I. THE DEFINITION OF GLORIFICATION
A. Objectively, Glorification Is That the Redeemed Believers Will Be Brought into the Glory of God to Participate in the Glory of God
Objectively, glorification is that the redeemed believers will be brought into the glory of God to participate in the glory of God (Heb. 2:10a; 1 Pet. 5:10a). This is the objective definition of glorification. It seems that today the glory of God is far away in the heavens, and we, the redeemed ones, are here on the earth; there is a great distance separating the two. Sometimes we feel that we are very far away from the glory of God, but this kind of feeling is only partially accurate.
B. Subjectively, Glorification Is That the Matured Believers Will Manifest from within Them, by Their Maturity in Life, the Glory of God as the Element of Their Maturity in Life
Subjectively, glorification is that the matured believers will manifest from within them, by their maturity in life, the glory of God as the element of their maturity in life (Rom. 8:17-18, 21; 2 Cor. 4:17). This is the subjective definition of glorification. We may use an example to illustrate subjective glorification. When a flower in the garden begins to grow, it is just a little green tender sprout. The more it grows, however, the more mature it becomes. Gradually flower buds begin to appear. If you continue to water the plant, it will grow more. After a while the plant will blossom. When the flowers are in full bloom, that is the glorification. The glory of the flowers does not come from without; rather, it grows out from within. Therefore, on the one hand, we have a hope of glory in that Christ is coming to glorify us. This is objective. On the other hand, we are being transformed into the image of the Lord, with glory upon glory, that is, from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18). This is not glory descending on us; rather, it is glory growing out from within us. In springtime when all kinds of flowers are blooming, none of these beautiful flowers descend on the stems from the outside. Rather, they grow out from within the plant itself. If you are a lover of the Lord, and if you let the Lord live in you and you live by the Lord, then when people observe you, they will see the glory of God upon you. This glory is subjective and not objective.
Our entering into glory consists of these two aspects of glorification. Suppose you do not live by the Lord, and you do not live Christ. You simply do whatever you like, and in whatever you do, although big sins are rare, small sins are frequent. If you are such a Christian, you can freely lose your temper or give others an angry stare at home, and no one in the church is able to deal with you. If you are such a person, there is no glory of the Lord upon you, and there is no glory of God at all to be seen in you. Yet you say that when Christ comes, you will be glorified and you will enter into glory. Let me tell you this: Yes, you will enter into glory when Christ returns, but that glory will be only a tiny bit of glory. Therefore, in 1 Corinthians 15:41 the apostle Paul said, “There is another glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.” How can the glory of the star be compared with the glory of the sun or of the moon? I am afraid that at the Lord’s coming, Paul’s glory will be great, and you will be just a tiny star that can hardly be seen. Will you be glorious there? You will not be glorious there in glory.
Today if you love the Lord, and you live out the Lord’s glory from within you, then at the Lord’s coming, He will place you in a glory of the highest degree. But if you still behave in your old way—staring at others angrily, gossiping, criticizing at will, and though rarely committing big sins, you are frequently committing small sins—do you think you will be as glorious as the apostle Paul when the Lord comes back? Glory is given by the Lord, but the degree of glory must be established by you. There is also a class of people who are defeated and will not enter into glory. They will go into a darkness where they will be gnashing their teeth.
(God's Salvation in Life, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)