WHAT ARE WE EXPECTING? by Doug Fortune
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:19)I realize in broaching this subject which has drawn controversy because of possible excesses and error in the past, that there will be those who will not be able to hear the message. Avoid it as we may like to, nevertheless according to the Scripture, all creation is earnestly expecting something. I too know a little something about expecting. I remember waiting, expecting, planning, dreaming, making preparations, wondering… all this went on for nine months. At first there were no visible signs, as my wife was never one to begin ‘showing’ right away, but there were inward changes happening daily. Pregnancy… what an awesome, and sometimes awful, time. We knew what was coming though… we knew what we were expecting. We knew we were going to bring forth a child, a new creation into this world, something that up to that time had not yet manifested. Knowing what the expected outcome was heightened the good times and helped us get through the bad times.
Once the initial flurry of excitement faded, then there was the ‘morning sickness’. The things we ate yesterday made us sick now. In fact, we weren’t really quite sure what we could and couldn’t eat, and how it would react with our new ‘metabolism’. (For the sake of being poetic, I’ll write as though I was personally participating in the process of pregnancy. In reality, I kept on eating whatever was in sight!) Some in the Church today are experiencing spiritual ‘morning sickness’. The things we ate yesterday make us sick now. We recognize the worms in yesterdays manna; it doesn’t nourish us and frankly doesn’t even sit well on our spiritual stomach. Many times yesterdays manna results in a bad reaction with our new ‘metabolism’ of the Kingdom. The trouble with the first trimester (3 months) is that there is still some uncertainty. We know there’s more than the Charismatic/ Pentecostal theological diet, but we’re not quite sure what we should and shouldn’t eat. During this time, there’s a possibility that we may encounter some ‘spiritual meat’ that will not sit well on our stomach because of our religious conditioning, but in reality the ‘meat’ is good. Let’s make sure we’re not hasty to judge that which we are not familiar with.
Once we got through the first trimester things started going much better. There was almost an ethereal feeling of invincibility… we could do anything! By now, there was no question that we were pregnant, as we were definitely starting to ‘show’. (Funny thing is, every time my wife got pregnant, I started to ‘show’ first. I’m still not sure who gained the most weight!) Some in the Church today are in the second trimester. Mentalities are positive and expanding, and borders are being stretched to accommodate the ‘new thing’ that is forming within. This is a very productive time of Kingdom advance.
The last trimester seemed to be more serious. Things were actually getting pretty uncomfortable, even the maternity clothing didn’t fit so well. There was a restlessness that settled in. It was like the baby was really ‘in charge’ these days, we had no control. Because of waking up in the night and occasional naps during the day, it was as if we were on a different time zone that was more tied in to the pregnancy than to the clock the rest of the world watched. We were definitely ready to bring this thing to a culmination! Some in the Church today are in the third trimester. Things are uncomfortable, none of the old ‘clothing’ fits. We have transitioned in our view of time; the kairos appointed time (the time of the spiritual realm) has overtaken the chronos (the time of the natural realm), and there is a great acceleration occurring. There is a restlessness and resolve to bring this thing to a culmination in God’s timing.
Through all these stages of our being ‘expecting’, the question that keeps surfacing in my mind is, “Do we know WHAT we are expecting?” I believe that the Scripture gives us a ‘spiritual sonogram’ that we can look at to gain understanding. If we read further in our text, Romans 8:23 in the Literal Bible goes on to say, “we ourselves in ourselves groan, adoption eagerly expecting, the redemption of the body of us.” Did you catch that?… it said “the redemption of the body of US.” It seems to me that we have usually thought of that verse in terms of an individual application. However, the emphasis is on the CORPORATE body of US (plural). Hebrews11:39-12:1 explains a little further, even connecting the generations that have gone before us. Speaking of the many heroes of faith, it says, “they did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised, because God had US in mind… so that they should not come to perfection APART from US… we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” (Amplified Bible) Do you see the connective joining there? We are sharing in the spiritual substance of restored truth revealed through those who have gone before us, and they, in turn, share in the spiritual substance of Christ revealed through US. So, it would appear that the ‘holy thing’ that is being birthed is a corporate expression, rather than individual.
