By Dan Bergman
It had been a long time since God Himself breathed into his nostrils – 935 years to be exact. He had gotten old, weak, and sickly. The depravity of his own nature had taken a great toll, and was about to deal its final blow. He had seen the effects of his fateful decision for almost a millennium. He witnessed and experienced pain, hatred, murder, and lust. Age did not likely fade his memory of trying to console his wife after their second born was murdered by their first! Oh the regret he must have felt! The yearning of his heart after nine centuries of sin and suffering could have probably well harmonized with that of the Apostle Paul, who wrote “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”1
Adam, the first man, was finally dead. This seemed to be due to (what we would call today) “natural” causes. There was nothing “natural” about it. His soul and spirit were torn from his sin scarred body. God had not created him in this state. He was perfect, and innocent. If we remember, God told Adam “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”2
The man disobeyed God, ate of the tree, and immediately died spiritually. That inward death cut him off from the Creator. That very moment his cells began to decay and break down. He was now predisposed to sin and wickedness, a nature that would undoubtedly taint every single one of his offspring (with the exception of Jesus – the Son of God), be it the Apostle Paul, born 4,000 years after his great-grandfather’s sin, or you and I who are 6,000 years removed from the same event. Adam is our progenitor. We are all born as corrupt, frail, mortal sinners.
The aspect of our salvation that will be examined in the remainder of this article has to do with our future. You have already seen through our previous articles that as believers in Messiah, we have been justified, and we are being sanctified. With those ideas “under our belt,” we look forward to a facet of our salvation that remains yet unfulfilled – our glorification.
What is Glorification?
It is the ultimate work of God upon believers where He changes our corrupt physical bodies into a body like Jesus’ incorruptable, perfect, glorious body, which we will inhabit for eternity. For Church-age believers, this change will occur at the rapture:
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
1 Corinthians 15:51–55
Oh that we would realize the immense unimaginable hope and victory that we own as born again justified saints of God! We shall be delivered one day from this sinful, fallen, corrupt flesh! All of the physical aspects of the fall that Adam inherited the moment he sinned will be undone! Do you understand what this means?
Imagine with me all of the things you and I deal with on a daily basis. We awake from a poor night’s sleep with aches and pains that we didn’t have the day before. We are bombarded with distractions, cares, envyings, worries, fears, temptations, a prideful attitude, difficulties, doubts, sorrows, covetous and/or lustful desires, failed aspirations, perhaps even guilt and shame. We must die to the flesh and yeild to the Spirit of God if we are to survive the day – and then our feet hit the floor.
Can you imagine having the curse of sin completely removed?3 We will no longer feel lust. There will be no more dissatisfaction or fear. We will neither tire nor grow weary. Our emotions will only be righteous. Gone will be the days of chronic sickness. Pain, sorrow and anxiety will be totally absent. It will be as if time was turned back to before sin entered our world – only better! Our new bodies will not only be perfect and sinless, but glorious!
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
What will these new bodies be like?
Well, like Jesus’ glorified body. We can make some assumptions based on Scripture about what exactly these bodies will be like. These assumptions, however, are mostly speculation, as Jesus Himself is God, and we are not.
1. Jesus was not bound by this physical world.We read in John’s gospel that the disciples were meeting behind locked doors, when Jesus appeared in their midst.4
2. Jesus could eat. We see the Savior after His resurrection, breaking bread, sitting at meat, and dining with His disciples.5 We are told by Jesus that we will partake of the fruit of the vine in His Father’s kingdom.6 We are also going to dine with Jesus at the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven.7 Within the New Jerusalem, there is a river proceeding from the Lamb’s throne. On either side of it, there are Trees of Life, which bear twelve different kinds of fruit, which will be produced every month!8 It is pretty safely assumed that we will be allowed to partake of this heavenly fruit!
