As we wound up our study of the order of salvation (ordo salutis) this past Lord’s Day, you could say we saved the best for last: glorification. Our blessed hope as Christians is that, on the day Jesus Christ returns to our world, we will be raised up from the grave in bodies imperishable and incorruptible, in order to live forever in a new heavens and new earth. The sermon text was Romans 8:16-25, and from that and other Scripture we learn three things about glorification:
- You will be glorified with Christ. In v. 17 Paul says we will be “… glorified with him” (cf. Colossians 3:4). The “main event” of Christ’s coming again on the Day of Judgment will be the revelation of his own majestic glory. And because we as Christians belong to Christ and find our identity in him, his glory will be our glory. Just as the diehard fan of a sports team exults and glories in the victory of his team, so we will exult in Christ when he is glorified among all creation at his coming. Until then, however, we are called to “suffer with him” in this life (v.17). But as Paul is quick to add, “… the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (v. 18).
- You will be glorified at the renewal of creation. In vs. 19-21 Paul explains how creation “waits with eager longing” to be “set free from its bondage to decay.” Creation groans under the burden of the presence and dominion of sin in the world. But on that great day of Christ’s return, God will usher in what is called elsewhere the “new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17). He will renew his creation and free it from sin and evil forever. And this will take place concurrently with “the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). So our glorification as Christians will be part of God’s greater work of cosmic renewal. What glory and freedom await all creation when sin and evil are banished forever from the universe!
- You will be glorified in the resurrection of your body. Paul speaks of the “redemption of our bodies” in v. 23. Our glorification is nothing other than our resurrection. For those who belong to Christ, God’s promise is to be raised up in bodies eternally free from all the consequences of man’s sin that plague us in this life: disease, disability, deterioration, and ultimately death (not that the particular sufferings of an individual in this life are a direct result of his personal sin, but sin in general has brought all these evils upon us). Our hope as Christians is not escape from our bodies to live an ethereal existence in the skies, but everlasting life with perfect bodies in a new creation.
For this purpose God predestinated us, called us, regenerated us, justified and adopted us, and is sanctifying us: that he might raise us up in glory with his Son Jesus Christ. Glorification is the fulfillment of his plan to make Jesus “the firstborn among many brothers” (v. 29).
Also at the morning service, two young ladies made professions of faith and so became communicant members of the congregation. We learned earlier that it was exactly six years ago they were baptized at Grace when their family was received into membership of the church (they were already older children at the time of their baptism). What a joy to see God’s faithfulness at work as he graciously brings our young people to faith in the Savior!
At the evening service we continued our study of the Heidelberg Catechism.
Soli Deo Gloria!