How The Holy Spirit Works
Spirit of Adoption
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15).
For Ye Have Not Received The Spirit Of Bondage Again To Fear
An understanding of the message of The Cross dispels all fear. In fact, without a proper understanding of The Cross of Christ relative to sanctification, one is hard put to properly understand any of the great doctrines of The Bible, at least as they should understand them. The "spirit of bondage," as Paul uses the phrase, refers to the old Mosaic law. The law demanded obedience as all law demands obedience, and the person was a virtual slave to that process. This does not mean that the law was bad, even as Paul has already addressed. Actually, he plainly said, "...the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12). However, the law, while good, still made its demands but gave no power to meet those demands. So Jews – at least those who tried to keep the law, even as they certainly should have – found themselves in bondage to that law because it was something they simply could not do (the keeping of it) no matter how hard they tried. And yet, they knew they must. Any believer who presently embarks upon an effort of lawkeeping, as possibly all of us have done in one way or the other, will find ourselves in that same bondage. I do not speak of the law of Moses presently quite so much as the law's rules and regulations made up by many churches. Nevertheless, it is law with some of it probably very good. Such efforts tend to fool people for the simple reason that many of these rules and regulations, as stated, are good, just as the law of Moses was good. Nevertheless, to reinstate law in any fashion, and no matter how sincere we may be, will not have the intended results of holiness but, rather, the very opposite.
So What Now Would Constitute Law?
Any effort that we make – anything we do to try to gain victory over sin, other than faith in Christ and what He did for us at The Cross and faith alone in Christ and what He did for us at The Cross, anything else, everything else – is law. For instance, it is being said that individuals can fast so many days, whether it be 3, 5, 21, etc., and, thereby, have victory over sin. While fasting is definitely Scriptural. if it's done the right way, there is no way that sin can be overcome by fasting. The only place where sin can be addressed, defeated, and washed away is The Cross of Christ. Everything else is law, and God will not honor it. This means that the poor soul who sets out to fast for 21 days and then does it will find his problem just as real when he concludes his fast as when he began. As someone has well said, after a while, we're going to have to eat, and the problem comes back. No, The Cross of Christ alone is the answer for sin. To be sure, sin is the problem whether we want to admit it or not. Incidentally, the recourse for Old Testament saints was always the sacrificial system, which pointed to the coming Redeemer. It is the same presently but with a fulfilled system – The Cross.
Efforts at lawkeeping always bring fear for the simple reason that the person is led to believe that his salvation consists of keeping these laws, i.e., rules and regulations of his church, etc. So, his Christianity now becomes a bondage instead of a freedom – all in an attempt to be holy and righteous, which only Jesus can give. Actually, the believer cannot sanctify himself. It is not possible. As well, we are sanctified by what we believe far more than what we do. If we believe right, we will do right. Lawkeeping can never give holiness or righteousness for the simple reason that the law was always broken. The very moment that the believer attempts to keep law of some making, The Holy Spirit withdraws His help, and the believer always fails sooner or later. The idea is not in the believer keeping some type of law but, rather, in placing his trust in Christ and what He has done for him at The Cross. And to be sure, Christ has already kept the law in every respect, and He did it all for us. When we accepted Him, whenever that was, we were transferred immediately from the position of law breaker to the position of law keeper. It happens simply by our faith. It is a task already done instead of being left up to us to do, which no one ever did but Christ. Some people have the mistaken idea, when they read out of which we have just said, that this means that believers have a license to sin. It is quite the contrary.
The Moral Law Of God
In fact, the believer is definitely to keep every moral law of God. That's one of the great facets of Christianity – that our lives are changed from the evil and the ungodly to the righteous and holy. However, this process cannot be brought about by lawkeeping on our part but only by trusting in Christ and what He has done for us at The Cross. Let us say it again. As the sacrificial system – The Cross was the only hope for Old Testament saints, so is The Cross the only hope for New Testament saints. As a result of our trust, Jesus keeps the moral law through us, which is in accordance with our imputed righteousness and holiness (Galatians 2:20). He does this through the power, agency, person, and ministry of The Holy Spirit within our lives (Romans 8:2; 1 Corinthians 1:17, 18, 23, 2:2; Colossians 2:10-15). Now, there is no fear. The responsibility is not on my shoulders but on Christ. As well, it is not that He will do these things but, in fact, has already done these things. The bondage of religion is always spelled out in one word, Do. A true relationship is always spelled out in one word, Done.
