By Arthur Kettelhut
This paper will address human sin as an aspect of salvation with a focus on glorification. We will review the requirements of Glorification along with the other biblical images of salvation. The review will cover the implications of the doctrine of Glorification, focusing on the ministry of counseling.
We will show with scriptural teaching the models of salvation and the characteristics and implications of union with Christ. This review follows with several name phases on the path to Glorification.
Union with Christ
The Nature of Our Union with Christ.
To conclude Glorification, we must take a step back to look at the precedents. What are the steps that lead to glorification? Everything that a believer would seek to find in their spiritual life with God can have a basis in scripture. The notable exception is those who come to know Jesus first through oral traditions, as in many missionary efforts, since it does not matter to God whether one has read his word or has his gospel read aloud. Once the believer receives the spirit, the believer has a new life in the Lord. Scripture provides in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” A person’s path to Glorification results from the attainment of their calling, election, justification, regeneration, and sanctification, which leads to the outcome of their eschatology.
But what is meant to be in Christ? To achieve Glorification, we must correctly understand the characteristics of the union. Is our partnership metaphysical, mystical, or merely like a couple of friends like a student and the master? More precisely, our union with Christ is judicial, spiritual, and vital. The textbook Introducing Christian Doctrine sums up a most vital aspect in; “Because of our judicial union with Christ, we have a right standing in the law’s face and in the sight of God.” We must be mindful of fulfilling our end of the obligation to reject sin lest we invite unrighteousness. We join with Christ’s righteousness in the sight of God.
As Christians, we are fortunate beyond measure to have Christ give us the ability to be justified. They declared believers righteous because of Jesus’ atonement. By forgiving, the Christian is free from the law as, once again, Jesus came to fulfill the law. Justification does not eliminate all aspects of sin; one can receive restoration in God’s sight, but the effects of sins such as murder, theft, and assault need physical compensation. Jesus commands believers who have sinned to confront those they have wronged and seek reconciliation.
Once the Christian is regenerated, the concept of adoption applies to them. As we become children of God, we receive adoption in our regeneration and justification. While in adoption, we aren’t under the tyranny of the Lord. Rather, we are freed by our faith, as in Galatians 3:11 “Now no one is justified before God by the law because the righteous will live by faith.”
We are back in the Lord’s circle of trust (family). While purely because of God’s grace and our acceptance of Christ, our status in God’s sight is not without suffering. Indeed, the closer our relationship, the more suffering as they do not make us for this world.
Concerning our Glorification, we first should reflect on one of the early church fathers, Irenaeus. They said, “this life-giving Glorification that comes from seeing the Father in the Son is a partaking in God’s own nature.” Just as our nature when we satisfy the spiritual requirements of God’s glory given to us. If we lived adequately at the close of our lives, we would receive Glorification in having resurrected glorified bodies in Heaven.
Glorification is the telos of our salvation. Scripture alludes to this glory in 2 Co 3-17-18: “Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from one glory to another.” The individual becomes holy just as the church, since they are separate from the world for the glory of Christ. When glorified, we will be everything God has intended us to be.
While we welcome all who come to God’s church, we have to be mindful to maintain church discipline. Persons who consistently sin must be made aware of their need for correction. Both for the sanctity of God’s church and the salvation of their soul. In Pastoral Counseling, this is taught by exercising Formative discipline. In cases of unrepentant sin, corrective disciplinary measures should follow. Whenever such punishment is enacted, we remember God has set apart his people in the church to be an example to the world. While offering counsel, it’s an excellent time for the client to review their understanding and place in God’s world.
We must make sure that God is the primary concern in their lives as all other concerns will fall eventually, just as our world has fallen. We must offer those who seek counsel an opportunity to pray and meditate on their salvation and the transcendent nature of their Glorification, as all believers will realize it.
Erickson, Millard J, and L. Arnold Hustad. Introducing Christian Doctrine. 2015
Kimble, Jeremy. “Church Discipline.” In Lexham Survey of Theology, edited by Mark Ward, Jessica Parks, Brannon Ellis, and Todd Hains. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018.
Thomas, Matthew J. “Is the Glory of God Man Fully Alive? Irenaeus, the Human Life, and the Vision of God.” DSPT’s 2017 Colloquium (2017).
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations are from the ESV edition.