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Glorification | The Work of Christ and Salvation

As taught by Zach Thompson.

In this equipping time lesson, we learn what glorification is and how we can live now in light of it.

Equipping Time: Glorification

Good morning everyone.

This week, we are going to complete our Sunday school series on the work of Christ and salvation.

As we begin, I want to read from Revelation 21 to set the tone for our time today. 

If you are able, would you please stand in honor of the reading of God’s word? 

Revelation 21:1-6, 

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' Also, he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.' 6 And he said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty, I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.' " 

Let’s Pray. 

Over the past several weeks, we have been working through the order of salvation. As we’ve worked through it, we have tried to make it clear that all of the realities we have talked about are clearly scriptural realities.

We are not trying to make these things up on our own.

We started with election. Then, we talked about the point of salvation, where we hear the gospel, and God gives us new life so that we can respond to that call, and at the moment that he works faith in our hearts, he justifies us, and he adopts us as his children. Forgiven and made righteous and brought into the family of God. Enemies made children.

Over the past couple of weeks, we talked about the Christian life. We talked about two different signs of the same coin. After we are declared righteous by God, and after he has changed our hearts along with our desires and everything else about us, he empowers us to live as his people. We talked about sanctification. God progressively works in us to make us more and more holy. We talked about the perseverance of the Saints—how God will hold onto all of those who are his, and all of those who are his will be preserved to the end because he is holding onto them.

This week, we come to the final reality within the order of salvation.

This week we will talk about glorification. Glorification is an end and a beginning. It is the end of the Christian life, and it is the beginning of eternity. It is the entire direction of everything that we’ve been talking about in the order of salvation.

I included one extra slide here because that yellow line is so small. I wanted to illustrate that in light of eternity, everything else that we have been talking about will feel like an instant. Even your entire life will feel like this moment in time. 

Glorification will be our normal state for the rest of eternity. 

I want to take a moment to illustrate this. 

Think of a memory you have from when you were a child. 

I remember getting out of bed and walking upstairs when I was around 3 years old. I walked into the kitchen, and my Mom was there. She said, “Good morning boo-bear!” Then, she poured me some cheerios, and I sat down and ate them. Nothing else. That’s the entire memory. Maybe you have something like that. 

100,000 years after Jesus returns, you will look back on your life, and your entire span of life will seem as short as that memory. Today, we are going to scratch the surface of the eternal state for all who have believed in Jesus for salvation. Our hope is an eternal hope. 

So, let’s look at a couple of definitions for glorification.


First, let’s look at Grudem’s definition. 

Grudem, “Glorification is the final step in the application of redemption. It will happen when Christ returns, raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died, reunites them with their souls, and changes the bodies of all believers who remain alive, thereby giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like his own.”

This definition has a lot of words. A lot of what he addresses is when it happens and what happens with our bodies. 

It happens when Jesus returns, and it’s deeply related to the transformation of our bodies. 

Let’s look at one more definition. 

In his book, Concise Theology, J.I. Packer gives a definition for glorification that I think is really helpful. 

He says that glorification is “the scriptural name for God’s completion of what he began when he regenerated us, namely, our moral and spiritual reconstruction so as to be perfectly and permanently conformed to Christ.”

This sums up the reality of glorification so well. Over the last couple of weeks, we looked at Philippians 1:6—“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

This verse informs how we think about sanctification and perseverance of the saints, but it also looks ahead to glorification. He will bring it to completion. That’s what glorifcation is—when God completes his work in us. 

And looking at other promises in the New Testament, we see everything else in Packer’s definition. That this means that we will be morally and spiritually reconstructed so as to be perfectly and permanently conformed to Christ. 

We are going to keep considering this, but I want to take a couple of minutes to think about how glorification is the culmination of our salvation. It’s the direction of everything else that we have been talking about over the past several weeks. 

If you have your Bible, turn to Romans chapter 8. If you want to get ahead of the game, in just a few minutes, we are also going to turn to 1 Corinthians 15 if you want to go ahead and put a bookmark there or keep a finger over in that next passage. 

Glorification as the culmination of salvation: 

  • Philippians 1:6

  • Romans 8:30, “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

  • Romans, 8:11, “ If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

  • This is both in regard to regeneration and glorification. 

  • Also 1 Peter 1:3-5, “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

  • Romans 8:16, “16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” 

We are about to run through 7 different realities that we see in Scripture about our resurrection and glorification. These won’t be exhaustive, but hopefully, they summarize the biblical teaching, and really, a big part of what I want to do today is just look at what the Bible actually says about these things. 

We are going to reference 1 Corinthians 15 quite a bit, and at a certain point, but the text won’t fit on the slides, so please turn there if you are able to so that you can follow along on those points. 