So, we know that what is being birthed is a corporate expression, but what IS it, who ARE these ‘sons of God’? “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30) Here we see that Jesus Christ was the FIRSTBORN of these many sons. True, all four of my children are very different, however they all have the same DNA because they are my children. So it is with us, as children of the Father we are all different, but we have the same DNA (Divine Nature Attitude) as the Firstborn, Jesus Christ. John helps us to understand how this new DNA is made possible, “…to as many as received Him, He gave the power to BECOME SONS of God… who owe their birth neither to bloods, nor to the will of the flesh, nor to the will of man, but to God – they are BORN OF GOD!” (John 1:12-13 Amplified Bible) I believe that ‘sons of God’ are those who understand their TRUE origin because they are expressing their TRUE life, which is eternal life, the Christ-Life. “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even ETERNAL LIFE.” (1 John 2:25)
You see, the only life that is eternal is the Christ-Life. The word translated as eternal in 1 John 2:25 is aionios in Greek, meaning perpetual- also used of PAST time, or past AND future as well. The word translated as life in that verse is zoe in Greek- the spirit Life, NOT psuche in Greek, which is the soulish life. The true Life of ‘sons of God’ is the Life without beginning or end, the heritage not determined by natural lineage, because it is the very Life of Christ being lived THROUGH us. This is the Melchizedek priesthood we have been called to as sons of God. Sons of God live as kings and priests in the earth, releasing Life without beginning or end, not bound to the earthly existence of natural lineage. “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a CHANGE also of the law… Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an ENDLESS LIFE.” (Heb.7:12, 16) This is the zoe Life that Jesus lived in the earth and the zoe Life that He came to give us abundantly. (John 10:10)
If my paradigm is that the soulish life of Doug Fortune (life lived from my mind, will and emotions) will last forever so that I can do all my favorite things and the things I didn’t get to do while on earth, a sort of ‘nirvana’ in the sky, then perhaps I need to re-think things. You see, eternal Life is NOT about ME and MY mansion. Eternal Life is about Christ expressing His Life through me as I dwell in Him (the dwelling place) in the family of the Father. The only life that is eternal is the Christ-Life, the soulish life is temporal and will be consumed; “He planned for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and CONSUMMATE them IN CHRIST, both things in heaven and things on the earth.” (Eph. 1:10 Amplified Bible) Life that can be measured with a beginning and an end is not eternal.
There’s an old Negro spiritual song that comes to mind that goes something like this, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” The true answer is YES, I WAS there! For Romans 6:6 tells us, “we know that our old self WAS nailed to the cross WITH Him” (Amplified Bible) In fact we were ‘there’ even before that; “He CHOSE us- actually picked us out for Himself as His own- in Christ BEFORE the foundation of the world…” (Ephesians 1:4 Amplified Bible) Apparently, that makes us pretty old. So, when exactly WERE we created?… “For we are His workmanship, CREATED in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath BEFORE ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) There is another fascinating verse in Job that has often made me wonder… “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding… When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 8) If we were created in Christ and chosen before the foundation of the world, then perhaps WE were there in Christ doing the shouting? Many, including myself, have been saying that God is redefining the Church in this hour… perhaps, in reality, He is re-DIVINE-ing the Church to our original DNA.
Sons of God are those who understand that their true Life transcends all limitations of time and the natural realm, “because as He IS (that’s present tense!), so are WE in this world.” (1 John 4:17), because it IS His Life being lived through US. In essence, we are being birthed into a whole different realm of existence, a new heaven and a new earth, even while yet in this world. Our new realm of existence, our new abode is IN Christ, IN the Kingdom… for the only thing IN the Kingdom IS Christ. Yes, you read that correctly, I believe that the only thing in the Kingdom IS Christ. The only thing that really pleases God is Himself, and He is looking for the deposit of Himself to be birthed and formed within US! “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…” (Galatians 4:19) We must realize that “without faith it is impossible to please Him:” (Hebrews 11:6), and that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Obviously, if faith comes by hearing, then faith is something SPOKEN… hold that thought, we’ll come back to it.
It also helps to define what exactly faith is. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) Yes, faith is the SUBSTANCE, it brings what we HOPE for to manifest. And what is our HOPE? “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech… But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the SAME IMAGE from glory to GLORY, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” AND “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the GLORY of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But WE have this treasure IN earthen vessels (Christ IN US, the hope of glory!)…”(2 Corinthians 3:12, 18 and 4:6-7)
Yes, for God who SAID let light shine out of darkness!… God SPOKE a word of destiny, a word of FAITH, into every man and it is this word of destiny, the seed-potential of Christ that we must call forth out of people. Like the Father who “called forth light out of darkness”, we must be those who release the ‘word of faith’ that is filled with the HOPE of becoming who God created us to be! “The Word, God’s message IN Christ, is near you, on your lips and in your heart; that is, the Word- the message, the basis and object- of faith, which we preach.” (Rom. 10:8 Amplified Bible)
So the faith that pleases God is the word of destiny, the word of FAITH, the deposit of Christ that He has spoken into us. I’ll say it again, the only thing that really pleases God is Himself, and He is looking for the deposit of Himself to be birthed and formed within US! As this happens, we in turn are birthed into a whole different realm of existence IN Christ, IN the Kingdom. “For IN Him we live, and move, and have our being… For we are also His offspring… we are the offspring of God.” (Acts 17:28-29)
During this time of transition and birthing, when it seems that “we are pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed…” (2 Cor. 4:7-9), let us keep in mind that we are in the birthing of our destiny! And what is it that we are expecting?… let us remember that “to as many as received Him, He gave the power to BECOME SONS of God… who owe their birth neither to bloods, nor to the will of the flesh, nor to the will of man, but to God – they are BORN OF GOD!” (John 1:12-13 Amplified Bible) Perhaps it is time to take a deep breath and PUSH!… Come forth, Sons of God!