Part 7: True Sonship
Our Hearts Cry, “Daddy, Daddy!”
“Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:12, 13). There is a direct correlation between living by the Spirit and destroying the misdeeds of the body. Don’t think you can have one without the other. There’s a very direct correlation. If you’ll live by the Spirit, the misdeeds of the body will be vanquished in your heart and life. But if they are not being destroyed in your life with ever-increasing glory, then you’re not living by the Spirit yet. You’re not believing the Good News of Jesus from the heart. You’re living by sight rather than by faith.
God is calling us to live in Him, to totally believe His Word and to totally trust Him for the reconciliation between us and Him, between you and Him. We believe Him that the enmity can be resolved, and even beyond that, that we can become like the very Son of God in our mortal bodies.
“…Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). TRUE SONSHIP. That family relationship with God that we all desperately long for, comes from living in the Spirit rather than living by externals. Only then can we experience the sonship that God intends for us. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’” (Rom. 8:15). The Spirit of God cries out in our hearts, “Daddy, Daddy!” With that kind of heart and spirit, we draw closer and closer to Him and the acts of the sinful nature just fall away as we fall more and more in love with Him. As we’re restored and as we return to our First Love, the acts of the sinful nature have no hold on us! That’s the New Covenant. He changes our hearts and causes us to keep His commands and decrees. If you haven’t found that to be true, it’s because you’re not living in the good or “the fat of the land.” You’re not living in the inheritance God has given you. And the reason you’re not is because you’re still living according to externals, rather than living totally saturated in the person of Jesus as fulfilling every requirement of the Father, in you.
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16,17a). We’re not just babies, but heirs of all the riches of God. Not just “saved” into the family, but heirs of all the riches that Jesus experienced. “Ohhhhh, the depth of the riches!” It’s all ours! All the great and precious promises are ours in Christ Jesus as we’re “partakers of the divine nature” and as we “add to our faith” (2 Pet. 1:4-8).
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Rom. 8:17). Sharing in His sufferings means more than keeping a good attitude when “bad things” happen to you. Certainly, part of “sharing in His sufferings” means that you live in faith in spite of bad things that happen to you...you don’t react, or resent, or lash out. You live by faith in the Son of God. You can’t be prodded or provoked because, after all, you’re a dead man! We live by faith in the Son of God. We no longer live. That is God’s heart for us that we share in the fellowship of His sufferings through the difficult things of life. But there is MORE…
We’re also meant to share in the kind of suffering that Peter described—facing sin in the inner man and struggling with death to sin (the sinful desires which war against our souls). We face that struggle with hope in our hearts—fully persuaded that God is able to keep His promises. There’s that pain you feel of wanting to do something and not being able to. There’s anguish inside when you honestly want to overcome sin, but fall short. Like walking up to the refrigerator, desperate to not be a slave to food, and then failing. Embrace that kind of suffering too. Be willing to suffer with Him through the process of becoming heirs—not just family members, but heirs. Be willing to suffer with Him, as you continue to “believe in the One whom He sent.” Just like “all of creation groans as it waits for the sons of God to be manifest…we also groan.” This process of suffering is something we need to accept, not resent. We’ve got to receive the suffering. “Even though Jesus was a Son, He learned obedience by the things He suffered.” We need to EMBRACE the fellowship of the suffering of Jesus, not just in the injustices of life, but in the warring in our own members. And in spite of the warring, in spite of the failure, we believe the One whom the Father sent.
We trust that the God who said, “Let the light shine out of darkness”…can ALSO mold us into the character and image of Jesus. He will do it and I believe it with all my heart. If I believe it and combine His Word with faith, then like the Hebrews writer said, I’ll see the manifest glory of God in my own heart and life, regardless of my personality or history. I’ll see it in my relationships, and in the fruit I bear in the world. Amen?? Share in the fellowship of the suffering of the inner man, whether imposed from without or imposed from within. Share in that fellowship, in that suffering. Beg God in the midst of the storm, in the midst of the trial. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. “Made perfect...being made holy,” as we cry out to God, washed in the Blood of the Lamb, presenting ourselves boldly before His throne of grace. We make all our requests boldly to God because of the Blood of Jesus and the character of Jesus and the promises of God—the promises that will be fulfilled in your personal life, if you will believe. If you’ll believe and share in the fellowship of His sufferings in the midst of the war, He will change you from glory to glory to glory.
Can you believe that?? Will you believe??? Can you believe the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”? Can you believe the sun could shine in the black of night, in an instant, right where you are? Can you believe that? I can believe that!! That doesn’t bother me at all! If He can do the things in my heart that He’s already done, then making the sun to shine in the dark is small! And the flip side is true too. If He can hang the stars in the sky, then what He has to do in me is also small! There’s no question in my mind about that. There are definitely times when I war and wrestle with unbelief. But when I get right back to the basics, I know that since God gave His only Son, “how much more all things?” I come back to the Good News of Jesus Christ, and I say, “I have to believe…. I must believe You have an interest in me. And Father, You are able, and You love me. It’s obvious, so I believe.”
Please keep pouring over these things in your heart. Beg God, the Person, to show you and teach you these things. Beg Him to manifest them in you, and to give you utterance so you can speak them and impart them to the people around you. Keep begging God, who is a Person, to manifest Himself out of His love, in all the things we’ve been talking about.
