…In His cross my trust shall be,
Til, with clearer, brighter vision face to face my Lord I see.
– Fanny Crosby
(Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are taken from the English Standard Version Bible, Crossway, 2001)
We have been talking about in this series the union of Christians with Christ Himself. We covered Justification, or the point in which man is made pure and righteous in the sight of a holy and just God, through Christ’s death and work through the Holy Spirit in us. We also spoke of Sanctification, which is the progressive work of salvation that deals with our daily and Earthly struggle and triumph over sin and temptation. In our final blog here in this set, we will disucss the final goal of our salvation, our Glorification.
The glorification of man is that doctrine of salvation in its finality. We understand from scripture that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). Those in Christ spiritually are reunited to Him in death. This doctrine isn’t just about our physical death and spirutual state, however. It is about our final state. We will be unified with Christ in totality; spiritually, physcially, and ultimately in His prescense when Christ returns to gather His people and judge the world.
Paul makes note of this doctrine in 2 Thess. 5, when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.” He continues with “the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together…to meet the Lord in the air.” At His second coming, Jesus will bring an end to history. He will raise the dead and judge the world (John 5:28-29). Paul says, in 1 Cor. 15:24-28, that Christ will “deliver the kingdom and become subject to the Father.” Paul doesn’t mean to say that Christ is reduced in His position or stature, but that God’s final plan will be fulfilled.
Lets take a look at Calvin’s Institutes and glean on his scriptural insight to make sense of this doctrine to some degree. Here is an exposition on the mystery of this final glory. This “resurrection life.” When we, like Christ, recieve a new and glorified body, rasied to new life physically. Calvin notes:
…this body which we now have in its corruptible form will not perish at our resurrection, but, abandoning its corruption, will become incorruptible, and abandoning its mortality, will become immortal. No obstacle, then, will prevent the Lord from rescuing from corrpution all who have been devoured from death before the judgment day, by that same power which He demonstrated when He [The Father] raised His Son.”
~ The Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin. Essentials Edition. p. 288
Calvin, as only he can put it, shows us how not only our spirit is made immortal eternally, but also our very bodies will lose all of their death and decay, and Christ will cause His life to recreate our bodies in a glorious and eternally perfect state.
Puritan author and theologian Thomas Boston states a picture of our eternal groaning to be glorified this powerful discourse:
This is a powerful reality. Our glorification will cause us to be as Christ is and was totally. Not AS God, but LIKE Him. We were buried in our baptism as He was in His death (Romans 6:4). Verse 5 of Romans 6 declares we will be united not only in His death, but also in a resurrection like His. This is our final goal. Glorification. When our mortal coil is stripped away, and we see our master face to face, after His glorious return, and our bodies become like His. Paul says in 1 Cor. 13:12
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Comfort one another with this glorious reality. We will be raised to life in our mortal bodies when Christ returns, and caught up with He and those loved ones who have placed faith in Christ. To enjoy our master in real union for eternity. To Him be praise. Forever. Amen.