Course: The Doctrine of Salvation (Soteriology)
The Promise of Glorification
All of the ideas and principles conveyed by the instructor in this course are not necessarily held by the Blue Letter Bible ministry.
Our final doctrine of salvation is glorification. Is anybody ready for that? May it come quickly! Turn to Romans 8—Glorification. We have a very familiar English word that comes off of this, the doxology. The doxology was and is sung in a lot of churches that perhaps are more liturgical and formal. Sometimes it is sung in a lot of baptistic-type churches when they take the offering. You probably know it. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” That’s the doxology. Well, doxa is glory. And of course logos, the study of or a word of glory and it’s a glory to God. Praise Him for all the blessing He’s bestowed upon us. So we’re going to study doxology today.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, [here comes our first word] that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with [and here it comes again] the glory which shall be revealed in us. [So it’s future.]
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation [the display] of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the [there it is again] glorious liberty of the children of God. [When we’re glorified we’ll finally be free. Free at last!]
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption [or setting free ] of our body.
Now we’re getting a definition of glorification, the redemption of your body. You are redeemed from the penalty of sin through justification. You are redeemed from the power of sin through sanctification. And you’re redeemed from the presence of sin through glorification.
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26 Likewise [in the same manner as the creation groaning and everyone of us groaning, likewise] the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. [We groan. All creation groans. And the Spirit groans.]
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [Predestination based on foreknowledge] to be conformed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also [what?] glorified.
20For our conversation[or our conduct or manner of life] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his [what kind of body?] glorious body.
Once again as Romans 8 did, Philippians 3 clarifies that glorification deals with the physical body. “It will be fashioned like unto the body of His glory. According to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (cf. Philippians 3:21).
Now just over a page or two to Colossians 3:1-4.
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, [There’s no probability there, the Greek grammar would be since, or if and it is so that you are risen with Christ.] seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set you affection on things above not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in [what?] glory.
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the Sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, [that confirms what we just read in Colossians 3:4] when he shall appear we shall be like him; [Philippians 3:21 says that ‘we shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body; so it’s a physical likeness. Something about our body that will be similar to his.] for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure.
You think you need a body change? Now some of us who have not yet concluded that we are God’s gift to the world, look into the mirror in the morning and think – “I need a change!” See our bodies are falling apart.
Another thing that happens when you get older is you’re bending over to tie your shoes. You think, “I wonder if there’s anything else I can do while I’m down here.” It’s not easy to get back up, you understand. So the older we get, the more we are getting ready for glory. Physical disability, physical illness can also be used by God to get you to anticipate glory. But age is one that gets us all. So given enough time, you will long for glory. Amen?
Okay, now, let’s just walk through simple points about glorification from God’s Word and see if we’ve got this down. First of all, we know it’s a result of our salvation. When we read in Romans 8:29-30, “whom He foreknew He predestinated, called, justified.” Those are the ones that are glorified. No one else will be glorified.
That’s interesting to me because apparently the unbeliever is resurrected at the end of the millennial reign of Christ to stand before God in some sort of a body. But it’s not a resurrected body because both body and soul will be cast into hell. People say, “Well why did God give a body to disembodied spirits that are being resurrected to stand before the Great White Throne Judgment?” There’s a lot of argument about that. I don’t really know from the Bible what the answer is. My guess is that the body in which we sinned and rejected the Lord will be that body in which we experience the punishment of God forever.
