In Revelation 21:10-11 John saw “the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” This glory is an outstanding feature of New Jerusalem and also an aspect of our salvation in Christ. God’s plan for us involves predestination, calling, justification, and glorification (in Romans 8:30, and more in other verses).
Second Thessalonians 1:8-10 declares that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming “to be glorified in His saints.” When the Lord comes back, He “will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory” (Philippians 3:21). Transfiguration will be sudden; 1 Corinthians 15:52 declares, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…we will be changed.” Marvelous.
While we are looking forward to that day, we should not forget that there is a present and on-going aspect of our glorification. Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” Here gradual transformation is an increasing glory, from one degree of glory to another. In this verse “beholding and reflecting,” and “are being transformed” indicate something progressive. On our side, we are active to turn our heart to the Lord every day to be unveiled so that we may behold Him (3 Corinthians 3:16-18). Then transformation comes from His side, “from the Lord Spirit,” thereby changing us into His image. This on-going, inward stage of glorification will culminate in and be fully revealed by the sudden transfiguring stage of glorification. By both the gradual and sudden aspects of glorification, we are prepared for New Jerusalem.