Demarest——What are the stages of glorification?
In summary, Demarest describes the Christian's hope of coming glory in these four stages:
- The "intermediate state" of the saints after death. Angels escort bodiless believers to heaven (Luke 16:22). Though bodiless, believers will retain their personal identities (Matt 17:3) and will enjoy fellowship with other believers, being "at home with the Lord" (2 Cor 5:8). Though this is not yet the complete state of glory, it is heaven.
- The resurrection of the saints' transformed bodies at Christ's Second Coming (Tit 2:13). Our bodies will be redeemed (Rom 8:23, cf. v. 11). This is the imperishable body (1 Cor 15:54). Our present troubles are nothing compared to this coming state (2 Cor 4:16–18)!
- The vindication of the saints before the judgment seat of Christ, who will examine their works as evidence of faith, gratitude, and love (Rom 14:10–12; 1 Cor 3:12–15; 2 Cor 5:10). He exposes the believers' hearts, and He will praise them accordingly (1 Cor 4:5; Matt 25:21). This is not a judgment of condemnation, but of rewards.
- The entry of the embodied saints into [the final state of] heaven (cf. Rev 21:1–22:5).
—The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation. Foundations of Evangelical Theology.
(Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997), 469–472.