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Bruce’s Hope

Bruce Stayton, a dear friend and family member, recently passed away.  For his memorial service held on July 16, 2016, I felt led to share the following about his hope to come forth in celestial glory in the resurrection of the just (cf. I Corinthians 15:39-42 and II Corinthians 12:1,2 with D&C 76:5).  As his health slipped away the last several years of his life, Bruce grew more and more valiant in his testimony of this glorious kingdom and his desire to be a part of it.  Though it is written, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), Bruce knew the free gift of God’s salvation and the reward of being in the fullness of His presence (i.e. in the fullness of His light and love) awaits all who love God and seek to live for Him in this world by keeping His commandments.  And I believe Bruce has so received and that he would encourage each of us to likewise seek the same to God’s glory and honor while we are yet present in this life.

Bruce often spoke of his desire to be in celestial glory. His unmistakable hope of being received into celestial glory in the resurrection of the just spoke of his unshakable confidence in Jesus Christ.

Not only did his steadfastness in this desire provide an anchor for his own soul, Bruce’s unassuming witness of his hope brought encouragement to others.

What exactly is this glory to which Bruce aspired, and why was his determination to enter into this glory both inspiring and important?

In the beginning, God created each of us in His own image (Genesis 1:27-29). By doing so, God foreordained, even predestined each of us to be like Himself.  And by doing so, God created us for glory, His own glory.

What is God like? What is His glory?

In his first epistle to the church, John the Beloved wrote God is light and God is love.

From I John 1:5 we read, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

And from I John 4:15,16 we read, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.   And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

As spoken of in the scriptures, this God who created us and sustains us day by day and moment by moment, is the Lord of glory and the King of glory, and His Spirit is called the Spirit of glory.

This, then, is what God intends for our lives: for us to be filled with His light and love, and to dwell in His light and love.  Plainly stated, according to His design, God Himself intends to dwell within us and we in Him through His Spirit (see John 15:1-17 with Ephesians 2:19-22).

You see, God created us to be His dwelling place, His habitation, His temple (see I Corinthians 3:9-17 & I Corinthians 6:19,20 with II Corinthians 6:16). For as both Stephen and Paul testified, God does not dwell in temples made by hands (Acts 7:48,49 & Acts 17:24-28).  Rather, God dwells in the hearts of the righteous (Alma 16:235-236).

This understanding is the key to understanding Bruce’s hope and determination. For in Isaiah 42:8 the Lord tells us:

I am the Lord; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”

Note how the Lord states that He will not give His glory to another.[1]  Instead, as described elsewhere, He will share it with His creation by being one with them (see John 17:5,22-24 with Romans 8:16,17 & Revelation 3:21,22).

To help explain this distinction, recall how, in the beginning, there was an angel named Lucifer who wanted God’s glory for himself. Therefore, he rebelled against God and was cast out of God’s presence – outside of God’s glory.

In his attempt to rob God of His glory, Satan, or the devil as he is now called, became corrupted and drew a third of the host of heaven away after him. He also tempted our first parents in an attempt to draw away all mankind from God and to therewith establish his own kingdom of glory.  However, since there can be no glory without God, Satan’s eternal abode became a state of “no glory.”

Because our first parents were cast out of God’s presence by rebelling against God’s word, the generations that followed were born into a fallen state; thus, they were born into a state of separation from God.

But God had a plan, called the plan of salvation, which was designed to restore mankind to His presence in glory.

According to God’s plan, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins upon the cross to reconcile us unto God and to restore us into the fullness of His presence.

By being raised from the dead after atoning for our sins, our Lord conquered death for all mankind so that everyone would be brought before Him to be judged according to their own decisions and actions while in the flesh – and not according to the fall of Adam.

Those who have a desire like Bruce’s desire to dwell with God will be filled with glory, God’s glory, in God’s presence. On the other hand, those who love darkness more than light will receive another reward outside the fullness of God’s presence (see John 3:3-22).

