In the Scripture the idea of glorification deals with the ultimate perfection of believers. The word "glorification" is not used in the Hebrew Old Testament or the Greek New Testament, but the idea of glorification is conveyed by the Greek verb doxazo [doxavzw] ("glorify") and the noun doxa [dovxa] ("glory") as well as in passages that do not use any word from this root. Although the Old Testament may anticipate the theme to some extent ( Psalm 73:24 ; Dan 12:3 ), the New Testament is considerably fuller and richer in its development, making it explicit that believers will be glorified ( Romans 8:17 Romans 8:30 ; 2 Thess 1:12 ).
Despite the fact that one of the key verses ( Rom 8:30 ) appears to place glorification in the past, it is in all other passages seen as future, to be hoped for ( Rom 5:2 ; Col 1:27 ), to be revealed ( Rom 8:18 ; 1 Peter 5:1 ), and to be obtained ( 2 Thess 2:14 ; 2 Tim 2:10 ). Specifically, glorification arrives with the second coming of Christ ( Eph 5:27 ; Php 3:20-21 ; Col 3:4 ; 2 Thess 1:10 ), accompanied by the resurrection of believers ( 1 Cor 15:43 ) and the day of judgment ( Rom 2:5-10 ). Its duration is eternal ( 2 Col 4:17 ; 2 Tim 2:10 ; 1 Peter 5:10 ).
Like other facets of salvation, glorification is the work of God ( Rom 8:30 ). To it believers are called ( 1 Thess 2:12 ; 1 Peter 5:10 ), brought ( Heb 2:10 ), and foreordained ( 1 Cor 2:7 ). God both prepares us for glory ( Rom 9:23 ) and prepares glory for us ( 1 Cor 2:9 ). It is ours by inheritance ( Rom 8:17 ). At the same time, however, we have our part to play: glorification should be sought ( Rom 2:7 ), and it will be wrought in us through our affliction and suffering ( Rom 8:17 ; 2 Col 4:17 ; 2 Tim 2:10-11 ).
Glorification involves first of all the believer's sanctification or moral perfection ( 2 Thess 2:13-14 ; Heb 2:10-11 ), in which the believer will be made glorious, holy, and blameless ( Eph 5:27 ). The process of sanctification is at work in us now ( 2 Cor 3:18 ) but moves from one degree of glory to another until it reaches final glory.
Second, the body participates in glorification ( Rom 8:23 ; 1 Col 15:43 ; Php 3:21 ), which is the believer's deliverance and liberty ( Rom 8:21 ). As a result, the glorified body is immortal ( Rom 2:7 ), imperishable, powerful, and spiritual ( 1 Cor 15:43-44 ). Moreover, creation itself participates in this aspect of glorification ( Rom 8:21 ).
David K. Huttar
See also Salvation
Bibliography. S. Aalen, NIDNTT, 2:44-52; R. B. Dillard, BEB, 2:869-70; M. R. Gordon, ZPEB, 2:730-35; E. F. Harrison, EDT, pp. 443-44; idem, ISBE, 2:477-83; B. L. Ramm, BEB, 1:869-70.
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
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Bibliography InformationElwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Glorification'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology".