apart from me, ye can do nothing, &c."

Fourthly, He is the strengthener and the cherisher of a believer’s spiritual life, "In the day when I cried, thou didst answer me, and strengthen me with strength in my soul" (Ps 138:3).

Lastly, the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the completer, He is the finisher of the spiritual life of a saint (Heb 12:2, Phil 1:6).

Take Courage in Him!

Is the Lord Jesus Christ a believer’s life? Why, then let no believer be disquieted nor overwhelmed and dejected, for any loss or for any sorrow or suffering that he meets with for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake. What a base and unworthy spirit is it for a man to be troubled and disquieted in himself for anything that he shall do or suffer for his own natural life! Oh, Jesus Christ is your life; do not say this mercy is too dear for Christ, nor that comfort is too great for Christ. Christ is the life of a believer: what wilt you not do for your life? The devil hit right when he said, "Skin for skin, and all that a man hath will he give for his life." Oh, what should a man then do for Jesus Christ, who is his life! You noble hearts whose particular God has come near in this sad loss, remember this, that Christ is a believer’s life; Christ is that glorious champion’s life. Therefore be not overwhelmed, for doubtless he is now triumphing in the love, in the light, in the goodness, and in the glory of him who is his life. Let the sense of this sad loss kindly affect you, but let it not discourage you.

Highly Prize Him!

But, secondly, if the Lord Jesus Christ be a believer’s life, then this serves to bespeak all believers highly to prize the Lord Jesus. Oh, it is this Christ that is your life; it is not your husband, it is not your child, it is not this or that thing; neither is it this ordinance or that that is a believer’s life. No; it is the Lord Jesus Christ that is the author, that is the matter, that is the exerciser, that is the strengthener, that is the completer, of a believer’s life. You prize great ones; the Lord Jesus Christ is great – he is King of kings, and Lord of lords. You prize others for their wisdom and knowledge: the Lord Jesus has in himself all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3). You prize others for their beauty: the Lord Jesus Christ is the beautifullest of ten thousand (SS 4:10). You prize others for their usefulness: the Lord Jesus Christ is the right hand of a believer, without which he can do nothing. The believer may say of Christ as the philosopher said of the heavens, Tolle cælum, nullus ero– "Take away the heavens, and I shall be nobody"; so take away Jesus Christ, and a believer is nobody – nobody to perform any action, nobody to bear any affliction, nobody to conquer corruption, nobody to withstand temptation, nobody to improve mercies, nor nobody to joy in others’ grace. Oh, prize Jesus Christ!

Again, Consider the Lord Jesus Christ does highly prize you; you are as the apple of his eye; He accounts you His fullness; you are His jewels; therefore prize Him who sets such a high price on you.

Obey Him!

In the last place, Remember a Christ highly prized will be Christ gloriously obeyed. As men prize the Lord Jesus Christ, so they will obey Him. The great reason why Jesus Christ is no more obeyed, is because He is no more prized. Men look upon Him as a person of no worth, no dignity, no glory; they make slight of Him, and that is the reason they are so poor in their obedience to Him. Oh, if the sons of men did but more divinely prize Christ, they would more purely, and more fully, and more constantly obey Him. Let this bespeak all your hearts highly to prize the Lord Jesus, who is your life.

But I shall pass from this, to that point that in order to this occasion I shall now speak to: "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye at this time is, that believers shall at last appear glorious.

Believers Shall Appear Glorious

The scriptures that speak of this truth I will but name them; at your leisure you may read them: (Jdg 15:14; 1 Cor 15:43, 44, 51-55; 1 Th 4:13ff; Mt 19:26-28). These Scriptures clearly speak out this truth, that the people of God shall at last appear glorious.

The reasons of this point, why they shall appear glorious, are these as follow. They shall appear glorious because:—

It is a Marriage-Day

1. First of all, that day is a day of solemnity; it is the marriage-day of the Lamb. I may allude to that Rev 19:6-8. It is true, believers in this life, they are spiritually married to the Lord Jesus; but this marriage is not celebrated till this day, when the saints shall appear in their glory. God the Father has put off the celebration of this glorious marriage to this last day, when believer’s mourning weeds shall be taken off, and their glorious robes shall be put on; when God himself shall, as a Father, be more fully and gloriously present among all His children; when as He shall have all His attendants visible, I mean his angels, which now are not visible, in that spiritual marriage between His Son and believers.

It is a Day of Crowning

2. A second reason that believers at last shall appear glorious, is this, because they shall all appear at the last as kings crowned. Here believers are kings elected, but at that last day they shall all appear as kings crowned. Here believers have a crown in reversion, but at the last they shall have a crown in possession; the Lord will set it upon their heads: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day" (2 Tim 4:7-8a). I have now, says he, a crown in reversion; but at that day I shall have it in possession; then it shall be set upon my head, and then angels and devils and murderers shall say, "Lo! here is the man that God is pleased to honour."

It is a Day of Vengeance

3. Then a third reason why believers at the last shall appear glorious, is for the terror and the horror of all ungodly wretches that have opposed, persecuted, and murdered them. They shall appear glorious for the greater torment of such ungodly souls. Oh, there is nothing that will make sinners in that great day more to tear their hair, to beat their breasts, to wring their hands, and to gnaw their own hearts, than this, when they shall behold those advanced and those appearing in their glory, whom they have slighted, and despised, and most treacherously murdered, here below. I doubt not but there are some base, unworthy spirits here; but let them know that there is a day coming when the saints shall appear in glory, and then the mangled ones and this thrice-worthy champion shall appear among the rest, to the terror, horror, and confusion of these murderous wretches that have brought the guilt of his blood upon them. It will be with you and with all ungodly wretches as it was with Haman: he, like an ungodly wretch, had plotted and contrived the destruction of the Jews; he had sold them, as it were, to bondage, tyranny, and slavery; but the Lord wheels things gloriously about, and Haman comes to the king (Esth 6): says the king to him, "What shall be done to the man whom the king is pleased to honour?" Says he, "Let the king’s horse be brought, and glorious robes put on him, and let the chief nobles of the kingdom lead him and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king is pleased to honour." "Go," says the king, "and do thus to Mordecai." But mark, "Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the streets of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour; but Haman hasted to his house, mourning and having his head covered" (Esth 6:11). This is but an emblem of the carriage of wicked men, when they shall behold the saints of God, his glorious worthy ones, in their glory at this great day. Then shall they, with Haman, have their heads covered, which was a sign of shame and confusion of face.