Father, I’d like to speak to You on behalf of everyone reading this. I really hope that it can be on behalf of everyone reading this. Father, we do believe You. If You’d give Your only Son, how much more all things? We believe that You’re able and that You desire it for us. In the midst of the warring, the struggling, the failure, the pain and the suffering, we receive all of that as the groaning that’s in keeping with the miracle You’re doing in our lives. We believe You in spite of our failure, and our own flesh, and in spite of our personalities and histories. We believe You’re the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness” and that You made the Glory of God shine in the face of Jesus, and raised Him from the dead by the everlasting Covenant of Blood. We believe that since Your Spirit took the chaos of the universe and transformed it into order, You can do the same thing in our own hearts and minds and lives. We believe you, Oh God.
Please!!! Come into our lives in a spectacular way. Change us not for our own sake, but for Your Glory. And we will give You every last bit of the glory in our lives, we promise. You deserve it all, and we’ll take none for ourselves because we know that You are jealous, and share Your Glory with no man. We believe that You want to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we know we have nothing but You…and as a result You will live in us with ever-increasing measure. We’re desperate for more—not for our own sake, but so Jesus would not be blasphemed among the nations any longer. We want Him to receive the Bride He deserves—that He’s waited too long for already. Lord, come quickly! We know that’s conditional on us being ready. We trust You to ready us, to help us, to change our hearts and minds, to transform us by the renewing of our minds. We believe that Your Word is true and Your character is faithful and that You are love, so we have nothing to fear. God, we give You glory. You are a great and marvelous and awesome God, and we lift our hearts to You as a God who will keep His promises to us. Amen.
The Nature of Sonship
The nature of sonship and the nature of being co-heirs with Christ is that it’s something that happens in the spiritual realm. Sonship is not something you can claim based on a bunch of words, or something you once did or said. It’s not based on having the “right belief system” about Jesus or anything like that. True sonship, true inheritance in Christ, is something that can only be sensed in the Spirit. “The Spirit testifies with our spirit, ‘Abba, Father.’” There’s a sonship, a “co-heirs together with Christ.” “What counts is neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, what counts is a new creation.”
If we will live by the Spirit of God and draw on Him in fellowship, then we can have fellowship in a SPECTACULAR way, one with another. That’s the basis on which we live our lives. It’s not about circumcision or uncircumcision, what counts is a new creation (Gal 6:15). That’s what we’re looking for in one another—Spiritual Life. We’re looking for life with a capital “L”. That’s the basis of fellowship—not what they say or what they do or what they know, but is there Life? Do I see Jesus in this person? I’ve got to know, because I can only fellowship with Him. I don’t care what a person tells me, it’s only Jesus I can fellowship with. Can you see that? Can you see how important it is?
If we accept a substitute—an alternative basis of fellowship and Life—we’ll sell Jesus short. We’ll also cheat those that we’re extending our heart and fellowship to. If we build a false fellowship based on externals, we rob each other of any craving or hunger to find the real thing. If everyone thinks I’m great and keeps puffing me up when I’m not doing so great in my own relationship with God, then I’ll find myself in a battle. I won’t tend to be as honest with God as I need to be in order to find the real thing in my life. Someone’s feeding me cotton candy, so I’m not hungry when dinnertime comes. I’m eating candy all the time—people puffing me up with a fellowship that’s not based on spiritual discernment. So when it’s time to eat the real meal, I pass. I’m not interested because I have no appetite for it.
But what if I’m starved of everything but real meat and real bread from Heaven? What if nobody gives me even a morsel of cotton candy and won’t settle for anything but Bread from Heaven—real drink and real food for me? What if I’m given nothing to satisfy me until the real thing is there? Maybe then there’s hope that I will find Jesus and that something will be transformed in me beyond just intellectual or social change. Maybe then there will be something supernatural…a child born, “not of natural descent, not of human decision, not of a husband’s will, not by peer pressure, but born of God.”
Only settle for real meat, real drink, real food—REAL bread from Heaven. Those can only come as long as we’re not feeding each other candy in the meantime. Does that sound harsh? It is harsh. Does that sound difficult to live out on both sides of that relationship? Is it difficult to receive someone who won’t give me a morsel? Yes, it is difficult to be in that situation when nobody seems to give me the time of day. I feel cheated; I feel slighted. But if we’ll be faithful and have soft hearts, the end result will be something very SUPERnatural rather than natural. You have to have eyes to see and a hope in your heart. Press on and persevere, like the man who came to his friend at midnight. He said, “I have to have bread, I have to have bread.” He could’ve pulled up weeds in the garden and eaten those I suppose, but he was going after something real. He stayed after it and he persevered. If we’ll have that kind of heart with God and with one another, God will hear our cry.
Jesus promised that it would require perseverance to find the real thing, but that He would hear because He loves to give good gifts to those who cry out to Him. It will require perseverance to find the real thing, and if you’re not up for that, you’ll lose. He taught us to ask and keep on asking—to pursue. “I will be found by those who search for me with all their heart.” He puts us in situations where anything less than all of our heart is not acceptable to Him. He will not meet us on any terms other than ALL of our hearts.