Some say, “No, because of the fire of hell the body will be burned up.” We do know however, that the Lord said the worm, referring to the body that will decay, he said, “…in the place called Gehenna where there is eternal fire, the worm dieth not, neither is the fire quenched” (cf. Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:43-44). It’s actually one of the most horrible subjects that one could even look at and one which we share with lost people with broken heart and tears. As Paul said, “he warned people day and night with tears” (cf. Acts 20:31). We don’t want anyone to go to hell. But it is interesting, isn’t it, that there will be a resurrection of the unbelievers body, but it isn’t glory. So apparently the results of sin and corruption are still visibly demonstrated to unbelievers in hell. That’s a subject we don’t know a lot about. We just have a few verses. I just mentioned some phrases, but we do know we’re going to be glorified. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 says,
13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
14 Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the [what?] glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Glorification you see, is a result of our salvation. Hebrews 2:9-13 basically says the same in a little different way.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; [probably referring to his resurrection] that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
In other words the statement is said, “Our Lord, made lower than the angels [Looks like He’s stripped a bit of glory for the suffering of death] “yet was crowned with glory.” He wants us to understand that no matter what we’ve suffered, there’s going to be a glory that comes.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto [what?] glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect [or complete] through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
The obvious point is those who are going to be brought into glory, are sons, are children, are those who have been saved. So glorification is a result of our salvation.
Secondly, glorification is described as a relationship with Jesus Christ. Now class, I broke this down into four statements, because I felt it needed to be understood. It’s kind of hard to understand. We know that when the Lord comes again we’re going to be glorified. We’re going to have a brand new body fashioned like the Lord’s glorious body. But glorification, that final fact, is also a process that begins at salvation.
This is a difficult subject but let’s just think for a moment about a caterpillar. What is the true DNA of a caterpillar? Is it a caterpillar or is it a butterfly? We know it is a butterfly. That’s the reason it becomes a butterfly. If you would check the DNA of a caterpillar to begin with, that little worm, you find out it is in fact the genetic properties of a butterfly. But it’s been in that caterpillar shell during most of its life. It gets crusty. It finally falls off.
That’s a little bit the way we are. First we’re described as being a worm. I know it’s not building your self-esteem today. But you’re described as being a worm. And what happens is you get old. You get crusty. See. The Bible says that our outward man is getting crusty, decaying, but the inward man is being renewed (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:16). It won’t be long until the crusty shell will drop off that you’ve been looking at. You actually think you know me, but you don’t know me really like the Lord does. And inside of me is a butterfly. But David said, I’m going to fly away. He was talking about it. One day I’m going to fly away.
Years ago when I was in my biology class, the teacher wanted to demonstrate metamorphosis, which is a Bible word by the way. Morphe is the exact nature of something; meta, which is sometimes translated ‘with’ or ‘after,’ when it’s put on a compound word comes to mean that alongside of whatever is the exact nature will come after it something that doesn’t look like it. So it comes to mean change. So metamorphosis comes to mean that the true nature of a thing will cause that thing that you now see to change and become something else. Well, the Bible says that metamorphosis is going on in us.
But anyway, in my biology classroom, he wanted to demonstrate it. And every day he would march us through the lab to see this dumb little caterpillar. Take a look at it every day—little ceremony. We’d all march through. Yeah, it’s still a crummy little worm. We’d go back to class. I remember the day that he was so excited. He says, “Oh, you will not believe what just happened.” He filed us by and it there was a little wing stuck out of the crusty shell. He said, “It won’t be long now.” And while we were all watching the little wing went back in. Just a crusty shell again. That got into my mind. And by the way, before the semester was out the shell dropped off and we had a little butterfly. Yea, all right! That got in my mind and I thought, “You know, that is what it is to be a Christian.”
When you come to know the Lord, your true DNA is born of the Spirit of God. You’re a partaker of the divine nature. “And it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2). Now that DNA, the genetic properties which you have in you, which comes from the Lord and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, interestingly is affecting you on the inside. So the very word that the Bible uses to describe you is metamorphosis. But I thought that once in a while you do something that reminds us of Jesus, so I call that leaking out glory. You sort of dribbled a little glory. And then the next minute you’re acting carnal again and we say, “Well, maybe not.” We look at people and say, “They must be a Christian. Look at what they just did. That’s so beautiful!” And then the next moment, “Nah, I guess not.”