But You Have Received The Spirit Of Adoption
If the believer has, in fact, received the "the Spirit of bondage", it was not given to him by The Holy Spirit but rather by the church or that of his own making and doing. So, the believer needs to look at his situation as to whether it matches up with this that Paul brings to us or, rather, something else. The heading proclaims the manner in which all believers are "sons of God". In the Greek, the word sons is huios and means "a mature child of God in a legal standing with God". The believer is not to confuse the statement "sons of God" of verse 14 reflecting his status with that of Jesus who is "The Son of God". We are such by adoption, while He is such as the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). John actually refers to Him, in essence, as, "...the only begotten Son..." (John 1:18). The words "only begotten" do no mean that Our Lord was the only son of God in this manner but that He, as God The Son, is alone of His kind – unique, begotten of God through eternal generations. He is the image of God in a sense that He is a derived representation of God The Father, coexistent eternally with Him and possessing the same essence, deity Himself. Being the only unique representative, He is also, therefore, a manifestation of God. He said to Phillip "...he that hath seen me hath seen the Father..." (John 14:9).
Sons Of God
Jesus is also the One who made peace through the blood of His Cross, meaning that He took away the enmity that was between God and man because of man's fall. That is, through His substitutionary death, He satisfied completely all of the claims that the law of God had against us. As lost sinners, we violated that law. The justice of God demanded that the penalty – death – be paid. God, in His love, desired to save those who would come to Him in faith to appropriate salvation. So, He, God, in the person of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, stepped down from His judgment throne to take upon Himself at Calvary your sin and mine and your penalty and mine. With God's law being satisfied, He is now free to righteously bestow mercy. Consequently, it is now possible for any sinner to be born again and, as such, brought into the family of God by adoption, thereby, becoming a "son of God". However, we should understand, even as Paul tells us here, that adopted sons share the same rights and privileges as one born in the family. Even though this great work was done by Jesus at Calvary, it is still The Holy Spirit who acts as the legal counsel to bring the believing sinner into the family of God. When He does this, He is not bringing us into the position of slaves, which caused those under the law to shrink from God in fear because they had broken the law. Rather, He is bringing us into the great family of God, which gives freedom and was purchased by Jesus Christ. As stated, this place and position is not one of fear, slavery, and bondage but, rather, the very opposite. Jesus has kept the law in every respect, and, upon faith in Him, every believer is given the status, as previously stated, of lawkeeper, in other words, the same status that Jesus now has.
The Holy Spirit is the One Who places the children of God as adult sons into a legal standing before God and in relation to Him. Actually, what Paul is stating here is the principle of Roman law that was prevalent in his day and served as an excellent example, contrary to Jewish law, which was somewhat different. In Roman law, in the process of legal adoption, the chosen heir became entitled not only to the rights of the property but also to the civil status. He inherited the burdens as well as the rights of the adopter, the adopted being made, as it were, the other self of the adopter – one with him. As stated, this Roman principle of adoption was peculiar to the Romans. It was unknown to the Greeks and unknown, by all appearance, to the Jews, as it certainly was not found in the legislation of Moses nor mentioned anywhere as a usage among the children of the Covenant. In essence, this tells us that the adopted son of God becomes, in a peculiar and intimate sense, one with the Heavenly Father. What an honor! What a privilege!
