Scriptures

Grace That Brings Glorification

Introduction

“For those God foreknew he also predestinated to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified, those he justified he also glorified” Romans 8:29-30

Paul speaks of the glorification of Christians as though it had already happened. In a sense, and to a degree, that is true. Paul uses what is called a Gnomic Aorist, which employs a past tense to describe an outcome that is so certain that it is stated as already having happened. In God’s perfect foreknowledge his elect are already glorified.

This in no ways changes the fact that man has the power of choice. There is an important difference between foreknowledge and predestination. One is an attribute of the divine intellect while the other is an act of the divine will.

God has predestined certain things based on the fact that His foreknowledge enables him to see that some would love and be willing to follow his will. On the other hand, there would be those who would reject his love and live in disobedience to his will.

God predestined that the saved would be conformed to the image of his Son Romans 9:29.

Second, he predestined that the saved be adopted through Jesus Christ himself Ephesians 1:5.

Third he predestined that the saved would have an eternal inheritance Ephesians 1:11.

Fourth he predestined that those who are willing to obey him will be called, justified, and glorified Romans 8:30.

Fifth he predestined that they should be holy and blameless Ephesians 1:4.

None of the things he predestined took away man’s free will. God is outside of space and time. While man is bound by these, God isn’t. All time is spread out like a picture before him that is all visible, the past, the present and the future, all at the same time.

Because God knows the end from the beginning, he could predetermine what he wanted to do for those who would faithfully serve him. God determined that His chosen will be glorified both in the present time and in eternity.

Our Present Glory

1. We have glory in that we are God’s glorious temple.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

“Consequently you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” Ephesians 2:19-21

2. We have glory because God himself dwells with us and in us.

Christians attain a special glory and honour because we are the dwelling place of the Godhead. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:22,

“You are a dwelling place in which God lives by his Spirit.”

In 2 Corinthians 6:16 he said,

“We are the temple of the living God. As God has said, ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people.’”

3. We have glory because we have a glorious covenant and ministry.

The messenger takes on some of the glory of his message. Moses’ radiant face reflected the glory of the Lord when he had received the ten commandments and came down from Mount Sinai. As Christians, we share in the glory of a much superior covenant.

“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men in glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory” 2 Corinthians 3:7-10

Even though we are only “jars of clay” 2 Corinthians 4:7. We nevertheless are “pottery made for a noble purpose” Romans 9:21, because we have been entrusted with “the glorious gospel of the blessed God” 1 Timothy 1:11.

4. We have relative freedom from the fear of death.

Most men fear death. To be honest most Christians have a dread of death. In the case of the unsaved it is a logical reaction. In the case of the Christian, it is certainly illogical but is due to our imperfect knowledge and our inability to see clearly into the future.

However, there is a vast difference between those who are in Christ and “those who have no hope.” One of the blessings stemming from the resurrection of Jesus is the assurance that we have nothing to fear from death.

5. We have glory, honour and peace because we have eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells us that believers in Him are alive forever more.

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall never die” John 11:25-26

The Spirit of Christ within us makes us more and more glorious:

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Our Future Glory

Romans 8:17-21 reads:

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subject to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage of decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

Paul refers to the future state of the saved as “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” There are several limitations in our earthly life from which we will be gloriously free in the heavenly existence.

1. We will have complete freedom from sin.

In the resurrection, we will be perfectly sanctified from the death and decay which are the consequences of sin. In this present life, even Christians are subject to the frustrations of a world in which evil, disease, famine and strife hold sway. Won’t it be wonderful to live in a place where there is no sin.

We will not have to watch or hear all the evil things that are associated with sin here on hearth. It is difficult to imagine a place where there will be no sin. Not even in our personal lives will there be sin. In this life, it is a constant battle with temptation and sin. In heaven, there will be no sin. There will be no Satan to tempt us with his lies and deception.

2. We will have freedom from humiliation, weakness and corruption.

“The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is shown in weakness, it is raised in power” 1 Corinthians 15:42-43

Man is constantly faced with a battle against disease and severe accidents to the body which can cause much pain and anguish. He will be free from pain in his glorified state.

3. We will have freedom from mortal limitations.

In our glorified bodies, we will have perfect knowledge.

“Now we see but a poor reflection, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Many things we cannot understand now will be understood then. Questions of doubt will change into answers of perfect understanding.

4. Time will change into eternity.

In our universe, we are slaves to the passing of time. Everything changes and fades. But in God’s eternal universe there is only an eternal glorious present where perfect good is constant and unchangeable. The very purpose of our being called by the gospel was so that we might share the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ 2 Thessalonians 2:14.

Although we cannot presently understand that glory, it is enough that

“when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” 1 John 3:2

QUESTIONS

1. Do you think most people give much thought to a future in heaven?

2. Do most Christians look forward to going to heaven?

3. Do we really believe it will be better than anything we have experienced here on earth?

4. Is it natural to have an attachment to this world not desiring to leave it?

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

1 Peter 5:7

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