Series: Sonship; God’s Ultimate Intention
Sun am 30 July 2017-Kobus Swart
Gal. 2:20 (The Message); (Matt. 16:18); (Ex. 3:14); (2 Cor. 5:17-19); (Col. 1:13-14); Jude 1:5; (Gen. 19); Luke 9:62; Gal. 4:1-7; Eph. 1:5; Phil. 2:6; Eph. 2:6; (Rom. 8:29); (John 17:22-23); (Eph. 1:23); (Gen. 2)
Let’s take a deeper look at the following Scripture: Christ’s life showed me how and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that (Gal. 2:20 – The Message). We know that there is something happening in the real true Church of God, the in-Christed ones, regardless of the brand or the name you put on the building. We are talking about the corporate body of Christ, the corporate Son that is busy developing in the earth. Do not be taken captive by all the bad news of the chaos in the world and the corruption. Yes, it is negative, it is disheartening and depressing. The good news, however, is that Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18) and that is busy happening under (in spite of) the chaos. It is going to suddenly appear and become visible to the world and there will be a corporate voice that is so desperately needed, coming from the true Church. The ‘I Am’ (Exod. 3:14) is busy coming forth in the corporate Son but we have to realise that the ‘I Am’ has nothing to do with my ego. The ‘I Am’ means the death of me and the life of Him coming forth.
I want to highlight one specific aspect and it has to do with connecting with God’s ultimate intention. It is so sad when you realise in Church history that there has been an overemphasis on various aspects of truth and those aspects became the only focus at the expense of seeing the ultimate purpose of God. God’s original plan with man and this planet is still His ultimate intention. This morning I want to highlight the aspect of redemption which is a very important aspect of truth. Unfortunately, in so many cases the gospel has stopped there, where it is all about being saved from going to hell so that you can go to heaven. As important as that is, it is not the fullness of God’s plan for humanity. It is not just about getting saved. God had a plan when he created Adam (humanity). Then there was the Fall. What happened? Was God surprised or was He shocked? Then Jesus came; He was the last Adam, He was the life giving Spirit. Through Christ humanity was reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:17-19; Col. 1:13-14). You have been born again but I want to awaken you to the fact that there is more than being born again; there is more than just being saved. When you are born again you are put back on track as it were, to God’s ultimate plan. God’s plan is still His ultimate intention and when you are born again you are out of the fallen condition, and back on track, but at that point, you are still only a child.
If all you hear Sunday after Sunday is just the gospel of salvation, you will not grow spiritually. If you are fed with milk and you are still a babe in Christ, then that is where you will stay. Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe (Jude. 1:5). This is a cold hard scripture. They were saved but lost to the ultimate intention of God. ‘Saved from’ is not enough, we must be ‘saved unto’ and stay on course to the ultimate intention of God. It is not enough to say, “I have been born again”. That is just the beginning.
Remember the story of Lot (Gen. 19). God told Lot and his family to get out of the city. They all got out. Lot’s wife was out, she was saved from what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, but she looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. She was saved but she lost the purpose for having been saved. But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke. 9:62). How many Christians do you know who are constantly looking back, they are not making progress spiritually. On this journey from having been saved to the ultimate plan of God, there are going to be crosswinds, headwinds, testing, trials and difficult times, but that is not the time to look back. That is not the time to turn around. Especially those of us who have heard, connected and embraced to the gospel of the kingdom; if you look back you are not fit for the kingdom of God.
We understand the term ‘adoption’ in today’s society. When you adopt a child, he is not part of your natural family or bloodline. In the spiritual sense, it does not work like that. Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God (Gal. 4:1-7). You have been born again, you are a child of God; you are actually an heir but you do not even differ from a slave even though you are owner of everything because you are not a son yet; you still need to grow. All of us are still under ‘managers’; more like fathering or mentoring. In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself (Eph. 1:5). But the process is clear. You are born again (saved from), you are now a child and you have to grow, mature and continue on this journey through the trials and testing that will be there.