Whereby We Cry, Abba, Father
The heading presents a status of the adopted believer. Slaves were never allowed to say "Abba" to a master or "Imma" to a mistress. The word Abba is a Syrian term, which Paul translates in Greek to "the Father". Jesus used the term Abba in His Gethsemane prayer (Mark 14:36), which Mark also translates into Greek. However, Greek scholars say that the Greek word is not meant to be a mere translation of the Syriac but that the name "Father" is repeated. Robertson says it is a child's privilege to repeat the name, in other words, "Abba, Father". The Holy Spirit enables the child of God to call God "Father", which is done so because of Jesus Christ. In all of this, Paul is telling us that the believer has received the power that can make dead all the passions of sin in the body. This is done through his knowledge of Christ and what Christ did for him at The Cross, which then gives The Holy Spirit the ability to make real that knowledge within one's life. As stated, this is a work of The Holy Spirit and tells us that we are sons of God. This glorious work does not put the believer under the bondage of the law, where he would be perpetually oppressed with doubts and fears as to whether he was righteous before God, but it brings him into the high and glorious position of a child who, possessing his Father's nature, spontaneously cries out, "Abba, Father." In the Greek, the word cry is krazo and means "a loud cry expressing deep emotion". In other words, it speaks of much more than mere title but, rather, relationship. The believer must understand that, before The Cross, Jews never referred to God as their heavenly Father. They would have almost considered it to be blasphemy for one to do so. So, when Jesus came addressing God as His Father, they were taken aback. They were completely nonplussed. They actually considered that He, Jesus, was blaspheming. Of course, we know that He was not blaspheming. God, in fact, was His Father. Since The Cross, any and every believer can refer to God as his Heavenly Father and, in fact, should do so. It is all made possible by The Cross. Before The Cross, not only Jews but no one else could refer to God as their Father. But now, all of that has changed and because Jesus atoned for all sin – past, present, and future – at The Cross. This made it all possible for everything to change. Now, I am in Jesus Christ, and He is in me. And, of course, we are speaking spiritually. Now, I can refer to God as my heavenly Father, the same as The Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, there is a vast difference in us and in Christ. God The Father is The Father of Christ and is such by eternal generations. He is our Father in as much as we have been adopted into the family. Paul said, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ..." (Romans 8:17). He also said, "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Galatians 4:7). Once again, our position is all made possible by The Cross of Christ. That's at least one of the many reasons that Christ and The Cross must ever be the object of our faith.
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" (Romans 8:16)
The Spirit Itself Bears Witness With Our Spirit
The phrase, "The Spirit itself," should have been translated "The Spirit Himself". The Holy Spirit is a person and, accordingly, should never be addressed as "it." The phrase, "beareth witness with our spirit," means that He is constantly speaking and witnessing to us a certain thing. It is more, much more, than a witness when we first were saved but, rather, a continuing witness, something that never stops. "Bears witness with" in the Greek is summartureo and means "to bear joint witness with some other person" or "to bear joint testimony with some other person". "Our spirit" refers to the saint's human spirit energized by The Holy Spirit. In other words, our own spirit tells us that we are God's children, but the voice with which it speaks is, as we know, prompted and inspired by the divine Spirit Himself. Once again, this is all made possible by The Cross. Before The Cross, the Old Testament saints had no such witness. The reason was simple, The blood of bulls and goats could not take a way sins, so the witness was not there. When Jesus died on The Cross, thereby atoning for all sin – past, present and future, at least for all who will believe – then The Holy Spirit took up abode within our hearts and lives at the moment of conversion, and, thank God, He will never leave. The mere fact of His constant presence tells us that we are saved and that every sin has been washed clean by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Not only that, which is most important, but The Holy Spirit also witnesses to us by leading us and guiding us into all truth – something which never ceases and never stops. Before The Cross, the Holy Spirit was with believers, but since The Cross, The Holy Spirit is in believers. There is a vast difference. Once we begin to understand this, even a little bit, we begin to see The Cross of Christ and its vast significance. We see how The Cross of Christ is the means by which all of these wonderful things are done with us, by us, for us, and of us.