You know, it’s like that’s what life is all about. And we’re continually sticking wings out of our shells, because God through His powerful Holy Spirit allows us at times to manifest the glory of Jesus Christ. Is everybody still with me?
Now, let’s just see if we can find out about this. 2 Corinthians 4, see what else we can find. This relationship with Jesus Christ which is glorification, we’ve mapped out for you in four simple statements that I hope will kind of clarify for you what’s going on.
First of all, this exalts God’s power when this glorification process goes on in a believer that’s in a caterpillar shell. Here’s the argument. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, [Gave you a new genetic property.] to give the light of the knowledge of [the what?] glory of God in the face or person of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure [the glory of God in the person of Christ], in earthen vessels, [clay pots].” You don’t look like much.
Actually in ancient Corinth along that city that leads right to the Bema seat where there are excavations of ancient shops, I’ve been there many times. They have pottery there that has come from the excavations that are the clay pots mentioned here. They made them kind of crummy, real quickly they make them. They set them around the house. They put their valuables in them, thinking that when a thief came in he wouldn’t suspect that the good stuff was in the crummy pot.
See, Paul is making reference to this practice by the Corinthians. We have this treasure in earthen vessels, clay pots. Why? “That the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). You see, God wants to display the beauty of the Lord Jesus in your life. But He does it so that He gets the glory. So that everybody says, “That had to be the Lord, because we know what he’s like and he’s a stinker. So that sweetness that flowed out of him a moment ago, that just had to be the Lord because we know what he’s really like.”
Yes, it exalts God’s power. When the glorification process that is started at conversion that will culminate at the Second Coming, while it’s going on inside of us, it exalts God’s power, because only God can do that.
A lot of people try to duplicate it. Like setting out one morning saying, “I’m going to be really nice today to people and reflect the glory of Jesus Christ.” You’ll probably blow it the first hour. I mean, it’s like whenever you set it up and you try to do it, you just fall flatter than a pancake. You can’t do it. It comes from the Lord; trusting in the Lord’s power, not yours.
Another thing is that 2 Corinthians 3…and here is one of the most remarkable passages on the glory that we’re talking about. Now in the opening eleven verses what he does basically is compare the glory of the Old Testament law, Ten Commandments with the glory of your new life in Christ, the Holy Spirit. Like, verse 6 [2Cr 3:6], “The letter killeth.” He’s not talking about the verses of the Bible as some people say. He’s talking about the Ten Commandments that they were intended to condemn. Not to give life. The Spirit gives life. But what he says, pick it up in verse seven. “If the ministration of death, [for death is the consequence of violating God’s law] written and engraven in stones, was [what?] glorious.
Now how do we know that the law was glorious aside from the standpoint that the Bible says the law reflects the glory of God? How do we actually know? And the answer of this passage is, God allowed His glory to be reflected off of the face of Moses. In fact, the radiance of God’s own nature reflecting off of his face was so powerfully, they requested that he put a vail on because it was blinding the eyes of the people who looked at Moses (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:7). The interesting thing is that glory, over a period of time, faded. It just kind of faded out and then he didn’t have to wear the vail anymore. Then he’d go back up on to the Mount and the same thing would happen again. Now that was glorious but it wasn’t lasting.
Now I think we’re ready for 2 Corinthians 2:11-17,
11 For if that which is done away was glorious, [and it was] much more that which remaineth is glorious.
12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: [or boldness. He’s trying to put this together for us.]
13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: [Because that faded.]
14 But their minds were blinded: [Apparently there was something more than physical eyesight.] for until this day remaineth the same vail [That’s interesting.] untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.
[In other words, when you come to know the Lord you can see it clearer.]
15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, [Which he is every Shabbat, every Sabbath day.] the vail is upon their heart.
