And here we are, in the last reading from John Murray’s classic book Redemption Accomplished and Applied. This week brings us to the glorious subject of glorification.
Glorification is the final phase of this long application of the redemption to God’s elect. “It is that which brings to completion the process which begins in effectual calling. Indeed it is the completion of the whole process of redemption.” Glorification is the consummation of the promise that comes with the effectual call. It is not something we experience at the moment of death, though, but something greater than that. It is something we will experience only upon Christ’s return. “The redemption which Christ has secured for his people is redemption not only from sin but also from all its consequences. Death is the wages of sin and the death of believers does not deliver them from death. … Hence glorification has in view the destruction of death itself. … It is the complete and final redemption of the whole person when in the integrity of body and spirit the people of God will be conformed to the image of the risen, exalted, and glorified Redeemer, when the very body of their humiliation will be conformed to the body of Christ’s glory.” These are sweet words to the believer.
This truth that glorification depends upon Christ’s return indicates that it is something all Christians will experience together, at the exact same point in time. Those who died first will be glorified in the same moment as those who are still alive at his return. The whole church will experience this last event in unison. Here Murray offers a succinct understanding of this: “Glorification, then, is the instantaneous change that will take place for the whole company of the redeemed when Christ will come again the second time without sin unto salvation and will descend from heaven with the shout of triumph over the last enemy.”
He offers two important points. First, that glorification is associated and bound up with the coming of Christ in glory. “So indispensable is the coming of the Lord to the hope of glory that glorification for the believer has no meaning without the manifestation of Christ’s glory. Glorification is glorification in Christ. Remove the latter and we have robbed the glorification of believers of the one thing that enables them to look forward to this event with confidence, with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Second, he wants the reader to know that “the glorification of believers is associated and bound up with the renewal of creation. It is not only believers who are to be delivered from the bondage of corruption but the creation itself also.” At the moment when believers are delivered from their sin, the whole of creation will be delivered from the effects of that sin. “When we think of glorification, then, it is no narrow perspective that we entertain. It is a renewed cosmos, new heavens and new earth, that we must think of as the context of the believers’ glory.” Doesn’t the believer’s heart long for this day?
Before he closes the chapter, Murray dispels modern day myths about the body and soul, myths that say that what is material is the source of our sin. This raises the body over the soul, as if the soul is pure and the body sinful. “This conception can be made to appear very beautiful and ‘spiritual,’ but it is just ‘beautiful paganism.’ It is a straight thrust at the biblical doctrine that God created man with body and soul and that he was very good. It is also aimed at the biblical doctrine of sin which teaches that sin has its origin and seat in the spirit of man, not in the material and fleshly.” This myth, alive in the day of the biblical writers and alive today, perhaps primarily in the influence of the New Age, must be rejected.
The purpose of this program is to read classics together. So if there are things that stood out to you in this chapter, if there are questions you had, this is the time and place to have your say. Feel free to post a comment below or to link to your blog if you’ve chosen to write about this on your own site.
Stay tuned and in a couple of weeks I’ll let you know what classic we’ll be reading next.