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Romans chapter 8, we’re looking at verses 23 through 27 tonight.  Romans 8:23-27, let me read these verses to you, "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, the redemption of our body, for in hope we have been saved.  But hope that is seen is not hope.  For why does one also hope for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.  And in the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words and He who searches the hearts, knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He intercedes for the saints, according to the will of God."

This is quite marvelous, this text.  It can be approached I think initially in its richness and its diversity by grasping one interesting Greek term and that term is the word "groan" or "sigh."  Stenaz is the verb form; stenagmos is the noun.  In the lexicon, the Greek lexicon basically defines it is as groaning because of an undesirable circumstance.  It's groaning in the sense that you want to be delivered from your present dilemma.  It's groaning because of unfulfillment.  It's groaning because of suffering and pain that needs to be relieved.  It's groaning because of an undesirable circumstance.  It's used for example in Acts 7:34 where we read, "I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt," and that of course was the Lord speaking, "and have heard their groans."  The people of God who were in Egypt were under oppression by the Egyptians, as you know.  They were forced to be their slaves and to make bricks and life was very, very difficult.  And the Lord said I have heard their groans and I have come down to deliver them.

And of course he is speaking to Moses, "Come now and I will send you to Egypt."  Moses responded, as you know.  So that verb refers to the groaning of Israel under the Egyptian bondage.  The word is also used in the 7th chapter of Mark, and it says in Mark 7, speaking of our Lord, “looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, ‘Ephathah,’ that is be opened, and his ears were opened."  Here our Lord was sighing.  Here our Lord was groaning, same word, because of the painful effects of sin, a circumstance very undesirable to Him.  In Hebrews chapter 13, at the very end of the epistle of Hebrews chapter 13 and verse 17, "Obey your leaders and submit to them for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief,” not with groaning.  Don't make your leaders groan.  Don't make life miserable for your leaders, your elders, your shepherds.

Again, I remind you.  It's the sighing of a longing soul, desiring to be relieved from present painful circumstances.  And that is precisely how the word is used in the text before us.  In Romans 8, we see groaning.  We saw it first in verse 22, the whole creation would like a change in its condition, verse 22. Verse 23, "we ourselves groan within ourselves."  We, too, would like deliverance from the present circumstances.  Verse 26 reminds us that Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  In all of these cases, there is a discontent with present circumstance.  The creation wants a change.  Believers want a change.  And even the Holy Spirit longs for a change.  The Holy Spirit wants the fulfillment of God's intended and ultimate, final purpose for us.  We sum these up as the groans for glory.  The creation groans for glory.  Believers groan for glory.  And the Holy Spirit groans for glory.

Now remember that this great chapter is written to confirm the no-condemnation status of believers. By putting our faith in Jesus Christ, we have come into a no condemnation status.  That is to say we are eternally secure.  We will be saved forever.  The Holy Spirit is the divine agent who secures our salvation. We are kept by his constant power on our behalf.  It is then the Holy Spirit who guarantees our eternal glory and that is the theme of verses 17 through verse 30.  The Spirit guarantees our glory.  In verses 14-16, we saw that he confirms our adoption as sons.  In verses 12 and 13, he empowers us for victory over sin.  In verses 5-11, he changes our nature.  In verse 4, he enabled us to fulfill the law.  And verses 2 and 3, he freed us from sin and death. So we are learning about how the Holy Spirit maintains our no condemnation status and brings us to glory.  We've called this chapter “Life in the Spirit.”  The Holy Spirit then guarantees our future glory for which we groan, the creation groans and even the Holy Spirit groans as well.

We are on the road to glory as believers.  Verse 29, I remind you he predestined us to become conformed to the image of his son.  Verse 30, whom he predestined, he called.  Whom he called, he justified.  Whom he justified, he glorified.  We are on the way to glory.  We have been called.  We have been justified and we will be glorified.  Nothing can change that.  Verse 31 indicates if God is for us, who is against us.  Verse 33, who will bring a charge against us?  Verse 35, who will separate us from the love of Christ?  None, of course.  So we are on the road to glory.  Nothing can change it. It's bound up in God's eternal decree from before the foundation of the world when he predestined us to become like Christ.