That’s why that wonderful man named the rich young ruler lost everything. As great a guy as he was, he wasn’t willing to give up that “one thing he lacked.” So Jesus would not fellowship with him, and thank God that He wouldn’t. If the young ruler had come to Jesus on the basis of something less than a whole heart, there would’ve been nothing real. He would’ve been deceived and deluded into thinking that he truly belonged to Jesus. Just by “hanging out with Jesus,” he would’ve thought he was truly part of Him. But hanging around Jesus means nothing. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “Then you will say, ‘But you taught in our streets, you ate at our table.’ But He will reply, ‘Depart from me, I never knew you’” (Luke 13:26-27). From their perception, they hung out with Him and said the right words—“Lord, Lord.” But hanging out with Jesus does not make us a part of Him.
So, receive the fact that God, out of His graciousness, His kindness and His mercy, will not give us a placebo. He wants us to have the REAL thing and He won’t give us a placebo to satisfy us! Instead, He’ll make us miserable and make us stand at the door and knock and knock until our hearts are truly right. Then He will come and give us abundantly from the feast He has prepared for us from the beginning of time! Thank Him and don’t resent the fact that He withholds from you in certain ways and certain times. He wants the real thing for you…the whole thing and nothing half way! He doesn’t want us to see men “walking as trees”—He wants us to see clearly as ones who have been wholly and totally healed!! That’s His gift to us. He will not answer the door until our hearts are right. Thank Him for that. Don’t resent or hold that against other people. Don’t hold that against God, but be grateful—He LOVES us!
And, on the other side of that same coin, please do not extend superficial, foolish fellowship that isn’t based on spiritual discernment. Do not build your relationships, giving away your humor and affections and the secrets of your heart, apart from spiritual discernment. You might be feeding someone a placebo when they really aren’t plugged into God. If they’ve not really lost their life in order to find Him, you might be giving them a false Messiah. If you give them false fellowship, they’ll never be hungry enough to crave the real thing, and they’ll not let the seed fall to the ground and die. They’ll keep getting back up again and again, and then even blame others, “Well, you’re my real friend, and they’re not.” You can create wars and strivings and actually keep people from God by fellowshipping on a basis other than in the Spirit.
Exercise caution rather than superficial assumptions that end up robbing people of finding the true Christ. I know it’s hard to receive that from others. It’s hard and painful to live that way. But as Paul said, “If we are indeed willing to share in His sufferings, we will also share in His glory.” There is no way to describe or apprehend Glory, without also understanding the sufferings that Jesus had.
We must learn the pain that He felt when He had to say, “Who are my mothers, my brothers and my sisters?” To those seated in the circle around Him, he said, “These are. Those that do the will of God.” It must have caused great pain in His heart to say that about His own mother. But she wasn’t ready yet. She had come to take possession of Him because “he had lost his mind” it says in the Gospel of Mark. She wasn’t ready yet. “A sword will pierce your own heart too, Mary,” as Simeon had said to her. “You’re not going to come off easy in this thing. He will be a scandal and a stumbling stone for you, too.” Nobody escapes the stumbling stone. Nobody escapes suffering in the inner man if they want to find the Power of the Spirit of God in a real way. We must share in the fellowship of His Sufferings, that we might also experience His Glory.
So, as we evaluate ourselves and the world we live in, it’s important that we judge a righteous judgment, which is never based on externals. We must never condemn a person based on externals and never receive a person based on externals either. Those are judgments we are not free to make. We’re not free to receive someone just because they say or do or believe the “right things,” or because they claim to be something. We’re not free to receive anyone other than on the basis of the Spirit…the Spirit testifying together with all of our spirits, “Abba” sonship.
Some people are apt to say, “Who am I to judge?” and they go ahead and receive anyone who claims they ought to be received. “You need to receive me, because I believe the right thing, and I say and do the right things. You can’t condemn me, because there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” And you say, “Well, okay. Even though my spirit says that something is seriously wrong, you do seem to say and do and believe the right things. I guess I have no choice. I better judge not, lest I be judged.” So based on externals alone, we judge people as innocent. But we don’t have that right! Only the Spirit of God has the right and freedom to testify “Abba,” and to join hearts together in the Spirit. Only the Spirit brings us together in the family of God in a spirit of sonship.
By the same token we’re not free to condemn anyone based on their externals…such as the way they act, their personality, their appearance or even the mistakes they make. In that case, who would ever receive David as the namesake of Jesus—“Son of David”? Who would ever receive David as a man to admire—as a man after God’s own heart? Based on externals, we wouldn’t—He made some serious mistakes! We’d put him on the back burner somewhere, but we certainly wouldn’t desire to be like him or make him our role model. Yet God exalted him above all of His people. The same was true about Abraham. On what basis is he exalted above all other men on earth? On what basis? Look at the things he did and said and the decisions he made! He did stupid, sinful things! But God is looking for something inside of a man, and it’s very important that we learn to look for the same thing. We don’t judge based on externals—not for the good, nor for the bad.
God is calling us to live in spiritual discernment. Romans speaks of the fact that in order to live in the Glory of Jesus’ Life, it is mandatory that our minds be controlled by the Spirit. We must live in this testimony of the Spirit, testifying with our spirit, “Abba.” As we look at each other, we must look for that “co-heir in Christ” testimony, that glory testimony, that sons of God testimony, that mutual “Abba” testimony.
