salvation

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.

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The word, Messiah, comes from the Old Testament. It means “anointed one.” Transliterated into the New Testament, Messiah, is Christ.

Jesus, or in Hebrew Jeshua, is the given name for God’s Son born to Mary (Matthew 1:21). Jesus means “savior” or “Yahweh saves.” We should not think of Christ as a family lame or last name like we use names today. When we use the combination Jesus Christ, the Bible is reflecting the given name of God’s Son, Jesus, and his title, Christ or Messiah. Jesus is the anointed One come from God.

Messianic prophecies span the Old Testament.

  • The Messiah would be anointed king (Genesis 49:10; Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6-7; 16:5).
  • The Messiah would be anointed priest (Psalm 110:4; Zechariah 6:13).
  • The Messiah would be anointed prophet (Isaiah 61:1-2; Deuteronomy 18:18).
  • The Messiah would be anointed judge (Isaiah 2:4; 11:3-4; Micah 4:3).
  • The Messiah would be anointed servant of God (Isaiah 42:1-4; 52:13-53:12)

The Jews of Jesus’ day were looking for the Messiah. They longed for the anointed One of God to free them from Roman rule and lead them back to prominence. The problem with the Messianic theology of Jesus’ day was that many were looking only for a political Messiah. Even the disciples were guilty of this perspective (Matthew 16:21-23).

In my previous word of the week posts, we have reflected on the doctrines related to Christology (Christ) and soteriology (salvation). Today’s post about Jesus as Messiah culminates the primary biblical storyline.

Jesus is the theme of the Bible. It is right and accurate to describe Jesus as the centerpiece of salvation history and biblical history. The Old Testament anticipated his coming in the Messianic prophecies. The Old Testament also prefigured his coming through salvation analogies (the Tabernacle and the Temples, the priesthood, the sacrificial system, the Law, and the Kingship).

When we read about Jesus in the New Testament, he fulfilled the prophecies and anticipations of the Old Testament.

  • Jesus Christ is the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2; John 18:37; 19:3).
  • Jesus Christ is the Great High Priest (1 John 2:1; Hebrews 4:14ff).
  • Jesus Christ is the Prophet who speaks God’s Words (John 1:1; Matthew 7:28-29).
  • Jesus Christ is the Judge (John 5:30; Acts 17:31).
  • Jesus Christ is the Servant of God (John 13:1-20; Mark 10:45).
  • Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17).
  • Jesus Christ is the Temple where we meet God (Matthew 12:6; 26:61).
  • Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29, 36; 1 Peter 2:24).

There is no theme more central to God’s purposes in the Bible than the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.

On this special day in Christian liturgy, Good Friday, we should necessarily reflect and meditate on Jesus Christ (Savior and Anointed One).

It is because he is Savior that we celebrate today. It is because he is God’s Lamb slain once for all that we can have forgiveness. It is because he is our Great High Priest that our sins can be atoned. It is because he fulfilled God’s Law that he can take our place. It is because he is King that the powers and authorities (our enemies) are subject to him. It is because he is Judge that our sins are judged and that he is sure to judge the sinfulness of the world. It is because he is God’s Servant who gave himself for us that we can meet God.

None of what we celebrate on Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday would be possible if Jesus were not all that the Bible declares him to be. He must be God. For only God can take on himself the sins of the world. He must be man for only man can adequately serve as our substitute. He must be perfect for only a perfect sacrifice will be accepted. He must be all that God promised he would be and all that God says he is. None of what we celebrate on Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday would be possible if Jesus were not all that the Bible declares him to be. He must be God. For only God can take on himself the sins of the world. He must be man for only man can adequately serve as our substitute. He must be perfect for only a perfect sacrifice will be accepted. He must be all that God promised he would be and all that God says he is.

The reason that the tragedy of the false accusations, faux trial, injustice, hate, and suffering of Jesus does not negate the goodness of God is that it accomplished God’s plan for salvation. Good Friday is good not because of the injustice, suffering, and hate Jesus experienced, but because Jesus’ experiences bring us the privilege of salvation. Through the person and work of Jesus we can know God.

Our redemption could not have happened unless Jesus Christ faced the terrible tragedies of Good Friday.

It is because of this day, Good Friday, in human and Christian history that we can celebrate salvation.

The entire plan of salvation, from the purpose of God in eternity to its outworking in human history, comes to focus in Jesus of Nazareth. Just as the work of Christ cannot be separated from his person, so what he did and who he is are right at the heart of the biblical message. Christology is the heartbeat of the Christian faith.

Robert Letham, The Work of Christ, 23.

Good Friday encourages us to meditate on Jesus Christ, his person and work. Make some time today to look up the verses above. Consider who Christ is, what he did, and what that means for our redemption.

As the Old Testament anticipated the coming of the Messiah, so Good Friday anticipated the resurrection of the Messiah. Today is a day for contemplation and confession. But it is also a day to rejoice and celebrate the redeeming work of Jesus Christ: Savior and Messiah.

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