That We Are The Children Of God
The heading speaks of present tense, meaning that we are the children of God right now. What The Spirit witnesses to us is something far higher than the mere knowledge of philosophy or even a personal experience we may have had. While personal experiences in The Lord are of extreme importance and never to be demeaned, that is, if they are Scriptural, still, the witness of The Spirit of which we speak transcends all feelings and means that it is stamped in the legal standing of the Word of God. It is a certitude (for certain) of The Spirit's presence and work continually within us, which takes us not only from experience to experience but from faith to faith. It is manifested in His comforting us, His stirring us to prayer, His reproof of our sins, and His drawing us toward works of love to bear testimony before the world. It has been said, "On this direct testimony of The Holy Spirit rests ultimately all the regenerate man's conviction respecting Christ and His work." It is amazing that many in this modern climate claim that God no longer speaks to people presently. They should read Romans 8:16 where the infallible Word of God proclaims that The Spirit of God not only speaks to believers but, as well, speaks constantly. Perhaps these doubters do not know of this truth simply because He is not in their lives. For example, they are not born again. Once again, and at the risk of being overly repetitious, we must inform the reader that all of this – The Holy Spirit witnessing to us constantly – is made possible by The Cross of Christ. If you listen closely, He will constantly say that we are the children of God, and the Bible plainly tells us so.
And If Children, Then Heirs
"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:17). The Biblical truth of the veracity of The Cross of Christ is so overwhelming as to be staggering. With that being the case, how can The Cross of Christ be rejected by those who claim Christ? The heading speaks of a present position. In other words, we are heirs at this very moment. The phrase, "And if children, then heirs," speaks of a present position. In the Greek, the word if is ei and means "a fulfilled condition". It probably could be better translated, "And since children." In other words The spirit right now is constantly bearing testimony right now in company with our spirit right now that we are children of God right now. This means that we don't have to wait until some distant appointed time. Rather, we are saved at this very moment, in fact, as saved as we'll ever be. As we've stated, we are made "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" all because of The Cross of Christ. Never forget that. Never stop talking about that. Never place it in an elementary position. It is The Cross, The Cross, The Cross!
Heirs of God
The heading speaks of this adoption as being the highest of all, not merely a secondary position, even as glorious as that would be. This is illustrated in the story given by Jesus of the prodigal son.
The prodigal, so sick of his lost condition with all of its attendant misery, was planning on going back to the father and requesting of him, "...make me as one of thy hired servants." (Luke 15:19). The hired servant did not even have the status of a regular servant who had full security and employment but, rather, one who stood at the gate every morning and took whatever work was available, irrespective of its servility or shortness of duration. However, when he came back to the father, he found that the father did not treat him as a servant, much less a hired servant but brought him back to full status as a son with all of its full inheritance, even though the previous inheritance had been squandered. This is what Paul is talking about when he says, "heirs of God". Adam squandered the inheritance given to him by The Lord. And now guilty, his sons come back to the father and are received, not as servants but as sons with all the privileges that The Father can give. In other words, total status and position are restored with all rights reinstated. If one is to notice, there was no condemnation whatsoever on the part of the father as regardingthe prodigal son but, rather, the very opposite. Hence, Paul would say, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1). Let me say it again, The Cross of Christ made possible all of this. Because of The Cross, I am, at this present time, an heir of God and a joint heir with The Lord Jesus Christ. What a position! What an honor! And all made possible by The Cross.
And Joint-Heirs With Christ
The heading means that we could never have this relationship with The Father were it not for the last Adam – The Lord Jesus Christ. He, as our representative man, has done for us what we could not do for ourselves and at tremendous price, one might quickly add. So, this privilege and position of being a joint heir with Him is strictly because of what He did at The Cross of Calvary. His mercy, grace, love, and compassion – and not at all through anything that we have done – gives us this place and position. Simple faith in Christ grants me all the privileges that Christ has with The Father, which makes me an heir of God. Roman law made all children, including adopted ones, equal inheritors, which Paul, no doubt, had in mind. By contrast, Jewish law gave a double portion to the oldest son. However, Paul is saying that Jewish law (the law of Moses) does not apply here because grace lifts one to higher status and, therefore, gives us equal rights with Christ. As one reads these words, one is humbled indeed, especially considering the price that was paid and how much none of us deserve any of this that The Lord so freely gives. Jesus is the eldest Son, but He has purposely forfeited His place and position of the double portion, rather, making all believers equal with Himself regarding inheritance. One can only shout Hallelujah!
