Dead or Alive? The Ordo Salutis

A summary statement of the Ordo Salutis: Glorification

Of all the terms used to define the Ordo Salutis, “glorification” probably is the one most difficult precisely to detail. What is “glory”, and likewise what does it mean when the Bible tells us that “glorification” is the believer’s unchangeable destiny?

A reasonable place to begin is with the dictionary definition of “glorify” (which coincides nicely with the biblical definition, as we’ll see below):

glorify (transitive verb)

  1. to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration
  2. to light up brilliantly
  3. to represent as glorious: EXTOL
  4. to give glory to (as in worship)

A basic study of the term “glory” in the Bible shows that it is used as a descriptor of the Almighty in more than 150 places both in the OT and NT. There are about 50 uses of the term in the Psalms and about the same in the prophets; it is a common theme.

The Bible clearly represents the glory of the LORD as that quality of pureness, brightness, power and brilliance of an unsurpassed nature. But, perhaps unlike holiness, righteousness, omniscience, omnipotence, the LORD’s glory is a quality that can be observed directly by human senses, particularly sight and hearing (though within limits!).

The earliest use occurs in the Exodus when the LORD began to show His power to national Israel immediately following the exodus from Egypt:

Exo 24.16-17
The glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the mountain top.

The author of Hebrews notes this:

Heb 12.18-21
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.”

In a word, the glory of the LORD is can be directly experienced. Any mere man exposed to it is reduced to a response that is somewhere between immediate and intense humility, and debilitating terror:

Eze 1.26-28
Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.

Luk 2.9
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

Mat 17.1-6
Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and *led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.

The Apostle John’s response was even more dramatic:

Rev 1.12-17a
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.

It was the presence of the glory of the LORD, demonstrated in the pillar of cloud/fire which came between national Israel and the pursuing armies of Egypt to protect them. Egypt, for all its military might, dared not even the attempt to intrude through (or even around!) the pillar.

During the dedication of the first temple, we find this:

2 Chr 7.1-3
Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. The priests could not enter into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

It was the priests’ “job” to perform the work in the temple, but so great was the glory of the LORD that they dared not enter!

One of the most beautiful of the OT texts is here:

Psa 19.1
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

How glorious is the LORD if it requires the splendor, majesty, power and expanse of the universe to declare it! No wonder a mere mortal can’t bear it when coming face-to-face with that glorious Lord Christ, as John did in the Revelation.

Ancient King David knew something of the enormity of the glory of the LORD:

Psa 57.5
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.

When the LORD was pleased to call the prophet Isaiah to his ministry, this is what he experienced:

Isa 6.1-3
In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Isaiah’s response was immediate:

Isa 6.5a
Woe is me, for I am ruined!

When the Lord Christ returns, this will be the scene in Jerusalem:

Isa 24.23
Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed,
For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
And His glory will be before His elders.

His glory will eclipse even the light of the sun! The prophet Ezekiel foresaw the same glory attending the return of the Lord Christ:

Eze 43.1-2
Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory.

Glorification was something common in the Psalms. Here is but a single example:

Psa 73.23-24
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.

The same message is repeated in the NT:

Mat 24.30
And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

In the opening of John’s gospel, we’re given this insight:

Joh 1.14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The glory of the Father and of the Lord Christ Himself are both in view in the great prayer of John chapter 17:

John 17:5
Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

John 17:22
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;

John 17:24
Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

[You should now be able to see why the condemnation of Romans chapter 1 is so serious and permanent:

Rom 1.22-23
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

The nature of lost man attempts to corrupt and deny that very quality of the LORD which can experienced directly. It literally is to willingly “miss the obvious” truth in favor of a fabricated and self-deceiving error.]

The glorification of believers is inextricably connected to the revelation of the Lord Christ:

Rom 5.1-2
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

What did he mean? How does one “exult in the hope of the glory of God”? At least a part of that answer to that question is answered here:

Rom 8.18
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Rom 8.30b
and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

The glorification of the believer rests solely upon the glory of the Lord Christ. It was the work of the Lord Christ to save those whom He predestined, called and justified. It is equally His work unconditionally to glorify those same believers.

The Apostle Paul uses another metaphor to illustrate this beautiful destiny:

Eph 5.25-27
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

The author of Hebrews makes the same point:

Heb 2.9-10
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.  For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

One of my favorite texts in the Revelation is this one showing the inevitable glory of the Lord Christ prior to His return to rule the earth:

Rev 5.11-13
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.

And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,

To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.

Finally, the Apostle John describes the unconditional destiny of the true church and its unbreakable bond with the revelation of the glory of the Lord Christ:

Rev 21.10-11,22-24
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

[I have a lengthy, detailed article on this site, The Day of the Lord which I encourage you to read.]

Some of my readers might be inclined to object and say at this point, “I certainly don’t feel glorified.” The simple answer is that from our perspective, it hasn’t happened; from the LORD’s perspective, it was accomplished before the world began.

There is a very good reason for this “temporal disconnect”:

1 Cor 15.50-57
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Christ has been glorified; from our perspective this took place at His death and resurrection. Our glorification awaits His return when His glory will be finally, and permanently, revealed.

The next chapter is devoted to exposing a number of churches which don’t believe the simple and clear truth of the Bible as revealed in the Ordo Salutis, choosing rather to believe in the humanistic lie that mankind initiates his/her own salvation.

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