In the Spirit is the ONLY basis by which we can judge. If you’ve not learned how to judge in the Spirit, you’ll be impotent in your walk with God. You’ll not be able to touch the things Jesus wants to touch. You’ll gloss right over them and be naive in circumstance after circumstance. You’ll judge in a negative way those who don’t “do the right things” or who have personalities you don’t like, or who make mistakes, like David and Abraham. You’ll reject them, based on externals. Then you’ll judge in a positive way those people who are smooth talking and say the right things, and whose “testimony” is squeaky-clean. Nothing you see in their life seems to be a problem, so you receive them based on externals. But God doesn’t judge a man based on the externals…He looks at the heart. David was judged after the heart.
I want to encourage you, like Paul is testifying to the Romans, that the nature of spiritual victory and the nature of spiritual fellowship are in the Spirit. They are not to be found based on common socio-economic strata, personality, age, common interests, or even common belief systems, per se. None of those issues are the basis on which we might have fellowship one with another, and be co-heirs together in Christ. We have to see way past the externals and “judge nothing according to the flesh,” as Paul said. We must only discern in the spiritual realm. Those with the mind of Christ can discern all things (1 Cor. 2). Those without the mind of Christ are fleshly babies that live in carnality, and as Paul went on to say, “I can’t speak of you as spiritual.” The ability to fellowship properly has to be based on spiritual discernment, not on external discernment. Choosing to give your heart away, or the refusal to give your heart away—both must be based on spiritual discernment, not on the externals.
I’m calling you to a higher plane of existence! Don’t decide where you’re going, and what you’re doing, and who to have dinner with just based on externals. The intent is that we would all grow up in the Spirit and learn how to judge a righteous judgment. The intent is to learn how to discern all things and to live in the Spirit…to fellowship only with what Jesus is fellowshipping with, and to withdraw from things that Jesus has withdrawn from because they have grieved His Holy Spirit. You don’t even have to see or know a person extensively, or spend huge blocks of time with them, to be able to discern these things. If you live in the Spirit, you’ll be able to discern these matters just as Jesus did.
This is about LIVING a Victorious Life! It’s about overcoming sin in your own life and discerning properly in the Spirit those things that testify “Abba” and sonship. Co-heirs together in Christ because of a revelation that flesh and blood cannot reveal—that’s the basis on which the Church is built. It has to be SUPER-natural! “Upon this rock I will build my church against which the gates of hell cannot prevail.” If it’s not based on a revelation that only the Father can give, then the gates of hell prevail. We’ll make bad decision after bad decision. We will exclude what He’s receiving, and we will receive what He’s excluding—in our own life as well as in other people’s lives. Without revelation we will be miserable in ourselves, constantly living in Romans 7 failure. We will always be failing in Romans 7, and won’t have true fellowship one with another, because we’ll constantly be making decisions after the flesh. We’ll never be able to fulfill the requirements of God in our mortal body as He promised we could if we lived by the Spirit.
Live By the Spirit of Sonship
SO, Live in the SPIRIT!! It’s a call to live in the Spirit so you can find victory over sin, temptation, trial and suffering within yourself, and also to find true fellowship one with another. We must live only by the revelation that comes from the Father, because it’s only on that rock that Jesus builds His Church and against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. The only way to beat satan down and win the victory over him personally and corporately is to put to death the misdeeds of the body by the Spirit. To live by that Spirit of sonship that testifies together—co-heirs, co-heirs! We must live by Revelation that the Father gives and not by externals.
Leaning on your own understanding or on others’ understanding is a lack of spiritual life and a quenching of God’s Spirit. Not turning to Him will leave you continuously impotent, perpetually making mistakes in life, and missing thing after thing. You’ll see warning sign after warning sign in a person’s life, but you’ll not act on any of them because you think somebody else surely would’ve said something if it was really a problem. “Well, they’ve been around a lot, and if there was a problem somebody surely would’ve said something, so it must be okay.” “They were probably just joking.” Meanwhile, all those warning signs combined together end up resulting in someone’s death that could’ve been stopped! If someone had been willing to throw their body down in front of the roaring freight train, it could’ve been stopped before it was too late. We’ve got to live by the Spirit.
The testimony of God’s heart is the Gospel of Jesus. And the Gospel of Jesus and the Kingdom involves the Power of the Spirit of God living within. Paul went so far as to say that if you don’t have the Spirit of Christ and you’re not living by the Spirit of Christ, you’re none of His! It’s just that clear in Paul’s heart—we’ve got to live by the Life of the Spirit of God! If we live by the flesh, we will die. But if we will live by the Spirit—the Spirit of sonship—we will surely live.
“The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” If you live by the Spirit, you’ll not find yourself making 10,000 mistakes…always back and forth, back and forth, wondering what people think and wondering how you’re going to fail next. Can you relate to that? Have you ever felt that? “What do people think? How will I ever do this right? Well, I’ve failed before; I’ll probably fail again. If I do that, then what will they think?” It’s always this “they” thing. That web of thoughts doesn’t happen when you live by the Spirit of Life. The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. That doesn’t mean life is without its mistakes! But it will be 99% less filled with foolish mistakes if we abide in Him and do nothing apart from Him, as He called us to do.
The gates of hell will not prevail if we live by the Rock of Revelation that the Father has given us. And that’s what Paul goes on to say is the secret of this whole deal. Do you want to put to death the misdeeds of the body? Then don’t live by a bunch of externals…live by the Spirit. Let your mind be controlled by the Spirit of Life. Find the testimony of life within yourself and the Spirit of God testifying with your spirit, “Abba!” With that kind of life, you will find fellowship one with another and fellowship with the Godhead. You’ll find a freedom that is just unbelievable compared to the Romans 7 kind of life that most people perpetually live in. This is your inheritance—co-heirs with Christ. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs.” We’re not just talking about being born into His family. We’re talking about inheriting the riches of Jesus in this life and in the life to come, eternal life. If children, also heirs!