3. Jesus retained His physical attributes. Jesus told His disciples to discern who He was by viewing His hands and feet, and the scars which they bore.9 I was born two months premature with hydrocephalus and internal bleeding. Needless to say, I bear many scars from a wide variety of childhood surgeries. Will I still retain these throughout eternity? I don’t believe so, but there will definitely be some degree of physical continuity with our current form, and our new bodies in heaven. We will be recognizable as who we are.
4. We will have no pain.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4
This is an amazing thought! The Greek word translated “pain” has a wide variety of meanings (as used by the Septuagint translators) such as burden bearing, sickness, suffering, evil, calamity, toil, anxiety, and harm. The idea of pain is more than just extreme physical discomfort (although it certainly includes that). “Pain” even covers the idea of mental toiling and weariness of heart. That will be gone! Hallelujah!
5. We will be immortal. This may not be necessary to mention but must not be forgotten! You and I will be raised incorruptible!10 We will no longer anticipate death! We will live forever! Amen!
6. Our understanding of God will be glorified, not exhausted. Please allow me to explain one of the most exciting aspects of our glorification. It is instantaneous, and accomplished “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” but don’t let that fact make you believe for one instant, that we will then know all there is to know about God, or experience in that moment all that there is to experience in eternity. We will never, never, never be bored in heaven! To ever assume that we will fully understand all there is to know about God is nothing short of blasphemy! We will have amazing, glorified, sinless mental faculties with the ability to understand great spiritual truths clearly,11 but to think that we could ever fully understand a infinite God (even in 5 million years), would make Him finite, and it would put us, the creature on the same level as God Himself. We will have a growing relationship with our unfathomable God each and every moment of eternity! Have you ever thought about this? How amazing!
– Adoption & predestination
Have you ever heard a preacher teach that our “adoption” as believers is synonymous with our new birth, and being adopted is being made a son of God (becoming part of God’s family)? This understanding, believe it or not, is unscriptural. We read in Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
What is this “Spirit of Adoption?” God has given us the earnest of His Spirit. Our bodies are not yet redeemed. We desire to be clothed upon with our heavenly, immortal bodies.12
Romans 8:18, 22 – 23 continues this thought: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us… For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (emphasis added)
According to the Word of God, when adoption is mentioned in relation to belivers, it is specifically in reference to our reception of our glorified bodies.
If you’ve been taught like I was, that our adoption equals our salvation, then you are probably scratching your head right now. Let me assure you, our correct understanding of what “adoption” means biblically, will help clarify many passages in the Bible that are incorrectly used to teach that we are either predestined to be saved, or to be lost for all eternity.
Just a few verses after Paul says that we are “waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (“to wit” was added by the translators), he tells us that whom God “did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”13
Our predestination in Scripture is intrinsically linked with the fact that as believers, God has forordained for us to one day receive a glorified body. Andrew Telford pointedly explains this fact in his book, Subjects of Sovereignty:
“Adoption in the Bible does not mean the same as the word Adoption when used in relation to the legal transaction of receiving into the family as a son or daughter, a child who has been born of other parents. Evidently the translators failed to find a word in the English language that would express to us clearly, the full meaning of the transaction of God Almighty, when God by a divine act, placed a certain destination and position for the believer. The translators have used the word Adoption as the only word at their disposal, to express this act of God.
“Adoption means to be ‘Son Placed’, not ‘son made.’ You are made a son the moment you are saved by God’s grace. Now, as a son there are certain privileges and benefits God by His sovereign acts has provided for those who are saved. No one has been son placed as yet. One time you will be. You belong to the Lord Jesus Christ now, just as much as you ever will. You have not arrived at the goal which God has predestinated you to-which goal is Adoption.
Ephesians 1:5 – ‘Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,’
“In the early days of the Roman Empire when a boy was born into the family, he was cared for by his parents till he was twenty-one years of age. At the age of twenty-one, they took the child and there placed him in the market place before the public. He was son-placed. From that time on he could sign his own name to legal documents, and went forward with the full authority of a man. This act at the market place did not make him a son; he was a son when he was born into his parents’ family. At the age of twenty-one he was son-placed.