If So Be That We Suffer With Him
Does the heading mean that we have to get on a cross and, thereby, suffer with Him, so to speak? No. Paul is speaking of that which took place in our lives when we were born again. We literally entered into his suffering on The Cross when we accepted Him as Savior. Paul said, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:" (Romans 6:3-5). We reap that what He suffered for. Millions of Christians have gotten it into their minds that if they are good Christians, they will suffer in some way. They consider that to be holiness or righteousness. It isn't. When we do such a thing as that, we are, in essence, saying that what Jesus did at The Cross, in other words, His great suffering there, was not enough, and we need to add something to it. That is an insult of the highest order. When Jesus said, "It is finished," that covered everything. I reap that. I benefit from that which He has suffered. Even though The Cross of Christ was a most horrible thing that one can imagine, and yet it made possible every great and wonderful thing that I have today – all because of what Jesus did at The Cross. Please understand, if you do not know what it really means to suffer with Him, then you don't understand The Cross. In regard to this, Jesus also said,"...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself (deny his own strength and ability), and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23). Most Christians read that and pass over it quickly because they think that Jesus is talking about suffering. He is, but it is not our suffering. It is His suffering. He suffered that we might have all the wonderful things that we now have. That is what Paul is addressing here. Jesus Christ is the source of all the things we receive from God, but The Cross of Christ is the means by which all these wonderful things are made possible to us. I have it because Jesus suffered greatly that it might be mine. Please don't think that The Holy Spirit is telling us that we've got to enter into some type of physical suffering and think that's the cross we have to bear. Rather, The Cross of Christ is the greatest fount of blessing the world has ever known and will ever know.
In 1997, when The Lord began to open up to me the message of The Cross and how The Holy Spirit works, I was elated, to say the least. In my mind, I thought that the church – and I speak of the worldwide church – would be so thrilled and happy to hear this tremendous truth. To my dismay, I found that they were not interested. Even beyond that, I found that the problem not only was ignorance but unbelief as well, which is far worse. In other words, they simply did not believe that The Cross of Christ is the means by which all of the wonderful things from The Lord are given to us. At the present time, strong religious denominations that once held for the truth of the Gospel have become so shot through with unbelief that they no longer even remotely resemble what they once were. While there are still some in these organizations who still cling to the straight gate and the narrow way, for the most part, the leadership is not in that category. A situation, I might add, that is going to deteriorate. One could easily speak of modern psychology, which is wholly unbiblical, and in fact, antibiblical, with virtually all of Christendom having plunged into this pit. The truth is that psychology, which is the religion of humanism, is but a symptom of the real problem. The real problem is a failure to follow The Word of God, either because of self-will or unbelief or both. Such mirrors perfectly the spiritual condition of the Israel of Jesus' day. Israel had never been more religious than at the time of the first advent of Christ. But that was their problem – mere religion with no relationship at all with God. Consequently, they murdered their Messiah, and in spirit, such continues to be done even unto this very hour.
The problem is not new. At the very dawn of time, Cain murdered his brother, Abel. God approved of Abel's sacrifice while disapproving that of Cain. Consequently, Cain murdered his brother, and that spirit has continued unto this very hour. That's what I mean by the apostate church (Genesis 4:3-9). It must be understood that if the sacrifice was accepted, this meant that the one (Abel) offering the sacrifice was accepted, whomever he may have been. If the sacrifice was rejected, as it was with Cain, this means that the one offering the sacrifice (in this case, Cain) was, at the same time, rejected. Joseph's suffering (even as Abel's) was from his brethren. David's great enemy was Saul and certain elements in Israel. It was Israel who killeditsown prophets and not the heathen. It was the church of Jesus' day that crucified him and not actually hedonistic Rome. It was apostasy that gradually weakened the early church until, finally, the world was plunged into the dark ages. Regrettably, it continues into the present, and, due to the deception of these last days, it will only grow worse, even ushering in, at a point in time, the antichrist. So, you see from this how Cain is related to the spirit of antichrist.
