The whole of Scripture could rightly be summed up by one word: glory. Or, if we were to use a phrase:from glory to glory. The glory of God is, most assuredly, the preeminent purpose for all creation (Rom. 11:33-36). When we speak of the glory of God we are not referring to a distinct attribute like omnipotence or independence. Rather, God’s glory “is the outward radiance of the intrinsic beauty and greatness of his manifold perfections.” It is the splendor of His attributes on display for all creation to behold. The Bible speaks of God’s “glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6), the “glory of His might” (1 Thess. 1:9), as well as the whole earth being “full of His glory” (Is. 6:3). Creation reveals God to be glorious (Ps. 19:1) but as revelation progresses God’s unveils a fuller presentation of His glory in redemption (Rev. 7:9-12): from glory to glory.
Another way this theme can be seen is in creation itself. When God created, it was glorious. He declared it to be “good” as a reflection of His glory. But as we know that is not the end of the story. Sin entered into creation through man, resulting in God’s subjection of it to futility and it is now “groaning,” awaiting to “be set free from its bondage to corruption.” Yet, that still is not the end. There is still to come a time, after the judgment, that God will renew creation to a greater degree of glory that was there in the beginning. While the original creation was and remains a glorious work of God, the new heaven and new earth to come will be glorious beyond comprehension as the very glory of God will dwell amongst His people: from glory to glory.
We can also see this theme in the ministry of the two great prophets of God. Moses’ ministry was glorious. He led God’s chosen people out of slavery to the edge of the promise land. He was given the Law of God, instituted the right worship of God, and wrote the Pentateuch. Greater than all those, he pleaded with God that he might see His glory and the Lord graciously granted his request, only hiding His face from him. From that time forth, his face shown and had to be veiled after he spoke with the Lord. As glorious as the ministry of Moses was there is a prophet who is more glorious. Moses shown with another’s glory, this prophet came with His own (John 1:14). Moses spoke the word of another, this prophet is the Word become flesh (v 1-2, 14). Moses failed in the wilderness, this prophet fulfilled all righteousness and was “in every respect…tempted as we, yet without sin” (Matt. 3: 15; 4:1-17; Heb. 4:15). Moses could only institute and offer sacrifices on behalf of the people and for himself, this prophet provided the perfect sacrifice “once for all when He offered up Himself” (Heb. 7:27). Moses interceded for the people when they turned from God yet his ministry was temporary, this prophet “always live to make intercession” for the saints (Heb. 7: 25). Moses wrote about and pointed to the grace of God to come, this prophet is the grace of God come to man. Moses could not see nor reveal the fullness of the Lord, this prophet came to make God known, for “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature” (Heb. 1:3). This prophet is Christ Jesus our Lord. Moses’ ministry was glorious but Christ’s is the fullness of glory (Heb. 3:3): from glory to glory.
The main concern of this post is the way in which this theme sums up the Christian life. Look to 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 4:3-6:
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…. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
From regeneration to glorification and everything in between can be summed up as from glory to glory. Beginning at regeneration, the God who said “Let there be light” in the darkened void of creation shines the heart-softening, eye-opening, ear-clearing, mind-illuminating light of the gospel into your heart by the work of the Holy Spirit through the word of God, bringing forth life from death, love from hate, freedom from slavery, fellowship from enmity, repentance from rejection, and belief from blasphemy. Glory be to God! We are saved gloriously by the grace of God. The salvation of a sinner is so glorious that the angels, who behold the glory of God, long to look and understand His grace.
“But,” the Bible tells us, “we have this treasure in jars of clay” (2 Cor. 4:7). As glorious as our present redemption in Christ is, the gravity of sin still weighs heavily upon our mortal bodies, so we, along with the creation mentioned above, “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). You see, this mortal life is not the end for anyone. For those in Christ, we long to be home with our Lord, free from the residue of sin in our flesh, and free from the corruption of this perishable tent in which we dwell. This longing is not without warrant for the God who called us to Himself guarantees that He will glorify us, making us like Christ in His resurrected state, giving imperishable and incorruptible bodies. This is our one and sure hope.
What about right now? Yes, regeneration and salvation are glorious and we should never lose our amazement of God’s glorious grace towards us. Glorification will be all the more glorious as our redemption will be fully realized, therefore the Christian life is truly from glory to glory. But, how does that apply to us now? What are we to be doing in between salvation and glorification? The Scriptures are clear that the purpose of God’s plan of redemption for us is that we “be conformed to the image of His Son.” This is not only eschatological but for us here and now. We have been redeemed that we might “be transformed by the renewal of [our minds],” that we who have this hope of glorification would “purify [ourselves] as He is pure,” that we might “strive…for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord,” and that we, who have been raised with Christ, would “put to death what is earthly in [us]” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision of the flesh.” In a word, sanctification. We were redeemed that we would be sanctified.
In the next post, we will consider the God-ordained means of sanctification.