Glorification Now?

Have you ever wondered why “sanctification” is missing from this golden chain in Romans 8:29-30?

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.

Foreknown, predestined, called, justified, __________, glorified. Shouldn’t “sanctified" fill in that blank space? Romans 6:22 says that believers receive “sanctification and its end, eternal life.” And 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says that we are “saved, through sanctification by the Spirit.”

The answer is, no, “sanctification” does not belong in space because it is included in “glorified.”

In Paul’s mind the process called sanctification in this life—the process of transformation from one degree of holiness to the next—is the first stage of glorification. He says,

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. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The progressive change that happens in this life can be described in terms of holiness or glory—sanctification or glorification.

The age to come will be a place of great physical glory. But mainly it will be a place of infinite moral and spiritual glory. The main beauty will be the beauty of holiness.

Therefore be amazed and sobered that this life is not just a waiting period for that day. You are being changed now “from one degree of glory to the another.” You are being glorified. That is, you are being sanctified. That is, you are being made morally glorious for the age to come.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.