That We May Be Also Glorified Together
The heading pertains to the coming resurrection of life when every true saint will be glorified exactly as Christ is now. The idea is that, if one is a true believer – and please understand that this number is not nearly as large as one would think – he is going to be opposed by the false way, which is actually one of the great signs of the true way of The Lord God or way of the Word of God. Jesus suffered the opposition of the apostate church of His day and all others suffer accordingly – that is, if they truly know The Lord. As this heading proclaims, that is beside the point. When the trump sounds, all of that is going to be forgotten and rightly so. We are now sanctified, and we are now justified, and we will be glorified.
What Does It Mean To Be Glorified?
As stated, this pertains to the coming resurrection. We can possibly best answer the question by addressing ourselves to three questions.
The Resurrection As Transformation
John wrote that God has made us His own children and then added, "...and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he (Jesus) shall appear, we shall be like him..." (1 John 3:2). In 1 Thessalonians 4:14, Paul provides the broad outline of the resurrection when Jesus returns. He is speaking of the rapture – or the resurrection – both words refer to the same event. He spoke of those who had died in the faith, in other words, their souls and spirits going to be with Jesus and then will come back with Him in the resurrection. This has to do with that large group receiving glorified bodies. This will include every saint of God who has ever lived – dead and alive – with all the sainted dead being reunited with their souls and spirits. All of those who are dead and those who are now alive will be instantly glorified and will meet The Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). There are more details in 1 Corinthians 15 to these questions. How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come? (1 Corinthians 15:35). Paul simply notes that the resurrection body will correspond to our present bodies. But, in contrast, it will be imperishable, glorious, and infused with power – spiritual rather than natural. It will be in the likeness of Jesus through a transformation that will happen, "...in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump...". Then, the "...dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:35-52).
The Resurrection State
What do we know about the resurrection state? We know very little according to the apostles Paul and John. However, many have found it fascinating to observe the capabilities of the resurrected Jesus, and they speculate what "being like Him" might mean. For instance, the resurrected Jesus had flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Why not flesh and blood? It is because "...the life of the flesh is in the blood..." (Leviticus 17:11). The resurrected person is infused with a different kind of life. The truth is, whereas the blood was that which formerly contained the life of the human body, now, it will be The Holy Spirit. Others have noted Jesus' sudden appearance among His disciples in a locked room (John 20:26). Is this teleportation, or can a resurrected person move between the atoms of the physical universe? While all the questions are not now answered, this we do know, the limitations of our physical nature will then be gone, and, whereas we are now perishable, we will then be imperishable. Power will replace weakness to such an extent as to be beyond present comprehension. As well, immortality (eternal life) will end mortality (death). In other words, there will be no more dying as it regards the resurrected saints.
What Is Resurrection Power?
This is one of the most exciting of New Testament themes. Paul writes, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell (is living) in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (will also give life to) your mortal bodies by (through) his Spirit that dwelleth (lives)in you" (Romans 8:11). The point Paul makes is that The Holy Spirit – the agent of Jesus' resurrection – lives within the believer. It is the doctrine, one might say, of interpenetration. This means that resurrection power is available to us, even in our mortal bodies, at least to a certain degree. Through The Holy Spirit, we are raised beyond our human limitations and enabled to live a righteous life and, as well, to do the works of Christ – all because of The Cross (John 14:12). Actually, this doctrine is somewhat overlooked, and certain Biblical passages are, therefore, misinterpreted. For instance, in Philippians 3, Paul is not expressing uncertainty about his own resurrection when he yearns to somehow "attain unto the resurrection of the dead" (Philippians 3:11). The sentence reads, "That I may know him (I want to know Christ), and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings (the benefits of His sufferings), being made conformable unto his death (trusting His death); If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead (walk in newness of life)" (Philippians 3:10-11).
Resurrection Power Now!
Actually, Paul's thought is focused on the present – living a resurrection kind of life now – not in eternity. He is expressing the desire (even that which he definitely experienced) that the power of Jesus' resurrection would be at work in our lives presently to help us live a holy life. In other words, he wants the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to work in us now, which it will if we "suffer with him", i.e., look to The Cross with Him. It is the will of God for every believer to live the resurrection life, which can only be done by the believer placing his faith exclusively in Christ and The Cross and maintaining it exclusively in Christ and The Cross. The Cross of Christ is the means by which all of these wonderful things are made possible to us. Paul also said, "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection" (Romans 6:5). This plainly tells us that if we are to have resurrection life now, which enables us to live a holy life – victorious over the world, the flesh, and the devil – then, we must first be planted in the likeness of His death, which means to have that for which He died. So, we hear certain individuals talk about the resurrection life, but they ignore The Cross or even reject The Cross. Please let it be understood that there is no resurrection life, in fact, there is nothing from God, without The Cross. The Cross of Christ is the means, as stated, that opens the door for all of the wonderful things that God desires to give us. As I am sure should be obvious, when we talk about The Cross, we are not speaking of the wooden beam on which Jesus died but, rather, what He there accomplished.
The Doctrine Of Resurrection And Change
The Greeks thought the soul had permanent existence and that it possibly had renewed life through transmigration (to pass at death from one body or being to another – a form of reincarnation). However, they did not believe that the soul was the individual's conscious personality. Neither did they believe that this new state was a resurrection. Resurrection was, in fact, so foreign to Greek thought as to be considered ridiculous. The idea was, why would anyone want to go through all of this all over again? Of course, they had no knowledge of what true resurrection really meant.
In the Jewish world of the first century, opinion was divided. The Orthodox Pharisees were confident of a resurrection, but the Sadducees denied the doctrine. This division was possibly brought about by the lack of clear teaching in the Old Testament concerning this great doctrine. However, while the teaching was not extensive, it was very clear in what little it did say (Job 14:14; Psalms 17:15; 49:7-20; 73:23-26; Isaiah 25:8; 26:19; Daniel 12:2).
The Resurrection Of Jesus
It is the New Testament that makes God's plan for individual human beings clear. There is an eternal destiny – a life beyond this life and, incidentally, life that will not end. Resurrection lies ahead. Jesus' own appeals to the Old Testament showed evidence sometimes overlooked, but it is the resurrection of Jesus that is the final proof. Jesus' resurrection not only declared Him to be what He claimed to be – The Son of God – but also provided a guarantee for us who believe. Because Jesus lives, we too will live. We will share His destiny, which is actually what we are studying in Romans 8:17. It must ever be understood that had not Calvary accomplished its intended purpose, which was to atone for all sin, there could not have been a resurrection because the Bible says that the "wages of sin is death". Consequently, Calvary was not dependent on the resurrection, but the resurrection was totally dependent on Calvary.
For I Reckon That The Sufferings Of This Present Time
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). The emphasis of our redemption and resurrection must always be on The Cross. Unfortunately, the emphasis is on a multitude of other things as it regards the modern church. The heading speaks of the misery and ruin into which man and the creation are fallen because of man's sin, and we speak of the fall in the garden of Eden. In the Greek, the word for reckon is logizomai and it means "to compute; to calculate". The word implies reasoning. I judge after the calculation is made. The word refers to a process of reasoning which results in arriving at a conclusion. When Paul used the words, "present time", he was speaking not only of his particular day but also of a condition that has existed ever since the fall and will exist until the second coming of The Lord. The salvation of this world is the second coming of The Lord. To be sure, it is not one of several answers but actually the only answer. The following should be noted:
Are Not Worthy To Be Compared With The Glory Which Shall Be Revealed In Us
The future time for which man and the creation hope is the promised day of coming resurrection when the redeemed and the creation will be delivered from the bondage of mortality and brought into the freedom of immortality. The glory of that future time will bear no relation to the misery of this present time. The words "shall be revealed in us" in the Greek text carry the idea of "toward us and upon us". In other words, it will be a reflected glory, reflected from Our Lord and His glory which will make the saints radiant when they return to the earth with The Lord Jesus at the second advent.