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17). If you wonder what he means by “heirs”...glory is the issue! Jesus is bringing many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10). God’s intent for us is to have abundant life, a full life, reigning in life, the power of an indestructible life, peace that transcends understanding, tasting the powers of the coming age (John 10:10, Rom. 5:17, Heb. 7:16, Phil 4:7, Heb 6:5). This is what we are heirs to—filled with Glory! Not just sons, but also heirs.
EXPRESS the Risen Jesus
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…” (Romans 8:18). It doesn’t say, “revealed to us,” but “revealed in us.” Do you know the difference between those two things? The difference between glory that is revealed to us, versus glory that’s revealed in us? God’s intent is to reveal His Glory IN you. Do you believe that? You have to believe that—it’s His promise to you. You will never experience the reality of His Glory in you in this present age to any measure at all, unless you believe that. Look to God and say, “God reveal your Glory in me!” Don’t think, “Oh well, I’m too modest. I’m too humble to ask for that to happen.” No! It’s His desire and it’s to the praise of His Glory that He reveal His Glory in us, not just to us. Don’t settle for, “When we die and go to heaven we’ll see His Glory. The streets are paved with gold and there’s a mansion...” That is not what He’s talking about. He’s talking about revealing His Glory in us. It’s not just revealed to us, where “Oh, I see it now.” No! We are it now! We ARE it now. That is His objective for your life—to have His Glory revealed IN you!! You need to believe that.
And the more you believe and have a heart for that, the more of an expectation you will have for… “this hope that will not disappoint.” You will have the Love of God shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost. That’s GLORY, if you want to define terms. I’ll just plant that as a seed. If you really want to know the experience of His Glory, you have to believe that it’s His full intention to draw you up and reveal His Glory in you and through you in the full measure of the stature of the Son of God. It’s His intent that you would be able to put to death the misdeeds of the body by the Spirit. The Spirit of God testifying with your spirit, “Abba! Abba!” And experiencing that on a continual basis, not just in some rare times of ecstasy while you’re listening to a praise tape. We’re talking about the Life of God welling up from within. “Rivers of living water, flowing from the inner man,” Jesus said. Rivers gushing forth from your inner man! For who? To those who BELIEVE! (John 7). This is not to the spiritual heroes or to the people who say things real well. This is for the people, the simple saints, who truly believe His Word is True. Rivers of living water will flow out to water the gardens of God, and bring forth Life out of the desert of humanity. That’s God’s heart for you who believe…if you believe.
“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:19-30).
All of creation—all the heavens and the earth, all the stars hanging in the sky, all the trees and grass and wildflowers, all the rivers, waterfalls, lakes and bubbling brooks and all the thunderclouds—all of them are working towards one end. They’re all crying out in eager expectation for you to have the manifest glory of God burst from within! All of creation waits with a drum roll…for you to express the Risen Jesus!
God’s intent is that you, as a person, as an individual, by name, would express in your life the Glory of God in an unprecedented and unhindered way. God’s intent is that your life would declare His Glory to the angels, and the principalities and powers, and all the spiritual forces of darkness in the underworld. God’s intent is to take “mere men” like us—flesh and blood, created “a little lower than the angels”—and draw us up into Himself and make an equal-yoke-Bride for the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth. It’s a miracle, but God is preparing and making us “a habitation of God by the Spirit.” He’s working these things in all who believe, for all who have a revelation of these things from the Father.
Look to God and cry out to Him that His Glory would be manifested in His children. We must believe that’s what God is doing—that all of creation is waiting in eager expectation. Only with that kind of heart and mindset, will God manifest these things. Cry out that we’d believe Him in spite of our own weaknesses, our frailties, the disappointments in life, our heartaches, rejection and fear. From “one degree of glory to another” to another, God will express His Glory. When we see Him face to face it will be fully completed, but what a tremendous amount that can happen between now and then, for those who will Believe.
It’s certainly true that there’s a victory that overcomes death and lets us “go to heaven.” But there’s a victory NOW that overcomes the world and lets us overcome the power of the enemy—even our faith. Believe what God said is true—“without wavering, fully persuaded, giving glory to God!” That’s the kind of heart. Those with the faith of Abraham are sons of Abraham and experience the promise of Isaac…Laughter out of a barren womb. Do you understand you have a barren womb? Do you understand that you’re dead? That your body is as good as dead? Good. That’s Romans 1, 2 and 3. That’s exactly right. Your body is as good as dead, so you can’t do it. You can only express the Glory of God if you’ll let the seed fall to the ground and die. Deny your very self, take up your cross and follow Him…not striving for recognition, not striving for accomplishment, not striving to justify yourself. Recognize completely that your body is as good as dead and that you cannot do it. Apart from Him you can do nothing. With that heart and that mindset, God can “create” out of nothing. So claim nothing for yourselves. “Call things that are not, as though they are.” Make yourself nothing, taking on the form of a slave because that’s all you’re worth…and then God highly exalts. God lifts us up as we make ourselves nothing. This is the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
“Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). We’ve seen the beginning of what God is doing…we’ve tasted the first fruits of the Spirit, and we’re crying out, not just for firstfruits, but for the entire harvest! We don’t want to just “taste the powers of the coming age,” we want the WHOLE meal! We don’t want just a little bit on the tip of our tongue—we want the whole thing! And we believe God is doing that—in spite of our decay and our weakness, and in spite of the fact that our body is as good as dead.
