As we approach the year of our Lord 2010, we celebrate something called Christmas where the substance of the celebration in the birth of a Saviour who is Christ the Lord has been almost completely removed. We have just finished the season of Thanksgiving where the substance of the focus is upon what we are thankful for rather than the God to Whom we are thankful. We have elected a new President on the basis of a promise of CHANGE without any substance of detail as to what that change involves. We have an ever evolving religious scene that emphasizes unity without any substance to a basis for that unity. We have become the Balloon Generation; all puffed up and looking large while in reality we are full of nothing but hot air.

We are a generation with semblance without substance. Semblance is an outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading. It is a sad day when people are so deceived that they actually are willing to accept semblance without substance and actually allow themselves to become involved with this kind of pretentious façade. This is the society that reduces every celebration to a party never mentioning the purpose of the celebration or that invents some silly notion just to party. This is what Christmas has become. This is the society that turns every Holy Day into a holiday and just another excuse to take a day off from work to get drunk and make fools of themselves. It is difficult to look at all of this and not become a hopeless cynic. The only way to avoid cynicism is to focus on the substance that gives us a purpose for existence beyond just having a good time (Hedonism). Cynicism is living without hope. Hope is living without cynicism.

When we think of the birth of Messiah, we tend to get all bogged down in the miracle of the virgin birth, the drama of Jewish history, and the humble manger scene. Although all of this has substance that is very important and very dramatic, the substance in this historical epic is the fulfillment of thousands of years of prophecy regarding the Promised One that began in Genesis 3:15 and is expanded upon in considerable detail through hundreds of other prophecies through the book of Malachi. In all of this there is real substance for us to build our present lives upon and real substance to which we can anchor our futures.

The substance of our celebration of the birth of Messiah, Jesus the Christ, is upon a promise that springs forth from eternity that one day in time Jehovah would be born through the womb of a woman to be a new and last Adam, that through His perfect and sinless life, His substitutionary death, His resurrection/glorification, and His High Priestly intercession, He would become a “door” for “whosoever” to enter into a New Genesis to eternally live in the glorious presence of the Heavenly Father. This is some real substance you can build a life upon and to which you can anchor your future. If we believe in that substance, we should be preoccupied with it.

Apart from the birth, substitutionary death, burial, resurrection/glorification of Jesus Christ, perhaps one of the greatest Truths of the Word of God for present day believers is the Priesthood of all believers that comes to us in our new birth relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the substance to which all our future hopes lead. This is the substance to which every believer is intimately and presently connected through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a direct connecting link to our High Priest at the right hand of our Father in Heaven.

17 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. 18 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. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:17-28).

In the few verses of Romans 8:17-28 we are given real substance to fill our lives with and to which we can anchor our present and future hope. We have some real substance for celebration and some real substance that gives our lives both purpose and worth. In fact, there is so much substance that it is difficult to even know where to begin.

Four different times in Romans 8:19-22 Paul uses the Greek word ktisis (ktis'-is), translated “creature” on the first three (3) occasions and “creation” on the last occasion. It is clear that the subject of Romans chapter eight is the future glorification of believers. As already established in Romans 8:10-17, redemption does not remove God’s curse upon the first creation. Rather, redemption removes the believing sinner from the cursed first creation and makes him part of the New Creation “in Christ.” Glorification is the final stage in God’s supernatural work of regeneration in a believer’s life (although “the regeneration” will not be fully and actually complete until the creation of the New Heaven/Earth after the Kingdom Age).

Secondly, “adoption” refers to placing believers as adult sons, giving them their inheritance as “joint heirs with Christ,” and refers to a dispensational transition. The first dispensational transition is from the Age of Law to the Age of Grace and happens positionally when the New Covenant believer is indwelled by the Spirit of God. The next dispensational transition is during the transition between the Age of Grace to the Kingdom Age at the time of the Church Age believer’s glorification. This inheritance is much more than eternal life. It has to do with the New Covenant believer’s new position as “joint heirs with Christ” as a sovereignty of priests with Christ as our High Priest” in the Kingdom Age.

