10 Key Bible Verses on Glorification

This article is part of the Key Bible Verses series.

All commentary notes adapted from the ESV Study Bible.

1. Romans 8:29–30

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Read More

Romans 8:29–30 explain why those who believe in Christ can be assured that all things work together for good: God has always been doing good for them, starting before creation (the distant past), continuing in their conversion (the recent past), and then on to the day of Christ’s return (the future). Foreknew reaches back to the OT, where the word “know” emphasizes God’s special choice of, or covenantal affection for, his people (e.g., Gen. 18:19; Jer. 1:5; Amos 3:2). See Rom. 11:2, where “foreknew” functions as the contrast to “rejected,” showing that it emphasizes God’s choosing his people (see also 1 Pet. 1:2, 20). God also predestined (i.e., predetermined) that those whom he chose beforehand would become like Christ.

The chain that begins with the word “foreknew” in Romans 8:29 cannot be broken. Those who are predestined by God are also called effectively to faith through the gospel (see 2 Thess. 2:14). And all those who are called are also justified (declared to be right in God’s sight). Because not all who are invited to believe are actually justified, the “calling” here cannot refer to merely a general invitation but must refer to an effective call that creates the faith necessary for justification (Rom. 5:1). All those who are justified will also be glorified (receive resurrection bodies) on the last day. Paul speaks of glorification as if it were already completed, since God will certainly finish the good work he started (cf. Phil. 1:6).

2. Colossians 3:4

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Read More

The centrality of Christ in Colossians blazes into view again. Believers know that Christ is their life. Perfection in glory will be theirs when Christ returns (when they appear with him in glory).

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3. 1 John 3:2

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. Read More

What we will be means having glorified bodies that will never be sick or grow old or die, and being completely without sin. No one like that has yet appeared on earth (except Christ himself after his resurrection). we shall be like him. In eternity, Christians will be morally without sin, intellectually without falsehood or error, physically without weakness or imperfections, and filled continually with the Holy Spirit. But “like” does not mean “identical to,” and believers will never be (e.g.) omniscient or omnipotent as Christ is, since he is both man and God.

4. Philippians 3:20–21

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Read More

Transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body echoes Phil. 2:5–11. Those who follow Christ’s example of service will share in his vindication and glory as well. Perfection will come only at the resurrection (cf. Phil. 3:11–12; 1 Cor. 15:12–28). To subject all things to himself is messianic language drawn from the OT (e.g., Ps. 8:6; 110:1).

5. Hebrews 2:10

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Read More

he, for whom and by whom all things exist. This is God the Father, who acts to “make perfect” the “founder of their salvation” (Jesus). many sons. The followers of the one unique Son of God are now also called “sons,” for they are adopted into the glory of the newly redeemed human family (see “brothers,” Heb. 2:11–12; and “children,” Heb.2:13; also Heb. 12:5–8). founder. The Greek can designate either an originator or a leader (see Heb. 12:2). salvation. See Heb. 1:14 and Heb. 2:3. suffering. Especially Jesus’ suffering of death (Heb. 2: 9, see Heb. 2:14–18). The concept of making perfect is applied elsewhere in Hebrews both to Jesus himself (Heb. 5:9; Heb. 7:28) and to his work in sanctifying his followers (Heb. 10:14; Heb. 12:23). In saying that Jesus was made perfect, the author is not suggesting that Jesus was sinful (cf. Heb. 4:15; Heb. 7:26) but that as he lived his life, his maturity and experience deepened, yet always with full obedience to the Father. As a human being, he needed to live his life and obey God (which he did perfectly) to become the perfect sacrifice for sins.

6. 1 Corinthians 15:42–44

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Read More

imperishable. No longer subject to physical decay or aging.

dishonor . . . glory. These terms have to do with outward physical appearance: the Christian’s resurrection body will be physically attractive beyond anything imaginable.

7. Romans 8:16–18

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Read More

The witness of the Spirit gives the Christian’s spirit assurance that he or she is God’s child. All who are God’s children are also heirs of his promises, but a willingness to follow Christ in suffering is another sign of being God’s children.

The ultimate glory that Christians will receive is so stupendous that the sufferings of this present time are insignificant in comparison (cf. 2 Cor. 4:17). They look forward both to the resurrection of the body (1 Thess. 4:13–18) and to the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1–22:5; see Isa. 65:17).

8. 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Read More

Prayer, Assurance, and Conclusion. Just as the first half of the letter ended with a pastoral prayer that the Thessalonians be marked by holiness at the second coming of Christ (1 Thess. 3:11–13), this half does too. However, here Paul adds reassurance (1 Thess. 5:24). God of peace. God initiated the reconciliation of Christians with himself and is now at peace with them. Spirit, soul, and body represent the entirety of human nature. It seems unlikely that this is a tripartite division of human nature into body, soul, and spirit, where “spirit” and “soul” would refer to different parts; more likely Paul is simply using several terms for emphasis. For similar ways of expressing the totality of human nature see Matt. 10:28; Mark 12:30; 1 Cor. 7:34. There is no need for the Thessalonians to worry about whether they will be sufficiently holy and blameless at the coming of the Lord. God is faithful, and he will surely make it happen.

9. 2 Corinthians 3:18

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. Read More

with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord. The word translated “beholding” (Gk. katoptrizō) can mean “behold” or “reflect” or “look at in a mirror,” and commentators support all three views. In this context, however, the connection with a mirror does not seem to be necessary to the word, and the meaning “behold” seems more consistent with the idea of having the veil removed and therefore being able to see God’s glory, in contrast to the unbelieving Jews who still have a veil blocking their vision.. Paul continues his comparison of all Christians (we all) with Moses by using Moses’ experience in Ex. 34:34 as the key to understanding the experience of the Christian. As a result of beholding the Lord through the ministry of the Spirit, the believer is being transformed (a process of sanctification over time, not an instantaneous change) into the same image of God that was distorted at the fall (see Gen. 1:26–27; 2 Cor. 4:4; 5:17; also 1 John 3:2). The “image” of God includes every way in which humans are like God, such as their moral character, their true knowledge, their many God-given abilities, and their dominion over creation (cf. Gen. 1:26–28), to be exercised with dependence on God as the Creator and giver of all things (see 1 Cor. 4:7).

10. Revelation 20:12–13

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Read More

The dead, great and small, include both God’s saints (Rev. 11:18; Rev. 19:5) and the beast’s worshipers (Rev. 13:16; Rev. 19:18). Books recording their deeds will be opened (Dan. 7:10), providing the grounds on which each is judged (Rom. 2:6–11). God keeps an accurate record of every human deed, and will reward and punish with perfect justice. another book, the book of life.

The sea, Death, and Hades (the realm of the dead, cf. Rev. 6:8) will give up their dead as all people return to bodily existence to be judged (2 Cor. 5:10) by Jesus (Matt. 16:27; John 5:28–29; Acts 17:31). they were judged . . . according to what they had done. Unbelievers will be rightly condemned for their sins (cf. Rom. 3:23; Rev. 20:15). Believers, whose names are in the “book of life” (Rev. 20:12, 15), will enter into “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1) because the names in that book are of those who have been redeemed by “the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 13:8; cf. Rev. 21:27) for their sins (Rev. 1:5). Their recorded deeds attest to their trust in Christ and are also the basis for determining their rewards (cf. notes on 1 Cor. 3:14–15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 22:12–16).

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