Glorification, a Study in God’s Grace

Glorification, a Study in God’s Grace by Jack Kettler

In this study we will look at the doctrine of the glorification of the believer. The doctrine of glorification and the resurrection are closely related. Everyone at the last day will be resurrected. Not everyone will be glorified.

Glorification:

The final step in the experience of the salvation process and in the application of redemption to believers, in which, at the return of Christ, the bodies of those believers who have died will be raised and reunited with their souls, and the bodies of all those believers still living will be transformed into resurrection bodies like the resurrection body of Christ, so that all believers will be perfectly conformed to the image of the risen and glorified Christ.*

Scriptural Hope:

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)

There are three things to note about Romans 8:30. First, the believer is “called” (through the preaching of the gospel). Second, the believer is “justified” (or declared righteous in Christ). Third, the believer is “glorified” (or transformed). Glorification is still in the future. Like, calling and justification, glorification is an act of God’s grace, meaning unmerited.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible is also helpful on this text:

“Moreover … – In this verse, in order to show to Christians the true consolation to be derived from the fact that they are predestinated, the apostle states the connection between that predestination and their certain salvation. The one implied the other.

Whom he did predestinate – All whom he did predestinate.

Them he also called – Called by his Spirit to become Christians. He called, not merely by an external invitation, but in such a way as that they in fact were justified. This cannot refer simply to an external call of the gospel, since those who are here said to be called are said also to be justified and glorified. The meaning is, that there is a certain connection between the predestination and the call, which will be manifested in due time. The connection is so certain that the one infallibly secures the other.

He justified – See the note at Romans 3:24. Not that he justified them from eternity, for this was not true; and if it were, it would also follow that he glorified them from eternity, which would be an absurdity. It means that there is a regular sequence of events – the predestination precedes and secures the calling; and the calling precedes and secures the justification. The one is connected in the purpose of God with the other; and the one, in fact, does not take place without the other. The purpose was in eternity. The calling and justifying in time.

Them he also glorified – This refers probably to heaven. It means that there is a connection between justification and glory. The one does not exist without the other in its own proper time; as the calling does not subsist without the act of justification. This proves, therefore, the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. There is a connection infallible and ever existing between the predestination and the final salvation. They who are subjects of the one are partakers of the other. That this is the sense is clear,

(1) Because it is the natural and obvious meaning of the passage.

(2) Because this only would meet the design of the argument of the apostle. For how would it be a source of consolation to say to them that whom God foreknew he predestinated, and whom he predestinated he called, and whom he called he justified, and whom he justified “might fall away and be lost forever?” (1)

In the next text from Corinthians, the Apostle Paul informs us of the nature of the resurrection. This instruction from Paul is regarding believers:

“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)

The writer of Hebrews give assurance that all of the godly will be resurrected into glory:

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

Job confesses his faith in the resurrection and meeting the redeemer:

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)

The Apostle Paul says this:

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:52)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary is edifying on this passage:

This change will be on the sudden, in a moment; either upon the will and command of Christ, which shall be as effectual to call persons out of their graves, as a trumpet is to call persons together; or rather, upon a sound made like to the sound of a trumpet, as it was at the giving of the law upon Sinai, Exodus 19:16. We read of this last trump, Matthew 24:31 1 Thessalonians 4:16. There shall (saith the apostle) be such a sound made; and upon the making of it, the saints, that are dead, shall be raised out of their graves; not with such bodies as they carried thither, (which were corruptible), but with such bodies as shall be no more subject to corruption; and those who at that time shall be alive, shall one way or another be changed, and be also put into an incorruptible state. (2)

As said at the beginning, not everyone that is resurrected will be unto glory:

“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2

Confessional agreement:

From The Heidelberg Catechism, Question 57:

Question 57. What comfort does the “resurrection of the body” afford thee?

Answer: That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its Head;1 but also, that this my body, raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like unto the glorious body of Christ.2

(1) Luke 23:43. Phil 1:21-23. (2) 1 Cor. 15:53, 54. Job 19:25-27. I John 3:2.

From The Heidelberg Catechism, Question 58:

Question 58. What comfort do we have from the article of “life everlasting”?

Answer: That, inasmuch as I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy,1 I shall after this life possess complete bliss, such as eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man,2 therein to praise God forever.3

(1) 2 Cor. 5:2, 3. (2) 1 Cor. 2:9. (3) John 17:3. * Rom 8:23. * 1 Pet 1:8.

The reader is encouraged to look up and read the scriptural proof texts for the answers of questions 57 and 58.