“Adoption in the Bible means ‘son placed.’ I want you to notice Ephesians 2:7 – ‘That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in HIS kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.’
“That unfolding of the riches of His grace will be experienced by redeemed men when we are son-placed. May we again quote the definition? Adoption is a definite act of God whereby God sets a goal for the believer.”14
We are desiring to be “placed” into our glorified body, for which we were predestined as believers! Those who have accepted Christ by faith, were not predestined to be saved, but rather as believers, they are predestined to one day be glorified. This is according to the foreknowledge of God.15
GLORIFICATION EXPECTED – What do I do NOW?
1. Praise the Lord
Charles Spurgeon, in his sermon entitled “God Rejoicing in the New Creation,” remarked “I said of this poor body, ‘You have not yet been newly created. The venom of the old serpent still taints you. But you shall yet be delivered. You shall rise again if you die and are buried, or you shall be changed if the Lord should suddenly come today. You, poor body, which drags me down to the dust in pain and sorrow, even you shall rise and be remade in the redemption of the body. For the new creation has begun in me, with God’s down payment of his Spirit.’ Oh beloved, can’t you rejoice in this? I encourage you to do so. Rejoice in what God is doing in this new creation! Let your whole spirit be glad! Leap down, you waterfalls of joy! Overflow with gladness! Let loose the torrents of praise!”
We as justified children of God have something incomprehensible to look forward to! This should change our demeanor and attitude every day! Praise the Lord!
2. Seek Eternal Things
Colossians 3:1-4 admonishes us that “if ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
This should change what motivates us; it should prompt us to assess anew what really matters. The Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3
3. Let not your heart be troubled
John Newton, the writer of “Amazing Grace,” gives us a hypothetical situation: “Suppose a man was going to New York to take possession of a large estate, and his carriage should break down a mile before he got to the city, which obliged him to walk the rest of the way; what a fool we should think him, if we saw him ringing his hands, and blubbering out all the remaining mile, ‘My carriage is broken! My carriage is broken!”16
Do you and I realize the gravity that the doctrine of our future glorification holds? How often we are troubled about many things in this miniscule moment of time that comprises our life-span! If our focus would turn to the amazing glory that awaits us, we would certainly cease wringing our hands about our “broken carriages!”
The resurrection of our Savior guarantees to all of His saints, that we will one day rise incorruptible! Even the thought of death should not lessen the immense hope, joy, assurance, and anticipation that belongs to us as believers!
One writer put it this way, “This is noble encouragement to all the saints; die they must, but rise they shall, and though in their case they shall see corruption, yet they shall rise to everlasting life. Christ’s resurrection is the cause, the earnest, the guarantee, and the emblem of the rising of all His people. Let them, therefore, go to their graves as to their beds, resting their flesh among the clods as they now do upon their couches.”17
The sting of death is gone! Troubles in this life need not phase us! We as believers have a blessed future to eagerly anticipate! However, if you have never trusted in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah as the payment for your sin, then none of the promises in this article await you, only the vengeful wrath of a thrice holy God.
You will be severed from any and all hope for all eternity if you neglect to receive this gift of salvation, forgiveness, and a home in heaven – that Jesus died to give you. I urge you, accept Jesus as your Messiah and Savior today!
1. Romans 7:24
2. Genesis 2:17
3. Revelation 22:3
4. John 20:19
5. John 21:13-15; Luke 24:30
6. Matthew 26:29
7. Revelation 19:9
8. Revelation 22:2
9. Luke 24:39
10. 1 Corinthians 15:53,54
11. 1 Corinthians 13:12
12. 2 Corinthians 5:2-4
13. Romans 8:29-33
14. Subjects of Sovereignty, Andrew Telford https://giftofgodmissions.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/subjects-of-sovereignty/
15. Romans 8:29-33
16. (Richard Cecil, Memoirs of the Rev. John Newton, in The Works of the Rev. John Newton, 108)
17. Treasury of David, Commentary for Psalm 16:10.