THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
#03-09169
Sons of God #3
September 29, 2009
As I have listened to preaching over the years, especially among certain groups of Christians, I have
seldom heard much on suffering and, in particular, suffering as a necessity to be placed as a son to reign
with Christ in His coming millennial kingdom. It is as if suffering is something of the past that has been
replaced either with “we are saved and going to heaven when we die, and the rest are going to hell when
they die,” or “we are in the victory now; we must seize everything the world has to offer now.” The first
group has not progressed beyond a vision of Passover, and the second group has not progressed beyond
a vision of Pentecost. Most who hold such views seem to have little to no understanding of the matter of
sonship and being placed as a son in the coming kingdom through the experience of Tabernacles. In
other words, they have no vision of Tabernacles and the first resurrection, which is about the
redemption of our mortal bodies, receiving immortal, glorified bodies in the image of Christ.
I probably sound like a broken record on the matter, but a large part of the problem comes from the
traditions of men that uphold a heaven and hell (eternal torture) gospel. If you do not know what I am
talking about, all I can do is encourage you to do a search of my writings and read what I have said
about this topic.
We need vision of Tabernacles if we are to understand the whole matter of being placed as sons. This is
beyond the scope of this series; I will attempt to explain it in other issues.
To close out this short series, I want to bring in one more set of verses to prove the point about
suffering. Again, let us consider the Thessalonians who were eagerly awaiting the Son to come from
heaven.
(3) We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because
your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows
ever greater; (4) therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of
God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions
which you endure. (5) This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you
will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. (2
Thessalonians 1:3-5 NASB)
The Thessalonians were being persecuted and afflicted for their faith in Christ and their obedience to
His word (law), and, I believe, their expectation of His second coming. They were enduring through
these sufferings of Christ. According to Paul’s gospel, this was a sure sign that they were on the right
road to the kingdom and that they would be vindicated one day by being considered worthy of the
kingdom of God, that is, worthy to be placed as sons. These are the sons, the saints in whom Christ will
be glorified, for they did not merely believe His gospel, they obeyed it and even suffered on account of it
(2 Thessalonians 1:6-10). Not everyone who believes in Jesus obeys the gospel.
Now, let us return to Paul’s Romans epistle and add to what has been presented so far. As a reminder,
the Greek word teknon means “children,” the word huios means “son,” and the word huiothesia means
“adopting or placing a son.”
(19) For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing [apocalupsis ;
manifestation or unveiling] of the sons [huios] of God. (20) For the creation was subjected to
futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope (21) that the creation
itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of
the children [teknon] of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers
the pains of childbirth together until now. (23) And not only this, but also we ourselves,
having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting
eagerly for our adoption as sons [huiothesia] , the redemption of our body. (24) For in hope
we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already
sees? (25) But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
(Romans 8:19-25 NASB)
First, we need to note that creation itself groans and suffers as if a child is being born. The whole
creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth.
Second, creation was subjected to futility, not on its own accord but because of God Himself. The word
futile is defined as “applied to that which fails completely of the desired end or is incapable of producing
any result.” In other words, creation cannot achieve God’s purpose for bringing it into being in the first
place. All is vanity. It is as if it is striving to be what God intended it to be, but it cannot get there, so it
groans and travails as if it has a child within that must come forth.
Third, God has intimately joined His creation to mankind, specifically the sons of God. In other words,
creation was not called forth to be something separate or apart from the sons of God. If we go back to
the first restoration of the earth, Elohim created man (i.e., Adam) and gave him dominion over all that
God had created on earth. Adam was the first king of the earth and would have continued as such
forever if he had not transgressed God’s one command. However, when he sinned, all of creation began
to groan along with all of mankind, for the curse of death had come upon man and creation. Death
means corruption, and creation itself was brought into slavery to corruption. Death permeated creation,
and creation became its slave, along with mankind.
Fourth, creation will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the
children of God. Some translations use the expression glorious liberty of the children . In this verse,
Paul used the word teknon , which rightfully refers to children. The children of God, that is, those that
are in Christ, are free indeed. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John
8:36 NASB).
Fifth, however, death or mortality continues to be the enemy of man, including the children of God, for
all physically die. We all are destined to die as long as we occupy bodies of death, that is, bodies that are
subject to corruption. We need a change of bodies; we need immortal bodies. Just as creation groans, so
do all of us who are eagerly awaiting our adoption as sons.
Sixth, our placing as sons only comes about with the redemption of our bodies, which only comes about
through resurrection. It does not come about when we die and supposedly go to heaven, as some
erroneously teach. Sonship is directly related to resurrection and immortality. In fact, it is only possible
through resurrection. We need to be clothed with immortality and the glory Jesus manifested on the
high mount (Matthew 17:2). We need to have the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).
Seventh, creation itself has an anxious longing to be set free, and this longing pertains to the sons of
God: For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing [apocalupsis ;
manifestation or unveiling] of the sons [huios] of God. In other words, creation is set free only when
the sons of God are revealed or manifested, and this begins with the first resurrection. Consequently, we
need to strive to be counted worthy of the kingdom of God so that we will be included in the out-
resurrection and enter the coming kingdom age to reign with Christ as sons, heirs with Christ.
Dear brethren, we need to be manifested as sons; it has not happened yet. Creation longs for and groans
for the manifestation of the sons. Do you long for it? Are you groaning along with creation? Is this your
expectation (hope)? Let us with perseverance wait eagerly for it!
The Upward Call: #03-09169
by: Stuart H. Pouliot