It was because Jesus Christ satisfied God’s justice on our behalf and now extends to us His mercy that Bruce had hope, specifically the hope of being received into the fullness of God’s presence and glory (see Colossians 1:27).

In other words, Bruce sought to fulfill the end of his creation, to be what God intended for him to be from the beginning.

God created each of us to have fellowship with Him, to appreciate and to love what He appreciates and loves – which we can only know by being in His presence. Again, this was Bruce’s desire.

Like Bruce, each of us is faced with a choice. Do we want to be like the God who created us in light and love, or no?

Do we want to fulfill His purpose in creating us in His image, or no? If yes, God will fill us with His presence.

Bruce knew that our God is good, very good. He knew God’s words, and trusted in His promises.  Here is one that has come to mind in particular as I have prayed about Bruce’s witness of his hope and desires in Jesus Christ.

D&C 85:6c,6d for, notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again a spiritual body: they who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body, which was a natural body: even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened. Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory, shall then receive of the same, even a fullness

In Jesus Christ each of us has been given the opportunity to aspire unto this precious glory as did Bruce. And if we are quickened by even a portion of this glory, we will receive of the same, even the fullness of the Father.

And I am assured that Bruce would encourage each one of us to exercise this same faith, even if we feel inadequate in some or many ways. Bruce would say to you, “Hope in Jesus Christ and set this as your heart’s desire, to be one with Him in the fullness of His glory.”

Remember, Jesus Christ is coming again in glory and, as He has said, His reward is with Him.  Jesus is returning to give to each of us the measure of Himself – in light and love – according to that measure we are willing to receive from Him.

In I Corinthians 15, Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote of how in the resurrection of the dead, there will be three distinct glories that will be manifest. He identified one day glory and two night glories.  And as we read elsewhere in the scriptures, for those who die in their sins, they will inherit no glory with Satan in a state outside the light and love of God in which there is only the coldness of darkness forever.

In his ministry, Paul spoke often of the resurrection. In his teaching he likened the difference between the three glories to the difference between the light of the day and that which is limited to the night.

In practical terms, those who come forth in the one day glory will enjoy the fullness of God’s presence.

Those who come forth in one of the night glories will not receive of His fullness, for as John tells us, in God there is no darkness. Thus, those who abide in a night glory cannot abide in His fullness.

Put in the context of Paul’s parable about the resurrection,[2] people who come forth in the spirit of either night glory – that of the glory of the moon or the glory of the stars – will not be able to see the vividness of colors or experience the clarity of vision that comes with being in the presence of the light of the day.

To conclude, remember that it is not news to learn that someone has sinned or that we ourselves have sinned. And remember in particular how it’s not newsworthy to report on another’s sin.  God has already declared that all have sinned and come short of His glory.

What then is newsworthy? The gospel is newsworthy and of utmost importance to each one of us.  Jesus Christ is coming in glory to restore to those who are willing the glory God intended for us in the beginning when creating us in His image.  And this gift Jesus most assuredly will give to all who love His appearing, to all whose hope it is to be like Him when He returns in glory (see II Timothy 4:8 with I John 3:1-3).  This was Bruce’s hope, and it was and is his abiding hope for each one of us as we approach the day of our Lord’s return.


[1] In John 17 Jesus speaks of giving the glory He received of the Father with His apostles.  He did so for a particular purpose: that they might be one together in Him.  Hence the clarification in this statement that our Lord shares His glory with us instead of giving it to us outside of our being one with Him.

[2]Why Three Glories: Part 1 – Eyes to See & Ears to Hear

1 thought on “Bruce’s Hope

  1. Beautiful!… Thanks for sharing your funeral “remarks”… I seem to understand better, when I can READ
    something!… Guess I’m a “visual learner”!!!…:) This is SO comforting!… and it does give ME “Hope”!…
    Which I’m sure pleases Bruce.. I’m so glad you shared these thoughts!… L&P, Mom

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