The passage before us this week is one that should strengthen our hope and change our perspective from earthly to heavenly, for the glory that is coming for us is far greater than anything we experience here and now.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 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 8:28-30 ESV)
Definition: I define glorification simply as the moment when justified believers are ultimately, completely and eternally united to Christ.
Explanation: Now, being united to Christ ultimately, completely and eternally carries a lot of meaning.
- Ultimately: Glorification is the final step in the application of our salvation and it is to that end that we look. “The goal of the Christian’s vision is not his own death, but stretches beyond that to the return of Christ and the consummation of his kingdom.”
- In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul is writing to the Thessalonians in an effort to encourage them about their future in Christ and he chooses to comfort them with words about glorification occurring at the second coming of Christ (not the third…). Glorification is the ultimate end of our salvation process.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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. 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. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV)