by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4 November 06, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(356)Thesis:The expectation of creation is that a true kingdom of righteous love will come to pass.
Introduction:Last week we saw that we are destined for a participation in some form of the extension of Messiah's post-resurrection experience. Since all "experience" by "created beings" is, by definition, a great deal less than what is available (imagine a fresh water ocean the size of the Pacific being available for the thirst of an individual human being), we can only understand that Paul's declaration of our future as joint-heirs with Christ is "relative". But, Paul's declaration is not so much a matter of relativity of experience as it is a matter of relativity of value. His point in Romans 8:17-18 is that our inheritance is rooted in the "sameness" of our experience in comparison to Christ's. To the degree that we "suffer" as He did, we shall participate in what happened to Him afterwards as determined by the Father. Therefore, having made this declaration, we have to understand the reason for it: Paul's desire to get his fellow believers to embrace a walk in the Light that is unintimidated by what can, and often does, happen to those who do that in this present world (illustration from Everyman'sBattle of the man who lied to his wife about how he wrecked his car). If we buy into Paul's declaration that we can, and will, inherit together with Christ according to the measure of our loyalty to His agenda, we shall so inherit.
But, the question is this: do I dare buy into Paul's declaration? How do we know that it is true? It is this question to which we turn this evening. The answer has to do with what Paul declares is a "universal" expectation.
I. The Content of the Expectation.
A. Paul's words are "the revelation of the sons of the God".
B. Paul's meaning...
1. The issue is what he calls "the revelation".
a. The word points to what happens when a matter/thing that has been "hidden" is brought out into the open so that anyone/everyone can see it clearly.
b. At stake in this "revelation" is, of course, the question of whether the on-lookers have the necessary background to understand what they "clearly see".
c. It is precisely this issue -- the necessary background -- that is so heavily involved.
1) What good does it do to show a baby a piston out of a Freightliner?
2) What good did it do for Jesus to take on human flesh?
3) What good does it do to tell an individual about the love of Jesus?
4) What good does it do to tell a believer about the coming glory?
d. But it is Paul's fundamental conviction that, at the time of the "revelation", the observers will have had that background put into place to a "relative" degree.
1) Understanding is at the heart of the experience of "Life".
2) Since the comprehension of a creature is limited, so also will the understanding be.
3) But, to the degree that there is understanding, there will be "Life".
4) It is, and has been, Paul's contention that "suffering" is what brings about "understanding" in respect to the Servant Kingdom.
2. The "object" of the "revelation" is "the sons of God".
a. The "sons" are those so identified in our previous study of the "Spirit of Adoption".
1) The issue of "adoption" is the issue of being declared by the Father to be sufficiently developed in understanding to be able to handle the administrative requirements of the Father's possessions so that the inheritance is not squandered: this means He says a person is His "son".
2) Thus, the "revelation of the sons" is nothing more or less than a visible presentation of the competency of human beings to be handed the positions of administration in the Father's Kingdom.
a) This has to refer to the Judgment Seat of Christ where every action of every believer is revealed in terms of its motivation and its effectiveness.
b) What will be "on display" will be the harmony/disharmony of every believer's life in respect to the Love/Truth of the Father.
c) Out of this display will arise an "appointment" by the Christ to a position of administration in His Kingdom that is visibly and understandably suited to that life.
d) And out of the overall process of both being subjected to this judgment and being a witness to this judgment as to its application to all of those who are there will arise a certainty in the understanding of all present of what the Kingdom is going to be like given the now unveiled character of its rulers.
b. That they are sons of "God" means that what is now an absolute certainty by way of enormous demonstration is going to be understood to be as the character of God and His Kingdom.
II. The Point: A Day is Coming in Which There Will Be a Complete Vindication of Those Who Believed Paul's "Reckoning" and a Solemn Exposure of Those Who Did Not.