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The Rev. Charles Camlin: “A Glimpse of the Future for Help in the Present” (2 Peter 1:13-18)

August 28, 2009

It never hurts to be reminded that the Christian faith is one of hope, and from the Rev. Charles Camlin of Holy Trinity REC in Virginia, here is another excellent sermon that affirms just that.  This message is on A Glimpse of the Future for Help in the Present (in PDF format) and was preached for the Feast of the Transfiguration.  In this sermon, based on 2 Peter 1:13-18, Fr. Camlin talks about “the glimpse of hope which Christ offers us in the Transfiguration, the promise associated with that hope, and the exhortation of this hope.”  And there is no doubt that the Transfiguration of our Lord does give us a glimpse of blessed hope, as Fr. Camlin points out:

First of all, let us consider the glimpse of hope which is
recalled in the Transfiguration.  St. Peter writes in verses 16-18:  “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”  The false teachers that St. Peter was combating based their teachings on what he called “cunningly devised fables.”  The Greek word used here refers to fictitious myths.  They were teaching what they had devised in their own twisted minds.  But Peter says, we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In other words, the content of his teaching, along with the other Apostles, was not what they had devised on their own but was based upon what they had heard and witnessed.

He says, “[we] were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”  Then he
recalls that day on the mountain when he and James and John
witnessed Jesus Christ being transformed before their very eyes.  St. Luke records in his gospel that when Christ was transfigured, “the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.”  This event is so rich that we could not unfold all of its mysteries in ten sermons.  But one aspect of the Transfiguration of Christ that I want to focus upon is the fact that it gave His disciples a glimpse of His future glory.  The Transfiguration foreshadowed the King of Kings in the fullness of His Kingdom.  In other words, it gave them a glimpse of His Second Advent when He would come on clouds descending.

How do we know this?  Well, if you read the context of this
event in the gospels, you will see that it follows some important statements.  Take Luke for example (since we read it this morning).  Right before he records the Transfiguration, he recalls the occasion when Jesus asked His disciples what the crowds were saying about Him.  After hearing what the crowds were saying, He changed the question and said, “But who do you say that I am?”  This is where we hear St. Peter’s famous confession, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And immediately after this, Christ tells them not to tell anyone yet.  Then He goes on to predict His impending death.

Then, in the verses right before our reading today, He tells
His disciples:  “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?  “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.  “But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”  That last phrase links what is previously said (namely, about the Second Coming of Christ) to the Transfiguration.  Those who were standing there who would not taste death before they saw the Kingdom of God were Peter, James and John.  They were the very ones who eight days later saw Him transfigured before their very eyes.  In other words, they received a glimpse of His future Kingdom that day on the mountain.  They saw what He was going to look like in that Day when He returns to earth in all of His glory.  They received a vision of His future Second Coming.

This is why St. Peter has hope!  Right before his impending
death, he recalls the Transfiguration and the hope that he had
from being an eyewitness of it.  And he wanted to convey that
hope to the Church.  Today, as we live in a world where hope is
scarce; as we suffer in the Church from all sorts of false teachers who have infiltrated her walls; as we frequently suffer and move slowly toward our own impending death, we need hope.  We need to catch a glimpse of that future glory which we shall see and experience when our Savior returns to consummate all things.  The Return of Jesus Christ to resurrect our bodies and to transform this world is the ground and basis of our eternal hope.

Many people today ask “Where is the hope?”  This sermon does a splendid job of stating where that hope can be found – please read it all.

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