Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sanctification and Glorification

My friend Mark Colvin recently asked, “What is the relationship between sanctification and glorification?”

My reply:

Mark, not to be coy, but I don't know. I wonder if anyone on this side of death actually does.

Here's the best I can do: If I understand correctly what you intend by these two words, it seems to me that sanctification is the path to glorification, and that the latter is the former's natural end. But I don't know if lack of sanctification in this life diminishes the extent of glorification in the next, Somehow I doubt it.

That's because I think of heavenly life as dynamic, not static. I think that God will continually draw us closer to Him forever. I think that we grow in heaven, and that we'll have all of eternity to know God better, to love God better, and to serve God better. God is so grand that even all of eternity will not be enough for us to know Him fully. There will always be more of God to discover and to love. If we arrive, so to speak, in less than perfect condition, it will eventually be fixed as we grow to be ever more like His Son, which is our destiny. Or perhaps this all happens instantaneously, in "the twinkling of an eye," when we all are changed. I honestly don't know. I'm speculating.

By "less than perfect condition," I mean that while sin has been removed from us, and its dominion over us has been repealed, being sinless and being perfect are not identical. Adam and Eve were sinless and unfallen, but not perfect. To be perfect means to be indefectible, on the one hand, and that no improvement is possible, on the other. I think that we'll be without sin, but not perfect. I think we'll have a potential for growth, especially then, after the stifling effects of sin have been removed. I think that throughout eternity, the redeemed will grow into perfection, into full glorification, if they lack it on arrival. The love and drawing power of God will make it happen.

But again, it's just speculation on my part. The Bible seems unclear to me on the point, and so I'm unclear on it too, and quite willing to say that this is, at best, just an educated guess.

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