“The Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis was frequently asked to speak for various audiences. “The Weight of Glory” was one such speech, and the book bearing the same name is actually a collection of different speeches Lewis gave.

In his speech, “The Weight of Glory,” Lewis delineates fives main promises of Scripture:

  1. That we shall be with Christ;
  2. That we shall be like Him;
  3. With an enormous wealth of imagery, that we shall have “glory”;
  4. That we shall, in some sense, be fed or feasted or entertained; and
  5. That we shall have some sort of official position in the universe – ruling cities, judging angels, being pillars of God’s temple. (34)

This speech focuses on the “glory” promised us.

Lewis begins with two obvious synonyms for glory: 1) Fame – meaning better known than other humans; and 2) Luminosity – meaning brightness. He quickly dismisses the first kind of glory – fame – as “a competitive passion” and then discounts the second kind of glory – luminosity – by rhetorically asking, “who wishes to become a kind of living electric light bulb?” (36).

Then what kind of glory can Scripture mean?

Reverting to the first definition of glory, Lewis concludes that the glory promised us is, indeed, in “the sense of fame or good report. But not fame conferred by our fellow creatures” (36). Rather, the glory promised us is fame with God. In other words, we will be known by Him.

Admittedly, the sound of “fame with God” seems odd at first. But then again, Lewis reminds us of Jesus’ words recorded in the parable of the talents. The Master, God the Father, will say to some:

“Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)

Conversely, God – in all of His omniscience – will also say to others:

“I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23)

Thus, being known by God is the greatest glory possible since that will be the moment we pass on to eternal glory.

Lewis concedes that some may dislike his idea “of heaven as a place where we are patted on the back” (38). However, Lewis also acknowledges:

“. . . that we shall ‘stand before’ Him, shall appear, shall be inspected. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God.” (38)

Glory. To be known by God.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for glory, kabod, means heavy, “thus, weighty or important.”

The weight of glory.

What practical use, in the here and the now, is this promise of glory?

Lewis answers:

“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; [yet] it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.” (45)

The weight of glory.

This entire speech, in sum, exhorts the honest believer to consider his neighbor’s future glory, his neighbor’s eternal destiny. This is the weight of glory.

2 thoughts on ““The Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis

  1. I am so far behind!!! I finished reading Perelandra in June, and will post on it shortly. I haven't started That Hideous Strength yet.

    But I did write up extensive notes on the Weight of Glory and another essay from that collection, Transposition, when I read it last year. So I'll be digging those out soon. Your post brought it all back so clearly. Those essays were hard to read – very deep – but so worth it! Very interesting that the Hebrew word for glory is “heavy”. I liked how you broke it down into five points, too. Now I'm excited to read back over my notes…

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