16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
There’s a long process in our life by which a lot of the old things and attitudes and habits and perspectives drop away. I was thinking the other day about this when I was preparing for the class. I was thinking about how I don’t want anything anymore. Now, please understand me. I’m not in total apathy and complacency. But it just hit me as I was reading God’s word about contentment and being satisfied with what He was going to do in our lives, and it hit me that I don’t want anything anymore. And you know I thought, this is really a lot nicer way to live. This is really a great way to live. I’m just happy with life. But that’s something that’s in the Lord’s hands. But I just got thinking, I really like life now a lot. I’m not dissatisfied about anything. It’s really a joy. And I think to myself, what happened here?
And one day, because of the work of the Holy Spirit of God on that spiritual DNA God placed in you when you got saved, all of a sudden there’s a new feeling about things, a new perspective, a new attitude.
And I see a lot of Christians in turmoil, like they’re upset about everything. If you look at circumstances in life there’s a lot of reason to be upset. You take my car for instance. You know those little rubber things they have down, hooked on the bumper. I don’t know what they’re for. That thing came down, scraped on the road caught on fire on my way up here. It could have got in the engine, blown up. You would have had to get another teacher. But anyway, I thanked the Lord for that. And yanked all that awful rubber off and got it off. I started going and the flap that covers the bottom of your engine, of course, was hooked to that. So now, it’s flop, flop, flop…all the way up here. So I stopped down the road here a ways and tried to fix it. I didn’t have anything in my car. I looked for everything. Is there wire? Is there a bolt? Nothing. You know, so I just kind of put it up on the ledge, held it, you know, gently and knocked it a couple times and it stayed. So I got back up here all right. But I thought to myself, what a silly thing. You know, I don’t care about that dumb thing at all. I may even rip the whole thing off.
But do you understand me? I think years ago I’d have been all bent out of shape over that. It doesn’t mean I can’t get bent out of shape over some things. Life changes and God brings tests to us that are different as we get older. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be tested. But understand that God is really making you into something beautiful and it’s not you. That’s a mystery isn’t it? But yet it is you.
How do we understand the invisible, immaterial part of us? That’s like Jesus Christ being manifested through our physical body. No wonder Paul said, “The members of your body, they’re just instruments of righteousness.” The same word is also used for weapons. It’s kind of interesting that your attitudes—what you are inside—is reflected in the way your body acts. And what a reminder of what glorification is. It certainly excels all the glory of the law!
By the way, in John 17:5, the Lord Jesus wants us to experience His glory among ourselves. Well, I should have imagined that because what is real unity? Isn’t it the life of Jesus Christ? What else makes us unified? We disagree on everything under the sun. We start different brand name churches to just allow for the differences. So how in the world can you ever see “that they may be one as we are…the glory which I had with You before…I’m going to give to them” (John 17:11).
Do you understand that what makes us one is the life of Jesus Christ? And there’s nothing more beautiful than to see a group of Christians who aren’t like each other at all really glorifying and praising God and honoring Him. And God’s glory is seen. But instead of bragging about, boy I’ll tell you, we had a great meeting! What a glorious occasion. Boy, we’ve got to put another one on like that! Oh, no, no, no. If it was glorious then God did it.
And I think that’s what I’m trying to say that it is expressed in the believer’s life through the work of the Holy Spirit. Glorification starts at salvation and will be publicly seen in all of its beauty at the Second Coming of Christ. Wow!
Which of course, number three would be simply understood, wouldn’t it? Glorification involves the return of Jesus Christ. That’s what Colossians 3:4 said, 2 Thessalonians 1:10, and Titus 2:13. “Looking for the blessed hope and the [what kind of appearing?] glorious…the appearing of glory.” 1 Peter 1:7 he talks about the glory at that wonderful moment when we see Jesus.
Now glorification, as we said, involves the resurrection of our physical bodies. We saw that in Romans 8:14-23. We saw it in Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-3. Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 15 and take another kind of a look at it. This is a very difficult passage but a very important one in understanding the resurrection body that you and I are going to have. 1 Corinthians 15:39.
