What is glorification?
This post is a chapter from Dr. Timothy Tennent’s book, 30 Questions: A Short Catechism on the Christian Faith available for purchase from our store. This resource makes for a great teaching tool in local churches, especially for catechesis purposes. We’re featuring a chapter each week in hopes of encouraging you to pick up the book and share it with others as well.
Glorification refers to the final state of believers after Christ returns. Our bodies will be physically resurrected and we will receive a resurrection body which is, mysteriously, both spiritual and physical (see meditation for Day Twenty-Eight). Before justification we were in bondage to sin. After justification we are freed from the penalty of sin. Through sanctification we are freed from the power of sin. At glorification we are delivered from the very presence of sin. In this glorified state we are able to experience the fullness of the original purpose of our creation.
This final state is known as the “New Creation,” since the Scriptures tell us that God creates a new heavens and a new earth. In the New Creation we will be engaged in all the kinds of industrious work and projects and inventions and building that we are involved with here, but without the presence of sin. Indeed, this is the great transforming fact about the New Creation. It is not a spirit-type existence where we sit endlessly on a cloud with the wings of an angel, as we see in medieval artwork. We will not be standing forever in a worship service that never has a benediction. Rather, we should see that all of life becomes an act of worship, and the absence of sin completely transforms the very nature of life and work.
In the Garden of Eden, before the Fall of Man, we were commanded to work. Work is not a result of life in a sinful world. What changed after the Fall is that work became toilsome and wearying and fraught with sin. In the New Creation, we will be unleashed into endless creativity and deeper discoveries about God’s creation. Our work will be filled with joyful productivity and will be free from drudgery. For all eternity we will be brought deeper and deeper into the full glory and mystery of the Triune God. We will learn to love him and one another in deeper and deeper ways.
We will, ultimately, be like him because we will finally see him face-to-face. As John says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2 esv). When John says we shall be “like him” it does not mean that we will have taken on the nature of God himself. We will always be created beings, totally dependent upon his life for our existence. But we will be “like him” in the sense that we share more and more in his holiness, purity, and joy.
1 Corinthians 15:35–44
2 Corinthians 4:16–17
2 Timothy 2:9–13
1 John 3:1–3