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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baptist Faith & Message Ch. 4 "Salvation" Part 5

"D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed."

This is true enough as far as it goes, but it doesn't go very far at all! I am rather disappointed in this shorthand in the BF&M when the believer's final state of glory is one of the greatest motivating hopes for faithful endurance in this life(see the whole of Romans 8). It is not necessary to give lengthy treatments of the details of cosmic, or even personal, eschatology, to be able to say profoundly important things about glorification that are taught clearly in the Bible and that are affirmed as marks of orthodoxy in the broadest church tradition.

Namely, I wish this section included: 1) explicit affirmation of bodily resurrection (although this is briefly mentioned in a later section on last things; 2) explicit affirmation that "glorification" as the culmination of salvation involves perfection of conformity to the image of Christ and full freedom from the influence of sin; and 3)at least some broad kind of statement that addresses the nature of the intermediate state as a precursor to final glorification (even though Scripture is relatively sparse on this)--that is, whether it involves conscious, blessed existence in a state of moral perfection in the presence of the Lord (as Paul seems to indicate on occasion).

Perhaps I am nitpicking too much, but glorification is one of the most exciting and most frequently referred to hopes of salvation in the NT. And while details of the nature of "heaven" and the final state in the resurrection are greatly debatable and don't necessarily need dogmatic assertion in a statement of faith or confession, there are at least a few important ideas about glorification that are clear from the NT which deserve explicit mention in my opinion, which are omitted here.

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