“All flesh is not the same flesh: [Good-bye evolution.] there is one kind of flesh of men, another…”
You know, this is one passage that if you want to fight the creation-evolution argument, you should look at carefully. There are two words in Greek for another. One means another of the same kind—the word, allos. The other means another of a different kind, heteros. Which do you think it is here when it says flesh of men and another of beasts? Exactly right, a different kind! When it says “another of fishes,” what do you expect to see? Another of the same kind that’s what you expect, but God continues the difference all the way through. Let me show you this a little differently. In verse 40 [1Cr 15:40-52],
40 There are celestial [meaning heavenly bodies] and there are bodies that are earthly: but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon.
Now why is the glory of the moon another of the same kind? That’s exactly right, because it’s reflecting the light of the sun. Okay, now watch this.
41 There’s another glory of the stars: [Why would it be the same?—because the sun is a star.] for one star differs from another in glory. [However. Now watch this. Here’s where it gets a little thick.]
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It’s sown in corruption; [Your body is going to, when it dies, it’s going to corrupt. But it’s going to be] raised in incorruption. [There will never be the process of decay in you again.]
43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; but it will be raised in power. [You will be much more powerful at the Second Coming than you are now.]
44 It is sown a natural body;
Interestingly, the word is soul solico body. Now unbelievers have a soul as well as believers. But their spirit is dead and inoperative towards God. When you become a Christian the Holy Spirit quickens your spirit or makes you alive unto God. So isn’t it interesting that the body we have here is solico. It’s operated by the soul. It’s affected by the soul. Can bad attitudes lead to physical problems? Sure. It’s a solico body. But now look at this. There is a spiritual body that will be controlled by the spirit, no longer the soul. Doesn’t mean we won’t have one. We will but it will be controlled by the spirit.
45 It’s written, the first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam, was made a quickening spirit. [Life-giving spirit. Jesus is able to give life as surely as the Father.]
46 Howbeit that was not first which was spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. [The body of Christ came after the body of Adam, in other words.]
47 The first man is of the earth, earthly: the second man is the Lord from heaven. [He did not receive chromosomes either from Mary or Joseph.]
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 As we have born the image, the outward appearance of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep but we shall all be [what?] changed.
Do you see, the change that is going on in us is going to have a culmination point when the dead are going to be raised, verse 52, incorruptible and so forth. This is really fantastic stuff. And it’s all a reward for the believer.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, he says that—
16 Our outward man which is decaying, our inward man is being renewed;
17 That our light affliction is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. The things that are seen are temporal; the things that are not seen are eternal.
In 1 Peter 5:4 he says to the elders, “You will receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” What a great text this is! Glorification causes a rejoicing in our hearts. I mean, no matter what your age, no matter how long you’ve known the Lord, you read about this you say, “All right. I think I can make it through another day. Glory’s coming!
One of the songs of the past, that wouldn’t particularly be attractive to you musically, that literally turned this country upside down, was sung by Ira Sanky who was the worship leader of D. L. Moody. It was my pleasure to hear him sing it on a cylinder roll, which is in the library of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. His voice is not that attractive. It’s kind of a crooning style. He often sang a capella. He’d just walk up on the stage and start singing. Moody frequently did not preach, but gave the invitation after Sanky sung. So many people wanted what he sang about. And one of the songs that Moody said constantly caused him to just give an invitation immediately without even preaching, was the song, “Oh that Will Be Glory for Me.” I remember hearing his voice, and saying, “You know what, it isn’t the greatest voice in the world, so God blesses in spite of us not because of us.”
When all my labors and trials are o’er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
O that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me,
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.
Not much to it except for that one message - glory day is coming, when you see the Lord. People would flock by the thousands to the Savior. I guess what I wanted to end this with was that rejoicing in our hearts that should be there when we know this doctrine.
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ,
8 Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now you see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of [what?] glory.
But rejoice, [There it is again.] inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” Amen!