It is the Holy Spirit who guarantees that future glory.  And as our glory unfolds in verses 17-30, we see first of all the incomparable gains of glory.  And we saw them in verses 17 and 18.  We become children of God, heirs also, heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ. All that belongs to God and is granted to Christ becomes ours as well.  Those are the incomparable gains of glory. And then we come in verses 19-27 to those inexpressible groans of glory and that's where we are right now, those inexpressible groans of glory. The first one, which we already noted, is the groaning of creation.  And we saw that in verses 19-22 and we won't go back over that again.  But it just tells us in verses 19-22 what verse 22 sums up, that the whole creation groans.

It's not talking about angels.  It's not talking about demons.  It's not talking about believers.  It's not talking about unbelievers.  It is talking not about rational creation but non-rational creation.  That is animate and inanimate creation.  It's simply saying creation personified as if sighing for its glorious future, that is, the removal of the curse of sin. The whole creation suffers.  The whole universe has been impacted by the Fall.  And in the future, the whole creation will have the curse removed.  And that will be, as I pointed out last time, simultaneous with another event.  Verse 19: "The creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God."  When the sons of God are revealed — that is to say, when the full unveiling, when the full manifestation of God's gracious plan to glorify believers unfolds — then the creation will see the removal of its curse.

So the whole creation is personified as if waiting for this revealing of the sons of God.  This will be, of course, at the returning of Jesus Christ when we are revealed with Him in glory, when the whole world will see us in our glorified form.  Remember in Revelation 20, Jesus returns and with Him all the saints coming out of heaven riding on white horses, wearing white robes is the magnificent imagery we are revealed in blazing and full glory at the battle of Armageddon, in which He destroys all the wicked of the world, preserves the godly who are still alive and takes them into His kingdom, which He establishes on earth for a 1,000 years.

That great unveiling is consummate with the restoring of this earth to its original or nearly original condition.  In verses 20 and following the factors of that creation alteration, that renewal of the earth, that recreation, are indicated.  First of all we read in verse 20 that the creation presently is subject to futility.  That means it's cursed.  Not of its own will, not because of some sin it committed, but by reason of Him who subjected the same, that is God.  So the whole universe is cursed, not because of any sin it committed because animate and inanimate objects, non-rational cannot sin but because God has subjected the whole created order to the effects of sin.  And that shows you how far reaching the implications of sin are, the sin of Adam and Eve cursed the entire universe; all that of course referring back to the Fall in Genesis chapter 3.

Isaiah 24:6 says, "Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth."  And Jeremiah 12:4 says, "How long shall the land mourn and the herbs of every field wither for the wickedness for those who dwell in it.  The beasts are consumed and the birds."  All the animals die.  All the plants die.  All the grass dies.  The whole of...of law of entropy, the breaking down of matter and the disorder and disarray, all the death in the universe is a direct effect of sin.  Nature's destiny is inseparably linked with man’s.  And the whole creation, verse 21 says, is in slavery to corruption and waiting to be set free into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  So that when Christ brings his own back... First he takes us to glory, as you know in the rapture of the church. Then he brings us back to establish his kingdom.  When he does that, he rejuvenates the earth.  He restores paradise.  That glorious manifestation of the children of God and that restoration of creation is what the creation now groans for.

Verse 22, the whole creation groans and suffers, like the pain of childbirth.  Why does he use that metaphor?  Because childbirth pains are very strong.  They are very powerful but at the same time they are very anticipatory.  There are many pains in life that anticipate nothing but death.  Is that not true? There are some pains that bring forth nothing but death.  Birth pain is a pain that brings forth life.  And that's why he chooses to use that, because the pain of the creation is the pain in anticipation of the glorious life that will come at the glorious manifestation of the children of God when the Lord comes back to establish His kingdom.

If you were to read and I won't take the time to do it, the first chapter of Joel, you would read about the curse of creation. The field is ruined.  The land mourns.  The grain is ruined.  The new wine dries up. Fresh oil fails.  And so forth and so forth.  Gird yourself with sackcloth, lament oh priest, wail oh ministers.  It just shows how the curse has devastated the earth.  But verse 22 ...yes, verse 22 ends with a note of hope because it says we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.  And that hints to us that it may not always be that way and then you go back to the end of verse 20: God subjected it in hope.