Resurrection and Glorification:

  1. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee that these will occur

We aren’t going to spend too long on this, but it’s clear in Scripture, and it’s connected to the topic, so I want to be sure and say it.  Eph 1:13-14, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

When we trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and he acts as a type of deposit on the fullness of our inheritance. It’s like when you get under contract on a house, and you are required to put down an earnest money deposit. That money shows that you are serious about the transaction and that you are obligated to finish the transaction. 


2. These will occur at the coming of Jesus (1 Cor 15:22-23).

We’ll see this in a lot of texts today, but here are a couple of examples:

1 Corinthians 15:22-23, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16–18, “16 For 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. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

We will enter our final resurrected state of glory when Jesus comes back. Christ the first fruit, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 

3. We will be resurrected with a physical body like Jesus–real, glorious. imperishable, and perfect (1 Cor 15:35-49).

Our eternal state is not going to be us floating around on clouds playing the harp. Our experience in heaven will not be disembodied. We will have real physical bodies that have been glorified to be like Jesus. 

Do you remember when Jesus was resurrected? He went to great lengths to make it clear that he had an actual physical body. 

But it won’t just be physical. It will be like his. Transformed and glorious and eternal. 

The eternal life that you are promised is eternal life in a body. It’s not some kind of abstract idea that God has promised you.

You have a body now, and you will have a similar but different body then. 


Philippians 3:20–21, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."

He is going to transform our bodies to be like his glorious body. He says something similar in 1 John 3. 

1 John 3:2-3, “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. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

Then consider 1 Corinthians 15. 

1 Cor 15:42-49, “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. . . 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

We will have physical and eternal bodies.


4. We will partake in Christ’s victory

When we are glorified, we will be delivered from the brokenness of the world and the victory that Christ has accomplished over every kind of enemy and brokenness will be ours. 

Look at 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. This section actually sums up several other things that we have already said. 

1 Corinthians 15:50-58, “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 

                  'Death is swallowed up in victory.

            55       O death, where is your victory? 

      O death, where is your sting?'

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

We are guaranteed victory in Jesus. We aren’t going into battle against our sin and against death with even a possibility of loss. 

The victory is ours. Our next point is related to this. 

5. Our new bodies will not be subject to sin or the effects of sin (e.g. pain, sickness, etc)

We just saw in 1 Corinthians 15 that sin and death will be defeated. 

But consider 2 Peter 3:13, “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

Sin doesn’t dwell there. Righteousness dwells there. 

Look at Revelation 22:3, “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.”

Sin and brokenness won’t be in heaven. In our glorified state, it won’t even be a consideration for us. 

This is a good moment to think about Romans 8. There, Paul says that all of creation is groaning as it waits for the revealing of the sons of God. At the same time that our bodies are renewed, all of creation will be renewed. Every remnant of the fall will be forgotten. Every sin. Every temptation. Every result of sin. Every kind of brokenness. 

We have been moving pretty fast. But let’s take a moment to slow down on this one. 

Growing up, I would get a sinus infection every year, so if I get one now, I barely even think about it. But last year was the first time that Courtney got one, so if she gets one, it is still a huge deal for her. She notices every time, and it hits her hard. 

How many sins have we simply grown accustomed to because they have always been there? How much brokenness in this world has just become a part of our lives every day, and we don’t even think about it? 

Temptations just feel like a given every single day. As our bodies age, we accumulate more and more things like this. Aches and pains and food intolerances. 

In heaven, sickness will only be a memory. In the presence of God, you will look back on your anxiety and wonder why you were ever even stressed. 

Depression. Chronic Illness. Infertility. Lust. Anger. Greed.

None of them will even be a thought, and the horrible pain and brokenness that comes from them will never come back. 

Have you ever been sick for a long time, and then you get better, and there is this moment of recognition that you are better? Like if you’ve been really stuffy, and you can’t breathe out of your nose properly for two weeks, then at some point, you realize that it’s gone. You can breathe easily. 

It’s exhilarating. 

That’s what it will be like when we are resurrected and glorified. Until that moment, you forgot how good it was to not be sick. 

In glory, we will all feel just how much we have all been weighed down by our sin. 

It will be like we’ve been hiking with a backpack full of rocks, and all of a sudden the backpack is gone, and we can just walk. 

Our entire existence has been tainted with sin, but on that day every memory of sin will be washed away, and every single remnant of the slime of sin will be gone.

6. Our existence will be better than anything we can imagine.

Our resurrected and glorified life will be better than anything that we can fathom. 

Listen to what Paul wrote in Philippians 3. 

Philippians 3:7, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Paul is comparing the value of all of the good things in his life to the value of knowing Jesus, and he says that it doesn’t even compare. 

