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

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 15 September 2017

Even the greatest spiritual blessings we enjoy here will not compare to our future enjoyment of the eternal blessings in heaven. Likewise, the greatest affliction and pain we go through here in this world will seem only too light and brief when compared to the eternal weight of glory we will have in heaven. “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal” (Crowder, “Come as You Are”). If that is true here on earth, how much more in heaven!

Let us live in the hope of our glorification! Hope is a powerful thing. It can sustain us through overwhelming challenges and repeated setbacks. It can shine a ray of light into the darkest of circumstances and breathe life into what seemed lifeless. Hope is a powerful thing even when it is baseless. But the hope of our glorification is grounded in what God has predestined before the foundation of the world, whose fulfillment cannot be thwarted. It is as certain and unchangeable as the past. For the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the first fruits of our future resurrection. No darkness of despair can overcome the light of our hope; no weight of affliction and pain can squash the heavenward buoyancy of our hope. And no amount of worldly possession or position or power or prestige can make us arrogant. For they are nothing in comparison to the surpassing magnificence of our glorification!

 

 

Our Glorious Redemption: Glorification (Rom. 8:18-25) part 4 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 14 September 2017

Paul suggests that there is a connection between man and the creation, that their fates are bound together. It is not just human beings who suffer and groan; “the creation [too] was subjected to futility…” (v. 20) and “bondage to corruption” (v. 21) , “groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (v. 22). But the two are not just united in suffering; they are also united in hope as well: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (v. 19); “…the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (v. 21); “not only the creation, but 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).

From these words, we learn more than the unity between man and the creation; we also learn the priority of man over the creation—that is, the fate of the creation depends on the fate of man. We should not be surprised by this. That connection was established all the way back at the time of creation. Why is the creation in so much suffering and misery when God created the heavens and the earth and all that was in them “good,” “very good” (Gen. 1:31)? Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve. In announcing the punishment, God said to Adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you…” (Gen. 3:17). This was because the connection was established even before the Fall. One of the blessings God bestowed on man was, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…” (Gen. 1:28). Even more significantly, man was made of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7). So, when man must die under the curse of sin, he must return to the dust (Gen. 3:19). Because of this connection, man and the creation were united in the Fall, united in their present groaning in suffering and futility. But the two are also united in the hope of glorification by the same connection. Since man’s Fall brought curse and futility and groaning to the creation, man’s redemption must also include the creation: man’s glorification will be accompanied by a renewal of the creation.

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.

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