God’s salvific plan in summary. Part 10
“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:30.
We discussed yesterday an essential aspect of Christ believers’ future glory is the transformation of our bodies to look like the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ after his resurrection.
1st John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as of yet what we shall be, we know that, when He (Jesus) appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.”
1st Corinthians 15:51-53 emphasizes how and when the glorification happens for the believers who live at the time of Christ’s appearance in the cloud (rapture). It says all of us will not die. But all the believers who live at that time shall be changed instantaneously. It says, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, the already dead believers will be raised imperishable, and we (who live) will be changed. For the perishable (the body that was perishable) must put on the imperishable, and this mortal (body) must put on immortality. It says when this happens, “death is swallowed up in victory.” God gives us this glorious victory over death through the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In a moment- The word ‘moment’ is a Greek scientific word from which the English word “atom” is derived. In those days when the Epistle was written, the atom was considered the smallest, indivisible part of the matter. Thus the indication is this –in the smallest possible length of time, the Lord will come in the clouds, and all living Christians who put their faith in Christ will be changed.
The description of the time is “the twinkling of an eye.” It takes 1/50th of a second to blink an eye, and a person blinks25 times in a minute. And the twinkling of an eye is even shorter than a blink of an eye.
The third description is ‘at the last trumpet’. Roman armies are summoned to march by three trumpet blasts. The first communicates ‘be prepared,’ and the soldiers and horses would quickly get ready. The second means soldiers would form and fall into line. And at the third and the final trumpet, the Roman Armies start marching. At the last trumpet in the very smallest length of time, living Christians would be with the Lord in the clouds.
Now, Listen! Thousands and thousands of Christ believers already died. What is going to happen to them is the focus of the passage in 1st Thessalonian 4:13-18. It says there; we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren about that believer who died. It says God will bring with Him those who have died in Jesus. This means when a believer in Christ dies, his or her Spirit goes to the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, as 2nd Corinthians 5:8 and Phillipians 1:23 tells us. The Lord will bring them with Him to the clouds from heaven at the glorious event of the rapture. It says the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and already dead believer’s bodies will be resurrected. The believer’s spirits who were in the presence of the Lord will be brought down to the clouds and united with the glorified new bodies. 2nd Corinthians indicates the spirits (in the absence of the glorified body in an intermediate state with Christ) would be clothed with the new marvelous glorious dwelling (glorious and heavenly bodies) from heaven. (2nd Corinthians 5:2-3).
Christ believers’ salvation would be complete with the redemption of their bodies at the above described time and event. Romans 8:23 says a believer in Christ has the first fruit of the Spirit now when we live here on earth. Our joyful experiences of salvation are the first fruit of the Spirit. However, it does not end there. The final stage of redemption happens with the glorification of our present lowly and humble bodies. It is good to listen to what 8:23 says. It says,” we ourselves (referring to the believers in Christ), having the first fruit of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
Christ believers (those who listened to the word of the truth -the gospel and believed in it) taste the appetite because the Holy Spirit is given to them as a pledge or down payment for their future inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). The main course or the completion of the final salvation is in the future when our lowly, humble, perishable, and mortal bodies are exchanged with a glorious body like the body of Jesus. This is attained by the exertion of His power by which He subjects all things in the universe.
“Father in heaven, I wonder at your beautiful plan of my salvation. I thank you because you included me also in your eternal purpose and plan. I praise and worship you. I believe in your gospel that Christ died, buried, and rose again for my sins. I accept him as my savior and Lord. Please save me today. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.”