The Spirit is praying—He’s crying out—with our spirit in the inner man. “The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:26,27). So what is God’s will? What is the Spirit praying for?? What is this “groaning in the Spirit” that goes way beyond words? What’s it all about? Well, verse 28… “in all things God works for the good.”
In most Bibles, there’s a title heading between verses 27 and 28. But in the text that God wrote, there are no titles. There’s no break in the flow of thought in Paul’s original letter. So what does the Spirit intercede for? What’s He after? He’s working “everything together for the good” and the Spirit is interceding for you by name. He’s praying for you by name and He’s crying out way past being able to express it with words. “God, make everything work together for this one end. This child loves You and he wants to serve You. He wants to do things for Your purposes and not his own. This daughter loves You and wants to serve Your purposes and not her own. Work everything towards the end of making them into the family likeness of Jesus” (v. 29). The Spirit of God is groaning, even fighting, for you. The Spirit is interceding at the Throne of God for you by name in order to draw you up into His Life and Likeness. If you love Him and you desire to serve His Purposes and not your own, then He’ll work everything toward the end of making you just like the Son of God.
We can have such hope, and that “hope will not disappoint.” Though we’ve not seen the full expression of it yet, “that hope will not disappoint.” We receive that hope because in God’s heart, the work has already been done in us. He’s freely justified you and He’s also freely glorified you. Yet we haven’t believed what He’s spoken, and that’s what has held us back. He has glorified you. You NEED to believe that. You need to understand that you’re not just flesh and blood. Your personality and the things you believe and think about...you’re not limited to any of that junk. The full Godhead has come to make His home in you! (John 14:23; Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16). If you began in faith, and if you now continue to believe, rather than trying to “attain your goal by mere human effort,” then He will bring forth in you the manifestation of the Glory that is in Christ Jesus. Not just the sonship, but also co-heir with Christ. He wants to manifest not only the salvation of Jesus, but also the full measure of His Glory and His Riches in you.
Jesus was saved, wouldn’t you agree? But is that the end of the story, just that Jesus was saved? No! Nor should it be the end for you. The fact that we’re saved is wonderful and it’s something none of us deserve. How could we even ask for that as a starting place? But God promised it, so we believe it. For those who believe on the Name of the Son, God brings a salvation. That’s marvelous, but there’s more! There’s a salvation that is a full salvation, a full deliverance that involves every aspect of your life, every molecule of your body, every wavelength in your brain, every neuron that fires in your head. God wants to change every word that comes out of your mouth. Every hair on your head is numbered and the whole picture is meant to bring you into the full measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. That’s your inheritance! Not just saved with Him, but co-heir! “Not just a Son,” He said, which is enough, “but a co-heir with Christ in all the fullness of His riches.” That’s His desire for you, and it will happen in your lifetime. This “hope will not disappoint,” if you will only believe.
This doesn’t speak of independence in any way. Jesus was the fullness of Deity and yet submitted to the Father with no independence whatsoever. So also, our experience of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit living inside of us makes us all the more mutually dependent on one another, not independent of God or of one another. We will always “have need” of “one another” saith the Lord.
“When I return to the earth, will I find faith? Will I find people that believe Me!? If I find people who believe Me, then I’ll find people who manifest My Life in such a very real and observable way that even the Gentiles will see it, as Peter said.” Even the pagans will recognize the Supernatural Life of Christ and they’ll want to hang on to your cloak. “Take us to your Jesus!!” That’s God’s heart for you—that’s your inheritance.
If God Be For Us…
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). Jesus didn’t come just to save us, He came to be the genetic Firstborn. He came to be the first fruit of a family that has a serious family likeness to the Father. As the song goes, “She’s Got Her Father’s Eyes.” That’s God’s heart for us, that we’d have a striking family resemblance with the Son of God and with the Father.
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) Can you see the confidence that would build in a person if they understood that the Creator of the Universe is for us?!
I can remember a time when I was 11 years old or so, waiting at a bus stop to go to school. A particular boy there took serious pleasure in coming after me and picking on me and I have no idea why he did that. He was about three years older than I was and seemed twice as big! One day, three good friends of mine got tired of watching him pick on me. They had a lot more guts than I did, so while he was bad-mouthing me, these three guys just ran at him from all directions, climbed on his back and wrestled him to the ground. There weren’t any punches thrown or any blood, but the fact is that from that day forward I had a confidence that I didn’t have anything to fear at the bus stop anymore. I used to get sick to my stomach every day when I went to the bus stop. I knew this bully wanted to ride and mock and threaten me. But after those boys defended me that day, I never had that problem again. I knew that “those who were for me were more than those who were against me,” and he knew that too! If he could’ve intimidated me, he would have! But he couldn’t intimidate me anymore, because the numbers had changed. I know it’s a shallow example, but something special happened inside of me that day that changed my whole life.
