praise

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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Charles Dickens made the ghosts of Christmas famous in his legendary character Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. The ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future showed and taught Scrooge how his miserly ways were destroying the Christmas spirit. No doubt many of us today are haunted by our own forms of selfishness and materialism. But in this post, I’m dealing with ghosts of a different nature—the ones that might haunt our attitudes, demeanors and relationships this Christmas season.

The ghost of life past—unforgiveness. Most of us have been hurt by others. Some of us have been hurt deeply. And in many cases the hurts of our past haunt our present. While we can never undo the experiences and hurts of our past, we can choose to forgive those who have wronged us. Forgiveness is a divine expectation for followers of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is for us not for those who’ve wronged us. Too many people this Christmas season will suffer in bitterness because they won’t forgive others. I don’t want to appear insensitive. I’m grieved for those who have experienced betrayal, hate, abuse, neglect, or any number of other deeply disturbing pains. In fact, Jesus himself is deeply grieved over your pain. All too often our pains were perpetrated by family members whom we will face over the holidays. To exorcise this ghost, you must choose to forgive those who’ve wronged you. To forgive does not mean that you can forget or that you must trust the individual again. It simply means that you must choose not to hold bitterness, anger, or punishment against them in your own hand. As I noted above, to forgive is divine. You need the power of the Holy Spirit to forgive. And YOU need to forgive for YOURSELF. Christmas is about forgiveness—God was deeply wronged by our sin, and he sent his perfect Son to forgive us. I urge you. Please search your heart and forgive any bitterness that remains from your past.

The ghost of life present—busyness. Today’s Christmas season begins right after Halloween and drives us to shopping malls, internet deals, numerous parties, trips, and events. While many things require our attention, time, and attendance, they can often exhaust the joy out of our holiday. Why? Because we are so focused on getting things done, pleasing others, and finalizing tasks, we often fail to appreciate the simplicity of the real reason for the Christmas season. To exorcise this ghost, set aside a time to pause and celebrate the real reason for the season—Jesus. Learn to appreciate the simple quiet moments of the season—the beauty of a classic Christmas carol, the wonder on the face of a young child enamored with Christmas “twinklie” lights, or even the quiet moments you may off day during Christmas season. Make time to pause, to be thankful, and to celebrate Jesus, the Lord and Savior.

The ghost of life future—worry. Some of us (okay, probably all of us to some degree) get sidetracked by our concerns and worries. We worry about what decision we’re supposed to make, how we’re going to pay a bill (or pay for Christmas), or how we’re going to reconcile a relationship. We worry about these types of things and a lot more. Sometimes we attempt to veil our worry as a “concern,” but most often we are still being sinful by focusing on what is not ours to deal with. In Matthew 6:31-34, Jesus tells us not to be anxious—not to worry. In fact, most of what we worry about are things in the future that we have no control over. Being haunted by the ghost of life future shackles our faith and hampers our ability to focus on the God who loves us and will take care of us. To exorcise this ghost, we must replace our worries with the One who is called Wonderful. Trust must take the place of worry. Sounds a bit simple, right? Yes, it actually is simple. We trust when we begin to look at the Sovereign, Wonderful, Lord of all instead of our concerns and worries. The best way to focus on our Lord instead of our situations is to read his Word, spend time in prayer, and recount the many ways that he has already intervened in our lives.

There are certainly other ghosts that might haunt us this season. But at least in my own life unforgiveness, busyness, and worry have at times stolen my joy. These ghosts lead us to be miserly, selfish, grumpy, and generally unpleasant—picture Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch. To borrow from the Bible translation of my childhood (the King James translation) the Holy Ghost is the only One who can chase away the ghosts that haunt and strip our joy away. God have us the Holy Ghost so we could forgive, praise, and trust. May we experience a renewed relationship with God this Christmas and have an abundance of the joy he brings.