Word of the Week: Glorification

In last week’s post, I noted that salvation can be broken down into three parts: justification, sanctification, and glorification. In previous posts, we’ve addressed justification and sanctification. In today’s post, we will briefly examine the doctrine of glorification.

Glorification is that aspect of salvation where God makes us like himself. To clarify, we will not be gods or deity in any sense. But in glorification, God will grant us perfection: morally, spiritually, intellectually, and bodily.

Before explaining the wonder of what God will do in glorification, let’s set a biblical foundation. There are several Scriptures that underscore what we mean by glory and glorification.

Psalm 24:10 teaches that God is the King of glory who displays splendor and wealth in his person.

Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord of hosts,
    he is the King of glory

Psalm 24:10

John 17:1-5 teaches that Christ glorified the Father with the fame, brightness, and splendor worthy only of God.

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”

John 17:1-5

Later on in Jesus’ High Priestly prayer, Jesus prayed that his followers would share in this glory.

The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

John 17:22-23

Paul reflects on this glory shared with believers as one of the purposes of salvation.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 8:28-29

It is important to note that Christ shares his glory with his followers through his redemptive work on the cross. God’s glory is displayed and declared through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection to a glorified body.

In one sense believers are glorified in two states similar to how we described sanctification. We share at least in part Christ’s glory now (as with positional sanctification). But we await the fullness of glorification until we enter God’s presence and he resurrects our bodies to a glorified state.

The wonder of glorification is that God in his greatness, splendor, wealth, pomp, weight, and magnificence would even notice sinners like you and me. But not only does he notice us, he provides the means for our cleansing and salvation through Christ. Beyond that, his salvation promises that we will share in his glory. When we really consider this, it boggles the imagination. Glorification can be defined in this way:

Glorification is multidimensional. It involves both individual and collective eschatology. It involves the perfecting of the spiritual nature of the individual believer, which takes place at death, when the Christian passes into the presence of the Lord. It also involves the perfecting of the bodies of all believers, which will occur at the time of the resurrection in connection with the second coming of Christ. It even involves transformation of the entire creation (Rom. 8:18-25).

Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 1008.

When God glorifies us, he will make us morally perfect. We will no longer be bound to our sinful state.

When God glorifies us, he will also make us spiritually perfect. We will no longer be subject to internal desires and longings that are outside of God’s will.

When God glorifies us, he will make us intellectually perfect. God will give us right and correct knowledge of himself, ourselves, and all that he has made. While I don’t think this means we will omniscient as God is, I do believe that in our glorified state, our knowledge of God will be more full and clear.

When God glorifies us, he will make us bodily perfect. God will resurrect our body and unite body with soul perfecting us as he intended humanity at creation.

As I finish up this post, I’m humbled. That God would stoop down and step into his creation to save sinners like you and me is an amazing thought. That he would give us the honor of sharing in his glory is astounding. Here are some suggestions on responding to the doctrine of glorification.

  • Praise. God is glorious and he is worthy of our praise. Praise him for his glory and salvation.
  • Pray. God wants us to know him. Thank God for his salvation and that he will hear us when we seek him.
  • Worship. God’s glory deserves our worship. Make time this week to worship alongside other believers for God deserves it.
  • Glorify. God’s grace is beyond imagination. Glorify God that he would save us and privilege us to share in his glory.

Photo by Anna Gru on Unsplash

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