From The Apostle’s Creed:

“I believe in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”

Note: the creed is called the Apostle’s ‘creed not because the apostles wrote it, but because it summarized the apostles teaching. At the end of the Apostles Creed it is proclaimed “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” This formulation contains in short the essential component of the Christian’s confidence about the resurrection of the body.

In closing:

How can the teaching of glorification and the resurrection be explicated and summarized? The Scottish theologian John Murray will help.

From Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray:

1. Glorification is associated and bound up with the coming of Christ in glory. The advent of Christ visibly, publicly, and gloriously does not appeal to a great many people who profess the name of Christ. It appears to them to be too naive for the more advanced and mature perspective of present-day Christians. This attitude is quite akin to that of which Peter warned his readers: “there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the Fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:3, 4). It is the same kind of unbelief which entertains doubt respecting the virgin birth of our Lord or denies the substitutionary atonement or spurns the thought of our Lord’s bodily and physical resurrection which can be indifferent to the glorious advent of our Lord on the clouds of heaven. And this unbelief becomes peculiarly aggravated when it scorns the very idea of a return of the Lord bodily, visibly, publicly. If that conviction and hope do not stand at the centre of our perspective for the future, it is because the barest outlines of our frame of thought are destitute of Christian character. The hope of the believer is centred in the coming of the Saviour again the second time without sin unto salvation. Paul calls this “the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13). The believer who knows him whom he has believed and loves him whom he has not seen says, “Amen, come Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20). So indispensable is the coming of the Lord to the hope of glory that glorification for the believer has no meaning without the manifestation of Christ’s glory. Glorification is glorification with Christ. Remove the latter and we have robbed the glorification of believers of the one thing that enables them to look forward to this event with confidence, with joy unspeakable and full of glory. “But rejoice,” Peter wrote, “inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Pet. 4:13).

2. The glorification of believers is associated and bound up with the renewal of creation. It is not only believers who are to be delivered from the bondage of corruption but the creation itself also. “The creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected it” (Rom. 8:20). But “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). And when will this glory of creation be accomplished? Paul leaves us in no doubt. He tells us expressly that the terminus of the groaning and travailing of creation, groaning and travailing because of the bondage of corruption, is nothing other than “the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23). This is just saying that not only do believers wait for the resurrection as that which will bring the liberty of their glory but the creation itself is also waiting for this same event. And that for which it is waiting is that in which it will share, namely, “the liberty of the glory of the children of God.” This is Paul’s way of expressing the same truth which is elsewhere described as the new heavens and the new earth. In Peter’s words, “We according to his promise look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet. 3:13). And Peter associates that cosmic regeneration with that which believers look for and hasten, “the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements being burned up shall melt” (2 Pet. 3:12) (3)

From the (old) International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE):

GLORIFY

glo’-ri-fi: The English word is the equivalent of a number of Hebrew and Greek words whose essential significance is discussed more fully under the word GLORY (which see). The word “glorious” in the phrases “make or render glorious” is used most frequently as a translation of verbs in the original, rather than of genuine adjectives In dealing with the verb it will be sufficient to indicate the following most important uses.

(1) Men may glorify God, that is, give to Him the worship and reverence which are His due (Isa 24:15; 25:3; Ps 22:23; Dan 5:23; Sirach 43:30; Mt 5:16, and generally in the Synoptic Gospels and in some other passages of the New Testament).

(2) God, Yahweh (Yahweh), glorifies His people, His house, and in the New Testament, His Son, manifesting His approval of them and His interest in them, by His interposition on their behalf (Isa 55:5; Jer 30:19; The Wisdom of Solomon 18:8; Sirach 45:3; Jn 7:39, and often in the Fourth Gospel).

(3) By a usage which is practically confined to the Old Testament, Yahweh glorifies Himself, that is, secures the recognition of His honor and majesty, by His direction of the course of history, or by His interposition in history, either the history of His own people or of the world at large (Lev 10:3; Isa 26:15; Ezek 28:22; Hag 1:8). (4)

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Notes:

1. Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Romans, p. 2205.

2. Matthew Poole, Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985), p. 598.

3. John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wm. B. Eerdmans. 1955), pp. 177-178.

4. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. “Definition for ‘GLORIFY,’” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (ISBE), (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, 1915), p. 1235.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:5)

“To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more study:

* For a great source of theological definitions go to Rebecca writes at:

Rebecca Writes: http://www.rebecca-writes.com/theological-terms-in-ao/

Those Whom He Justified He Also Glorified by John Piper https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/those-whom-he-justified-he-also-glorified

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