Our Glorious Redemption: Glorification (Rom. 8:18-25) part 3 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 14 September 2017

The redemption of our bodies will take place on the day of resurrection. This resurrection will be universal. It will happen all at once—at the time of Christ’s glorious return. It will happen for all people—both for believers and unbelievers, one unto everlasting joy and glory, the other unto everlasting torment and shame. 

According to today’s passage, our glorification will also be bound up with the renewal of the whole creation. We don’t know how this renewal will take place. Paul seems to suggest that the creation will be renewed, perhaps in a similar manner as our body will be renewed through resurrection. But John says, “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” (Rev. 21:1). We don’t exactly know what this “passing away” means. Peter suggests that this whole creation will be burned up and destroyed (2 Pet. 3:10). Does this necessarily mean that the first creation will be completely destroyed and removed from existence? But he goes on to say in a few verses later, “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13). This new creation is described in the same structural categories—new heavens and a new earth

Our Glorious Redemption: Glorification (Rom. 8:18-25) part 2 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 14 September 2017

our glorification consists of the redemption of our bodies: “we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (v. 23). The redemption of our bodies obviously refers to the resurrection of our bodies on the day of Christ’s return. When believers die and their souls go to heaven to be with God, their souls are glorified—that is, their souls are set free from the power and presence of sin completely, never to sin again, never to even desire to sin again. So, we hear of “the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne” when John sees the Lamb opening the fifth seal (Rev. 6:9). We know that they are glorified souls because “they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer” (v. 11): they have entered their eternal rest in Christ; they are clothed in a white robe. This represent their glorified state. Earlier in Rev. 1:13, we see the glorified Christ clothed with a long robe. We also see in John’s heavenly vision of twenty-four glorified elders—on their thrones and clothed in white garments (Rev. 4:4). But these glorified saints in heaven are not fully glorified yet.

 

For this glorification, the resurrection body cannot be of the same quality as our present one; it has to be the kind that is not subject to injury, sickness, aging, death, and decay. And it has to be the kind that is free from sin and its sinful desires. Such a body cannot be made of the materials of this physical universe, which are by nature perishable. The resurrection body will have to be a spiritual body, like the resurrection body of Jesus. It will be a body: the disciples were able to touch Him and His wounds. But it will be made of spiritual substance, which is not subject to the physical laws of this universe: Jesus was able to freely enter the upperroom through the wall and also disappear from their sight. We don’t have too much information on the resurrection body but it will be amazing to live in it.

Our Glorious Redemption: Glorification (Rom. 8:18-25) part 2 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 14 September 2017

our glorification consists of the redemption of our bodies: “we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (v. 23). The redemption of our bodies obviously refers to the resurrection of our bodies on the day of Christ’s return. When believers die and their souls go to heaven to be with God, their souls are glorified—that is, their souls are set free from the power and presence of sin completely, never to sin again, never to even desire to sin again. So, we hear of “the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne” when John sees the Lamb opening the fifth seal (Rev. 6:9). We know that they are glorified souls because “they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer” (v. 11): they have entered their eternal rest in Christ; they are clothed in a white robe. This represent their glorified state. Earlier in Rev. 1:13, we see the glorified Christ clothed with a long robe. We also see in John’s heavenly vision of twenty-four glorified elders—on their thrones and clothed in white garments (Rev. 4:4). But these glorified saints in heaven are not fully glorified yet.

 

For this glorification, the resurrection body cannot be of the same quality as our present one; it has to be the kind that is not subject to injury, sickness, aging, death, and decay. And it has to be the kind that is free from sin and its sinful desires. Such a body cannot be made of the materials of this physical universe, which are by nature perishable. The resurrection body will have to be a spiritual body, like the resurrection body of Jesus. It will be a body: the disciples were able to touch Him and His wounds. But it will be made of spiritual substance, which is not subject to the physical laws of this universe: Jesus was able to freely enter the upperroom through the wall and also disappear from their sight. We don’t have too much information on the resurrection body but it will be amazing to live in it.

Our Glorious Redemption—Glorification (Rom. 8:14-25) Part 1 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 11 September 2017

Paul begins this section by affirming what must have been quite obvious to a lot of people at his time: this world is a place of much suffering and pain. But we should not think that the life then was so miserable because they did not have all the modern conveniences, such as running water and dishwashers and laundry machines and cars and airplanes, not to mention HD TV’s and internet. It’s easy to think that way because we are a generation of people who wonder how we ever lived without the smartphones! I’m sure the people of the ancient world were happier and more satisfied than we think they were since they had no idea how convenient life has become for us. Even so, they themselves were not so naïve as to think that their lives were just fine and dandy! They did know the kind of hardship they lived in when their babies and loved ones died prematurely, when their children cried for more food and they had none to give them, when they frequently fell victims to floods and droughts and lost everything they had (from which we are still not free as we saw in recent hurricanes). So, Paul took it for granted that, when he characterized the life in the ancient world as a life of suffering (v. 18) and groaning (v. 23), pretty much everyone would agree.

That was then. How is it now? Has it gotten any better after 2,000 years and all the scientific progress we have made? Life expectancy has gotten much longer. Infant mortality rate is definitely way down. Life has gotten so much more convenient. And we are much more educated and knowledgeable. With Google Search at our fingertips, we have access to so much information instantaneously. But can we say we are better people? Are we better at resisting temptations and overcoming sin? Probably not. All we have to do is just read what people post on the internet and the kind of obscene and mean comments people make in the safety of anonymity. It is obvious that we need redemption at a foundational level—nothing short of a new creation. That is what our glorification is ultimately about.

Which Paul? (Rom. 7:14-25) Part 5 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 08 September 2017

So, Christ must save us from sin—not only from its punishment but also from its power and presence. In order to accomplish that, He must also work in us so that we will hate sin itself, not just its punishment and other terrible consequences. This requires an inner renewal at the deepest level, a new birth, a new creation. This is what the law could not do. This is what God has done by sending His Son into this world and bringing us under the law of the Spirit of life through the work of the Holy Spirit. 

 

In case you didn’t catch, the law of the Spirit of life should not be set in opposition to the law of God; it should be set against the law of sin and death. And these two laws are different from the law of God. The law of God consists of many commandments and statutes. The other two laws are of a different kind. They are more like the laws of physics—the way things work. The law of sin and death lures us to break God’s law; the law of the Spirit of life enables us to obey God’s law.

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