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). “Sufferings” and “present time” refer to life within the curse of the fallen creation. These two things go hand in hand. The word “reckon” is from the Greek word logizomai (log-id'-zom-ahee). It means to take inventory, accounting, to make a comparative analysis or, to make an evaluation allowing a conclusive decision. It is a comparative analysis intent upon putting what we believe into action. It is the same word Paul uses in Romans 6:11 where he says, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The action of faith regarding the reckoning is to count the sufferings of this life incomparable, regardless of how difficult or painful they might be, to the new life we will have in the New Genesis. If what we believe regarding our future glorification and our “so great salvation” “in Christ” is what is going to really happen, death and any difficulties of life that lead to death are really inconsequential.

After our comparative analysis of this “present time” compared to our new existence to come is finished and, we have made the necessary decision about the inconsequential difficulties of this life compared to our new existence in the New Genesis, Paul adds, “19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:19-22).

Notice each new sentence begins with the word “for.” Each new sentence adds a reason “for” reckoning “. . . the sufferings of this present time . . .not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). The word “for” is from the Greek word gar (gar), which assigns a reason for purpose, explaining the argument further or, giving a higher degree of intensity to the facts being presented.

Romans 8:19 advances the comparison of these two existences by the statement, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” We find the first “creation” personified and involved with two anticipatory preoccupations; watching and waiting. The words “earnest expectation” are from the Greek word apokaradokia (ap-ok-ar-ad-ok-ee'-ah). The Greek word kara refers to the head. Apo means off from. Dokio (verb form) means to watch. I believe the intent here is that the part of creation with rational abilities (humans with understanding) is intensely watching for that which we understand will come about by God’s promise; i.e. “the manifestation of the sons of God.”

“Waiteth” is from the Greek word apekdechomai (ap-ek-dekh'-om-ahee). It means to fully expect. Thayer translates, “to wait it out.” This translation would align with Paul’s previous statement regarding the “sufferings of this present time.” The word “manifestation” is from the Greek word apokalupsis (ap-ok-al'-oop-sis). This is the same word used of Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:1, here translated “revelation.” Included in the second coming, is the revelation of “the sons of God” who are “joint heirs with Christ.”

2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:2-3).

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Paul’s further expansion on his argument for giving believer’s motivation for looking beyond the “sufferings of this present time” is found in Romans 8:20-21 in his personification of “the creation.” 20 For the creature {creation} was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature {creation} itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Literally it reads, “the creation became subordinate (hupotasso, hoop-ot-as'-so) to uselessness (mataiotes, mat-ah-yot'-ace).” After the fall, the creation became subservient to depravity and could no longer bring glory to God, although not voluntarily (“willingly”). God initiated this subjection intent upon a higher and nobler outcome; i.e., “hope.”

The word “hope” is translated from the Greek word elpis (el-pece') and refers to the confident anticipation or expectation of something good or pleasant. The creation could than look forward in confident expectation to the time God would deliver the “creation itself . . . from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty [Thayer: “liberty of glory”] of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21); referring to “the regeneration” or the creation of the new Heaven/Earth. When the “children of God” by regeneration are finally glorified, they will be liberated from the subservience to the depravity of the fallen creation and once again be able to fully glorify God.

The main emphasis of the birth of a Saviour and the doctrine of redemption is not upon what we are saved from. The main emphasis of the birth of a Saviour and the doctrine of redemption is upon what we are saved to. If our focus is merely upon what we are saved from, the hope of our salvation ends with a faith decision to be “born again.” When the focus of our salvation is upon what we are saved to, not just a place called Heaven, that focus immediately translates us into the realm of the proving of our new lives in Christ to be worthy of the new sovereignty of priesthood that will be given to the faithful. Before God will install Church Age believers in the Kingdom Age as a sovereignty of priests, every individual believer will need to prove himself faithful during his/her lifetime in the Church Age.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).


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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

1 comment:

The Old Geezer said...

interesting blog