For The Earnest Expectation Of The Creature
"For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19). The heading would have been better translated, "For the earnest expectation of the creation." In the Greek earnest expectation is apokaradokia and means "a watching with the head erect and outstretched". Creation speaks of everything both animate (refers to that which has conscious life such as human beings and animals) and inanimate (speaks of that which does not have conscious life such as plants, trees, etc.).
Waits For The Manifestation Of The Sons Of God
The heading pertains to the coming resurrection of life. The idea is that, due to the fall, everything is cursed (Genesis 3:17). According to Psalm 8, inasmuch as God has put the entirety of His creation under the dominion of Adam, it seems like the entirety of the creation, including outer space, also suffered the result of the fall. Consequently, nothing works as it should work and because of this curse. As well, in some mysterious way, even as The Holy Spirit, through the apostle here proclaims, the whole of creation, both animate and inanimate, waits in suspense for the coming resurrection. In other words, the creation presently is not functioning as it was originally created – note the storms, hurricanes, famines, etc. It cannot do so until the Creator returns and makes everything right, which He definitely will. In the Greek, the word waits is apodechomai and means "assiduously and patiently wait for".
In essence, this tells us that all of creation is involved in some way in the fortunes of humanity. However, if creation be personified, this naturally leads to the idea of a mysterious sympathy between the world and man, and this is what the apostle expresses. He is saying, or at least, The Holy Spirit is saying this through him, that creation is not inert, utterly unspiritual, and alien to our life and its hopes but, rather, a natural ally of our soul because of being created by God. In the Greek, the word manifestation is apokalupsis and means "an uncovering, a laying bare". This, the non-rational creation, subject to the curse put upon it because of man's sin, is expectantly waiting for the glorification of the saints that it also may be delivered from the curse under which it now exists. Inasmuch as man was given dominion over all of God's creation (Psalm 8), then everything was subject to the curse.
Sons Of God
The phrase "sons of God," speaks of all believers, even as Paul said in Romans 8:14, and are such because of what was done by the last Adam at Calvary and the resurrection. The first Adam brought on the curse, with the last Adam paying the price for the deliverance from the curse. Soon, the curse in its totality will be lifted when Jesus returns. However, this manifestation will come in two parts. At the moment of the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), all saints who ever lived will be glorified. However, inasmuch as Jesus will not return to the earth at that particular time, total manifestation will not be brought about. That awaits some years later, which will be after the great tribulation. This will bring Israel back to God, which will occur at the second coming (Zechariah 13-14; Revelation 19). For the manifestation to be complete, the Jews must also return to The Lord, which they will. Then, the curse will be lifted totally and completely from all things, with Christ reigning supremely on this earth and in person and, in a sense, forever (Isaiah 2:1-5; 4:2-6; 9:6-10; 14:1-8; 25:6-12; 26:1-4; 32:1-15; 33:6; 63:1-19).
The Cross of Christ
Just about every fad of which one could think has been adopted by the church. One might say anything except The Cross of Christ. Even though we have given the following already in this volume, due to its vast significance, please allow the repetition:
I've seen the lightning flashing; I've heard the thunder roll;
I've felt sin's breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul;
I've heard the voice of my Savior telling me to fight on;
He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.
The world's fierce winds are blowing temptation sharp and keen;
I feel a peace in knowing my Savior stands between –
He stands to shield me from danger when earthly friends are gone,
He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.
When in affliction's valley, I tread the road of care,
My Savior helps me to carry my cross I am privileged to bear;
My feet entangled with briars, ready to cast me down;
My Savoir whispers His promise, I will never leave you alone.
He died for me on the mountain, for me they pierced His side,
For me He opened that fountain, the crimson, cleansing tide;
For me He's waiting in glory, seated upon His throne;
He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.