It’s the same thing that happened to us when God bought us into His Family. Something very Real happened in me when I first saw that “He who is for me is greater than he who is against me.” “If God be for me, who can be against me?” Something CHANGED in me in a very serious way when I found that the Blood of Jesus was my claim to righteousness. The Blood of Jesus was my claim to the Father’s Love—not something I had done or accomplished or something I hadn’t done. The only basis, the only claim, the ONLY thing that would allow me to come boldly before the Throne of Grace was the Blood of Jesus, and that was a settled issue. That can’t ever change. It’s already happened. You can’t change history. You’re not able to change what you ate for lunch yesterday. You can second-guess it all day long, but it’s already happened and you can’t do anything to change it.
The same is true for Calvary…nothing can change what Jesus did on the cross. It cannot be undone. On a Sunday 2000 years ago, in a country that you can get to in just a few hours, something really happened. There’s an actual place where the Son of God, the blameless Lamb of God, took away the sins of the world. Because I believe that, and ONLY because I believe that, are my sins taken away. I have nothing whatsoever to fear, because “if God is for me, who can be against me?”
That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of work to do and I don’t need to suffer some. It doesn’t mean I won’t be convicted and have challenges and failures at times in my life. But the root issues, the fundamentals of the whole deal are permanently settled, because I believe I have no access to the Father except by the Blood of Christ.
And the flip side of that is true too: Because of the Blood of Christ, I cannot be refused by the Father. Do you understand both of those things? I have no access to the Father except by the Blood of Christ. I see myself for who I am. I must see myself for who I am and that I have no righteousness of my own (Rom. 1-3). I can have no access whatsoever based on any merit or any good thing that I do. Now flip the coin over… I also cannot be refused by the Father because I come in the Name of the Son.
That doesn’t mean His grace is an excuse to sin. As Paul said, “Some slanderously report that I’m saying we should go on sinning so that grace may abound. What a horrid thought, a hideous idea! It’s because of His Grace that I learn to say ‘No!’ to ungodliness. Because He first loved me, I love Him and I’ve softened my heart. Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart.”
God has changed us and put the deposit of His Spirit in us—the first fruit of the Spirit—the deposit that guarantees our inheritance. When I first believed Him (and this won’t be true for those who have not believed), because I did believe Him utterly for salvation from my wretchedness by His Blood and Grace… because I believe that, He put His Spirit in me, just as He Promised for “all who believe.” And from that day forward I could hear the Shepherd’s voice. I wasn’t competing intellectually and striving to understand. I wasn’t fighting in the intellectual realm to grab a hold of an idea and apply it properly. Everything wasn’t dependent on whether I understood or acted properly—that junk just didn’t matter anymore.
When we first believe, He puts His Spirit in us, and then we are able to hear the Spirit’s Voice. We begin to listen and then it grows with ever-increasing clarity, just like a mother’s voice does for a baby. At first a baby doesn’t understand its mother’s voice. But in time the baby learns to hear the voice of his mother. As a toddler he can hear her voice, even above the noise in a crowded place. “Johnny! Johnny!” His ears perk, and he runs toward her. Out of a thousand voices barely discernible to anyone else, the little one knows the mother’s voice. That’s the nature and substance of the Spirit of God that has been deposited in our inner man. Paul is simply saying, “Learn to live this way. Learn to hear the Spirit’s Voice. Put to death the misdeeds of the body—not by your willpower, not by your self righteousness, not by comparing yourself to other people, or to yourself, not by the guilt and shame you’ve imposed on yourself—but by the Spirit of Sonship, by the Spirit of Abba, and by the Spirit of your relationship with the Father.”
The Spirit will groan inside of you with groans too deep to be uttered. He will groan in your heart and your spirit. When you’re missing Him you’ll feel that groaning. You’ll feel those “pains of childbirth” inside of you. “Arrrghhh!” And you’ll know, “Hey, this isn’t the Spirit of life and peace. This isn’t grace and truth living inside of me. I must be missing Him, I’m not hearing His Voice. There’s something else churning and testifying inside of me. The Spirit’s interceding for me with groans too deep to be uttered. I must be missing Him.” So He graciously turns our hearts and spirits back towards Him, to cry out to Him, to call on the Name of the Lord, to no longer be hardened in our hearts. We find Him in the midst of the storm, and He gives us peace.
“The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” “If God be for us, who can be against us?” We come boldly by the Blood of Christ before the Throne of Grace. Do you see how God is working everything together? If we will love Him and make His purposes first in our life…if we will seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, then He will bring us into a Family relationship and provision that is far better than what the sparrows and the lilies of the field have! If He cares for them, how much more, us? God desires to make us sons. And if sons, then “co-heirs with Christ,” with all the Glory and the Riches that He lavishly poured out on His Son, Jesus. That’s His inheritance for us.
Very few people get anywhere near this stuff. To be honest, most people miss it altogether. But it’s not because it’s not in God’s heart! They miss it because they don’t believe God. They don’t combine His Word with faith and walk in it simply because God said so. In spite of whatever else that’s crying out around us for attention and affection, we cannot let that kind of unbelief into our hearts.
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31,32) If He would let His only precious Son die for us, how can we think that He would rob us of the riches of the Inheritance He wants to give us? Why do we think God is going to cheat us and make it hard for us? Why do we feel like we have to die in poverty and weakness, sin and despair, frustration and guilt? Why would we have that picture of God when He graciously gave us His own Son to die for us? “If His Son, how much more all things?” Paul is saying, “Anything else is easy compared to that! If you won’t believe the other things I’ve said, at least look at it realistically. God gave His precious, beloved Son to die. He was scourged, mocked, spit at, hated, rejected, beaten, and thrashed beyond human recognition. Then He was unjustly executed with criminals in a most humiliating way. He allowed all that to happen in His sight, carefully watching every detail. He allowed all that to happen to Him, so that it wouldn’t have to happen to you.”