Knowing Jesus is of surpassing worth. 

And Paul isn’t just saying this as a spiritual-feel good moment. He is talking about the hope and the resurrection. 

Later in that passage, he says that attaining the resurrection is worth every single thing that he has. It’s worth every moment of suffering that he might endure. 

If you have a scale, and you have resurrected eternal life with Jesus on one side, and you put the entire value of every other thing in your life. It wouldn’t even move the scale. Every moment of suffering wouldn’t take away from the value of being with Christ. 

This is the same God talked about in Psalm 16:11—“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Jesus says that there won’t be marriage in heaven. Mt. 22:30, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” 

Maybe you would question me here. If I can’t be with my spouse in heaven, how could life be better there? If I can’t be guaranteed marital bliss in heaven, how could life possibly be better there? 

I think that the texts we just read and the next point actually address this, but if this kind of thought comes into your mind, then just ask this question. 

Do you really think that God can’t do that? The God who created sexual pleasure can transform our bodies to have an even deeper and fuller and longer lasting satisfaction than any sexual or relational fulfillment that you can fathom. 

Our God-created pleasure. He made us for relationships. He made us to enjoy so many things. Who is to say what exactly he might do with our bodies after the resurrection? He could make our mouths so that they can taste every flavor or ice cream in a single scoop without getting brain freeze. He could change the way hormones affect our bodies so that we get different sensations from different types of interactions. Who knows, but God has promised that it would be better. 

And as the main substance of that promise, God has promised our last point. 

7. We will dwell with God for eternity

On that final day, God will look at us with pleasure and say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. This one is mine. This one is beautiful. This is my handiwork.” 

Because HE has saved us, and HE has glorified us. And on that day, we will say with Revelation 21, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

These things will be ours because God will be ours. Unhindered eternal fellowship with the God who created us to be satisfied in him. 

And we’ll dwell with him in bliss for eternity. 

There is so much room for meditation on this. But we are already over on time. 

So, let’s run through some applications:


  1. Be unashamedly heavenly-minded

It is good to long for that day. 

Some people might say, “Why would you long for that day? For people who don’t believe, that day will be a day of judgment. Why would you pray that it would come quickly?”

I certainly understand that sentiment. But we see this modeled in the New Testament. When we are suffering, we can pray to the Lord with John the Beloved in Revelation 22:20, “Come Lord Jesus.” 

2 Corinthians 5:4–5, “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”

When we talk about things like this, it can be easy for someone to claim that we are so heavenly-minded that we are no earthly good. But this is absolutely absurd. Almost every single one of the texts that we have quoted today is connected to some kind of imperative. They are all connected to how we should live now. In the New Testament, we aren’t merely told that our bodies will be glorified and that we will live in an eternal resurrection. 

We are told that this is true and that this affects how we live today.

And there is one command that comes more than any other. 

2. Persevere in faith and holiness

1 Corinthians 15:58 is a good example of this: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 

This is after the longest single chapter that focuses on the Resurrection in the New Testament. And Paul’s exhortation is simply to keep walking forward in Christ. Work knowing that there is an eternal reality at stake with every moment. 

A couple of years ago, Timothy got Andrew to run a half marathon by promising him that he would make him a calzone if he finished it. I was sitting with them when it Timothy made the promise, and Andrew didn’t even think about it. “Yes. I’ll do it.” And he did it! He finished the race so that he could get that calzone. 

We have been promised so much more. Eternal life is ours, so keep walking forward. 

3. Remind others to persevere in faith and holiness

Sanctification and perseverance are team sports. We aren’t called to persevere alone. When Paul wrote that command to be steadfast and immovable, he was talking to a church. He was talking to a group of people. 

Andrew and I learned a lot of construction skills from a man named David Robinson. In high school, I would end up working with him on and off, and on those days when I worked with David, I would ride with him in his truck. As David got into his truck—he would always make a short noise that was a kind of groanish grunt. It was always pretty loud. 

I remember one day, David got into the truck, and he made a little grunt noise, and he stopped and looked over at me. And he said, “You know, I usually work alone. I don’t usually think about how many weird noises I make until someone else is with me.” 

In our church, maybe you have the opportunity to hear a grunt like this. Things that are kind of painful that we don’t even think about. Brokenness and sins and temptations that we just take for granted as part of life in this world. 

If you hear something like this, take a moment and remind your brother or sister of what you both know is true. 

Just because you both know it’s true doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear it. 

Intentionally remind each other of these truths that we have surveyed today. 

“Brother, you are struggling with this Sin. Look ahead to that day when this won’t even be a consideration for you.” 

“Sister, you can’t shake that illness, we can weep together for your pain, and we can long together for the day when it will be taken away without any possibility of returning." 


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