Let us take a deeper look at the Cross. Fromke offers good insights about this. The Cross is an eternal principle in God. We have limited the understanding of the Cross to Calvary where Jesus was crucified. Many, if not all of us, think the Cross is an afterthought because of the Fall or some accident in the universe. It is far more than that. In thinking of the cross as only a redemptive measure, we miss God’s larger intention. From the beginning, the Father longed for a family of sons. When God created Adam He had far more in mind than just Adam and Eve. He had a family in mind, a family of sons that represent Him on earth. He had a family who would embrace the same cross principle that has governed His own heart. His intention was and still is that the cross might be so in-wrought, so in-worked in His sons as to become their manner and purpose of life (Gal.2:20). Adam was invited to embrace the cross principle as the manner and purpose of life. Think about the whole story; of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of evil. Right there the cross principle could have kicked into Adam’s thinking in his life and instead of being tempted by the devil to take the selfish road, he should have taken the road of the cross which is to eat of the tree of life. That principle happens to us on a daily basis in our decision-making processes, in the choices we make and thoughts we have. If he did that he would have entered the highest calling open to man. He was to be a father who would have filled the whole earth after his kind and then as a paternal king he was to rule over all. The first Adam stood in the gateway of choice. Would he choose to live for his own purpose and thereby reject God’s purpose? Do not limit this to Adam’s decision; you and I face these decisions regularly. Will I make choices in my life that will suit me and boost me and my ego? Or am I going to choose the way of the Cross? By choosing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Adam developed his own natural life, exercised his own right to freedom and pursued his own private goals. His own selfish choice made him blind to the heavenly way of life.
After two thousand and seventeen years, I am asking where is the Church? How mature is the family of Christ? Are we on track toward the final great and full intention of the Father? Or are we happy that we are saved? It is not only about not going to hell! Jesus came and demonstrated heaven’s way of giving instead of grasping. Jesus lived by the principle of the Cross long before Calvary (Phil. 2:6). He emptied Himself! That is the principle of the cross at work. What do we see in today’s Church? The moment God begins to bless us, call us, and endow us with gifts, the ego is right there to reap the attention. Why have we seen so many fantastic revivals and instruments of God which shook the world suddenly cave in? Is it because of the ego, the lack of applying the Cross-principle?
I want this to be like a seed that will grow in our hearts. One word came to me in a fresh way: incarnation; the Word became flesh, the incarnation of God in man. I felt the Lord saying that the incarnation is an eschatological event, not just in Jesus. It is an ongoing, unfolding end-time event. Jesus came in the end time and we are still in the end time. We are not waiting for the end time. We are in it. We have been in it for two thousand years. Sadly we can go on for another thousand years unless the Church wakes up, grows up and qualifies for full adoption as sons to bring fulfilment of the Father’s original intention. That intention is to have a company of sons that will display Him to the world. God is Spirit, He is love. How do you see God unless somebody puts Him on display? We are seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). Where is that? Heaven is another dimension, another realm, it is here! Once we can be elevated and see from heavenly places, we can suddenly see where we fall short and what is waiting for us in God’s plan.
Incarnation and redemption are rightly related to God’s eternal purpose. The One who is above all, the eternal Father yearns for a vast family of sons conformed to the image of the eternal Son in whom He has found such delight. God wants a family that will be conformed to the image of the Son (Rom. 8:29). He had that heart when he created Adam.
We know that Jesus came to die on the Cross for man’s redemption. His coming included a far-reaching purpose; the realisation of the Father’s original ultimate intention to share Himself through a vital union with man, a blending of the human and the divine. When Jesus prayed for oneness, He was praying for the interpenetration of God and man (John 17:22-23). It is difficult to grasp. Otherwise, God will remain Spirit. God is Spirit; He is here; He is everywhere but ultimately God wants to fill all things and He wants to fill all in all (Eph. 1:23). Too much space is taken by that which is not God. God wants to fill all in all through a company of sons who represent Him, who have been conformed to the image of the Son. We understand how our Father before the beginning of time planned to share Himself, His life and even to express Himself throughout the universe during the ages to come. It is only as we consider the Father’s goal in His eternal Son that we can have clear vision of His goal for us His sons through Christ. In other words, even if there never was a Fall, God would have still sent His Son because that was His plan so that we could be conformed to His Son and He could have a family of sons representing the Father. This ‘redemption consciousness’ is limiting the truth of what the Cross is all about.
Satan tempted Adam. Adam chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was a selfish choice. If Adam had chosen the tree of life, imagine where things would have been today (Gen 2). The Church of Jesus Christ to a large degree is still stuck in this mentality of being “saved from” so we can escape hell.
I want to see an activation of a hunger, a yearning in each one of our hearts. Lord lift me above this limited experience, limited view, limited understanding of being saved. What am I saved for? Why am I battling the same problems over and over? There should be spiritual growth. The things that tempted you ten years ago should not tempt you today. I pray that the word will be absorbed and spark spiritual growth!