Now if He loved you that much, why do you doubt that He’s going to make you whole? Let me say it another way: how dare we doubt that He’s going to manifest His Glory in us. He’s not going to leave us weak and impotent, without testimony, without Life within, without victory over sin, without True Fellowship! How can we even think for a second and accuse God that He’s going to leave us like infants—mentally and spiritually retarded infants? Impotent, weak testimony-less infants? He gave His only Son for us! How much more all things!?
How much more can we expect? We can expect the Glory of Jesus to live in the inner man, rivers of alive water gushing from the inner man—for all who believe! We can expect that because He gave His only Son. We have every right and confidence to expect awesome things to flow forth out of our individual lives. Unbelievable wisdom and testimony of righteousness and faith. Unbelievable giftedness to change the world around us, and to bring peace in our homes and in our hearts. Unbelievable things. How much more all things! If His only Son, how much more all things? The rest of this stuff is easy compared to that.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying…” (Romans 8:32-9:1) Paul is convinced that we are more than conquerors. If you’re as convinced as he is, you’ll begin to manifest some of the fruit that he did in your own inner man, in your own home and in the world around you.
Do you want to be like Paul in your testimony and beyond? Well, as wonderful and fruitful in God’s sight as Paul was, he’s not the limit of what God can do in any of us. Paul would shriek at the thought! He would say, “Man, your goal is way too low.” It’s Jesus we need to be looking at, fixing our eyes on Him, the Author and the Perfecter of our faith—of our FAITH!
Holy Father, by Your Spirit and by the Blood of the Eternal Covenant that You’ve made with Christ Jesus Your Son, the blameless Lamb of God, we ask that You would not just teach these truths to Your people, but that You would impart them to Your people. We know we depend on You. We sow the seed, certainly. We go to bed, and we know not how, but You give increase and Life to Your words. We ask that You would bring light into our hearts, but we know it’s the Life of the Son of God that gives light to mankind. Father, please turn on the light of Your Glory that You made to shine in the face of Jesus Christ. Let it shine into our hearts as we behold Him.
Jesus, we want to fix our eyes on You. We know You are the Author and the Perfecter of our faith. By Your Holy Spirit You are groaning right now with groans too deep to be uttered. You are interceding before the Father of Lights on our behalf. You are crying out for each of us by name, that we would be manifested in full glory—not just in sonship, but also as co-heirs. That You would not only bring to us a salvation, but a full salvation—a whole new life in Christ Jesus. That You would bring this forth out of the earth, out of the decay of the earth, out of barren wombs, out of bodies that we acknowledge to You are as good as dead.
Our God, in the hundreds of thousands of people all over the earth right now who call on Your name with a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith…in those who truly call out to you, Father, spring forth out of Your Spirit, beyond firstfruits into harvest. Father, it’s time now. It’s time that Your people rise up and manifest not just Your salvation but also Your Glory. You want to bring many sons into glory, into the family likeness of Your Son, Jesus.
And, Father, all we can really speak of is what You’ve given us right here, right now. But we cry out for what You’ve given Your Son—the inheritance You’ve given Your Son all over the earth right now—that You would find faith when You return. We ask that Your Word would reign, and that as people fix their eyes on You and behold Your Son, You would make Your full Glory shine out of their hearts just as you made it shine out of the heart of Your Son, Jesus.
Father, let the pagans and the nations rage and mock, and let the demons in hell scream out in objection, but let Your sons be manifested. We groan, Your Spirit groans, creation groans. Father, let it rise up within the hearts of man, by Your grace and Your goodness, not our deeds. We believe You. Just as You made the light shine out of darkness, You can make Your glory shine forth out of our faces, just like with Stephen, whose face shone like that of an angel, like the noonday sun. You let him see Your Son standing at Your right hand. Father, open our eyes too, to see Your Son standing. Open our eyes, like Elisha’s servant, to see that those who are for us are more than those who are against us. God, please open our eyes.
All we can do is say the words, planting the seeds. But God, we beg You in the Name of Jesus Your Son, by Your tender mercies, by His Spirit and His blood…we beg You, by the covenant You made with Him, and by the fact that You love the Son…we ask on His behalf that You would manifest Your life in everyone who is in the hearing of these seeds. We ask that You would bring life out of seed, and glory out of death. We believe You without wavering, fully persuaded that You’re able to keep Your promises.
God, please do miracles in the hearts of those who truly desire to believe You for the manifestation of Your life. God, we know that only You can do this, but we do believe that the God who created the heavens and the earth can change us and magnify His Son in us. So, Father, please do this right now for everyone who calls on Your name with a good heart, a pure conscience, and a sincere faith toward You. You promised that those who cry out to You and who turn their faces toward You would not be put to shame. Father, in the name of Jesus, humiliate satan as You manifest Your children as co-heirs. Thank You for a hope that’s beyond hope and a hope that is reality for those who believe. Thank You so much for that. Amen.
7 Do you recall when Job’s riches were restored to him and multiplied many times over what he’d ever lost? Do you recall when that was? When he prayed for his friends, God restored his life to him. Make the application, okay? Back