And it will be with all such ungodly wretches as it was with Belshazzar:

"In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another" (Dan 5:5-6).

Just thus shall it be with ungodly wretches, that oppose and murder and destroy the righteous ones. Oh! when they shall see them in glory – as when he saw the handwriting, his countenance was changed, his thoughts were troubled, his loins were loosed, and his knees dashed against one another – thus shall it be when the saints shall appear in glory: therefore they at last shall appear glorious, to the terror, horror, and inexpressible confusion of all ungodly, bloody wretches.

The Saints’ Glory Redound 
to the Glory of Christ

4. A fourth reason why they shall appear glorious at last, is, because their glorious appearance at the last will make much for the honour and glory of the Lord Jesus. The more glorious the body is, the more it makes for the glory of the head: the more glorious the bride is, the more it makes for the glory of the bridegroom: for the glory of His power, wisdom, fullness, and goodness; and therefore they shall appear glorious.

The Saints’ Glory is Consistent 
with the Glory of Christ

5. Then, again, they shall appear glorious at the last day, that there may be some suitableness between the head and the members. Oh, what an uncomely thing would it be to see the head to be all of fine gold, and the hands of iron, and the feet of clay! What an uncomely thing would it be to see the bridegroom in all His glorious apparel, and the bride in her rags, or her mourning weeds! The Lord will have it so, that His people at last shall appear glorious, that they may be suitable to their glorious head, unto their precious bridegroom.

It is true, when Christ came first, He came clothed with flesh, and was looked upon as one that had no form nor comeliness nor beauty, that men should desire Him (Isa 53:2, 3). And such a state was the church in to whom he came. Oh! but now when He shall appear "the second time, without sin, to salvation," then He shall appear glorious; and so shall all His saints, that there may be a suitableness between the members and the head, between the bride and bridegroom.

It is a Day of Vindication

6. And then, again, another reason why believers shall appear glorious, is, because that is the very time wherein the most wicked shall justify the goodness and mercy of God in his dealings towards his own people. Oh, here many say with those "What profit is there in serving of God?" (Job 21:15). Who would be as those men are, to carry their lives in their hands? Who would run through so many miseries; and all for others? "What profit is there in honouring of God?" (Mal 3:14). It is a strong affirmation that there is no profit. They are ready to say, when they look upon the sorrows, miseries, and evils that attend the saints in this wilderness, that it is madness and folly to walk holily as they walk, and to do righteously as they do. And so it is taken as axiomatic that "truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey" (Isa 59:15).

Oh, the world accounts them a company of mad, foolish people that refrain from evil. But God will have His people at last appear glorious, that the mouths of ungodly wretches may be stopped, that they may justify God in his goodness and mercy towards his own people. When they shall see those that they accounted monsters and wonders of the world, men not worthy to live in the world, when they shall see crowns set on their heads, and glorious robes put on their backs, oh how will ungodly men gnash teeth, and say, Oh! We thought them fools and madmen, that thus waited on God, and walked with God; but now we see ourselves the only fools, the only mad ones, that have turned our backs on God, and kicked at God, and that have said, "There is no profit in serving of God." Therefore the saints shall appear glorious at the last.

It is a Day of Glorious Judgment

7. The, the last reason why they shall appear glorious, is, because they shall be employed about glorious work: "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor 6:2, 3). Nay, he goes higher, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the angels?" There is a day coming when the saints shall judge the world. They shall be employed in a glorious work. Therefore they shall appear glorious; for the work in which they shall be employed shall be glorious. They shall sit as so many fellow-judges with the Lord Jesus Christ, to say Amen to the righteous sentence that Christ shall pass upon all treacherous and bloody murderers.

O ungodly souls, the day is coming when those that now you have persecuted, murdered, and destroyed, they shall sit upon thrones and shall judge you; they shall say Amen to that glorious sentence that Christ at the last day shall pass upon you. There is a day coming when all those that have rejoiced in the fall of this worthy, and those treacherous wretches that had a hand in this unparalleled butchery, when they shall hold up their hands at the bar of God’s tribunal. There is a day a-coming when the saints shall appear glorious, and this worthy among the rest, to pass a righteous sentence upon such unrighteous, bloody wretches. That is another reason why they shall appear in glory, because they shall be employed in a glorious service, in judging the wicked world, however they have been scoffed at and despised here.

 


Very little of significance is known of the life of Thomas Brooks (1608-80) apart from the fact He was puritan preacher living around the time of the Westminster Assembly. But he is, today, renown to many of us for his sayings which were compiled by Charles Spurgeon entitled "Smooth Stones Taken from Ancient Brooks." Spurgeon says of him: "As a writer, Thomas Brooks scatters stars with both his hands. He has dust of gold. In his storehouse are all manner of precious stones. Genius is always marvellous, but when sanctified it is matchless."

This sermon, which we are reprinting in two parts, with some minor editorial work, was preached at the interment of the Colonel Thomas Rainsborough who was treacherously murdered on Oct 29, 1648. It was Brook’s first published work.

Part 2 of 2