What are the spiritual growth stages to glorification?


Just as there are growth stages in gardening, our spiritual journey follows in a similar vein. We don't just start out as fully mature persons. There are stages to our spiritual growth.

When Adam disobeyed in the garden, he ushered in the problem of sin into our world. Remember sin is any disposition (Ex 20) or act contrary to God (Rom 3:23). And Satan is the origin of evil (Gen 3). So Adam's sin generated a big problem for us.

Since Adam’s offspring inherit his sin nature, every human is totally depraved. Having been born a sinner, we are incapable of doing good (Rom 3:12). As a sinner, we are spiritually dead (Rom 6:23) and therefore incapable of saving ourselves.

Now the way of redemption has always been by grace (Eph 2:8–9) through faith (Heb 11:6) in Christ (Ref. Zech 12:10). As we place our faith in God, we are freed from the penalty of sin. But faith was never an act of our work but a gift from God (Heb 11:8; Eph 2:8–9). And in redemption, Christ was the perfect substitution who took away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29) and appeased God’s wrath (1 Jn 4:10; Rm 3:25). The result of redemption is the declaration of righteousness for us who believe (Rm 3:24–26).

Sanctification means “to make holy” and involves three aspects: positional sanctification (1 Co 1:30), progressive sanctification (Jn 17:17), and perfect sanctification (1 Jn 3:2). Positionally, believers are in Christ, which means we have a new righteous identity. We have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters of God (Rm 8:15). 

Progressively, we become more like Christ as we surrender to the Spirit’s leading. We are not sinlessly perfect but rely on the Spirit to help us grow in our understanding and obedience of God’s Word. It's in this stage where we grow in our love for God and others.

Glorification involves our final redemption when, at Christ’s second coming to earth, we will be completely transformed into His likeness (1 Jn 3:2; see 2 Thess 2:14). This final redemption involves our body (Rm 8:23) and soul (1 Thess 3:13). Also, glorification will involve the enjoyment of citizenship in the heavenly city whereby we move into the Father’s house (Jn 14:2–3).

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