There is a future.  This is not a permanent curse.  There will be an ultimate deliverance at the glorious liberation of the children of God.  There will be a cosmic regeneration.  And I told you last time that the prophets talk about this.  They write about it in a number of places.  I didn't read all of them to you but they're so wonderful. There is a text in Isaiah 34, for example.  "Let the earth and all it contains hear and the world and all that springs from it, for the Lord's indignation is against all the nations, his wrath against all their armies.  He has utterly destroyed them.  He has given them over to slaughter so their slain will be thrown out.  Their corpses will give off their stench.  The mountains will be drenched with their blood."  This is the final great Armageddon holocaust.  "All the hosts of heaven will wear away.  The sky will be rolled up like a scroll.”  That's described also in the book of Revelation in the time of tribulation.  “All their hosts, the stars, will wither away.  They will become pitch black, as the leaf withers from the vine or as one withers from the fig tree.  For my sword is satiated in heaven.  Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom and upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction.  The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, satiated with fat, with the blood of  lambs and goats, the fat of kidneys and rams.” And this is speaking of the coming destruction of the earth, as we know it along with the ungodly.

Verse 8: “The Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense.  Its streams shall be turned into pitch, its loose earth into brimstone.  Its land shall become burning pitch.  It shall not be quenched night or day.  Its smoke shall go up forever from generation to generation.  It shall be desolate.  None shall pass through it forever and ever” and that's the way it goes.  There's coming a tremendous description of God cleansing the created order.  It has several facets and Isaiah doesn't unfold the chronological facets.  First, the destruction of the present state as we know it.  This occurs during the tribulation.  You can read it sequentially starting at Revelations 6 all the way to 19.  It just details it step by step by step.  As the present created order as we know disintegrates.  And then the inauguration of phase one, which is the restored earth, the millennial condition.

The restored earth exists for 1,000 years, after which the whole thing is totally uncreated and God creates a new heaven and a new earth.  At that point all that has been recreated is utterly uncreated.  The elements melt with fervent heat, probably talking about the reversal of the atomic creation that God put into motion in six days and it's all uncreated and then God creates a new heaven and a new earth.  So that's what the prophets were looking at.  It has two phases.  The millennial earth is a restored earth not a whole new creation and then comes after that the eternal state, which is a completely new creation.

When you read the Old Testament passages on the new earth and the new order, some of them refer to that restored earth and its millennial conditions.  Some of them refer to the new heaven and the new earth in its eternal perfection.  And you just need to look at the context to determine which because the prophets didn't sort that out specifically.  And Paul here in Romans 8 isn't delving into the distinctions of eschatology.  He's not doing what the book of Revelation does.  He is simply saying the groaning is for different conditions.  And phase one of those different conditions of course is a recreated universe.  Phase two is a new heaven and new earth. This is all here I think to remind us of the immense power of evil to contaminate the entire universe.

All right that's reviewing what we said and adding a little to it.  Let's go to the second groaning. The groaning of creation was number one.  The groaning of believers is number two.  And we'll just look at this, verses 23 to 25, the groaning of believers.  Verse 23, "And not only this,: that is to say not only does creation groan “but we also we ourselves."  And here we are talking about believers; believers also lament their cursed condition.  The earth is sighing.  The earth is groaning because it is in an undesirable condition and believers are also groaning because they too are in an undesirable condition.  The earth and its environment in the universe, all the created order groans because of the impact of the Fall and believers groan because of the impact of the fall.

For us it's a real groaning and not a personification.  It's a real groaning because we feel personally the impact of sin.  David is a good illustration of this.  David groaned that his inequities were too heavy for him.  He couldn't carry them.  They were too much for him to bear.  He said, Psalm 38:9, "All my desire is before Thee and my groaning is not hidden from Thee."  David groaned under the weight of his inequity. Any sensitive believer does.  We resent the sin that is in us.  We would like so much to shed it.  And that takes us back one chapter to Romans 7 and a very familiar verse to which we make reference often, verse 24, “wretched man that I am.”  Paul had a very, very great problem with self-esteem. He just was not able to get into it.  He looked at himself and all he saw was wretchedness.  “Who will set me free from the body of this death?”  The man groaned his whole Christian life because he saw in himself such wretchedness.  He saw his sin.  And he groaned about it.

Second Corinthians 5:4, Paul speaks on behalf of all of us when he says "for indeed while we are in this tent, we groan."  Why do we groan?  “Being burdened.”  What are we burdened with?  We are burdened with sin.  And it is a heavy, heavy burden and we are weary of it and tired of it and it is an undesirable condition because it debilitates us.  It steals our joy and our usefulness.  When Jesus saw, in John 11 verse 33, when he saw Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who had died, weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled.  What is this?  This is Jesus empathetically, sympathetically identifying with the pain of sin.  He sees all this weeping and realizes the burden that sin is.  It has taken the life of Lazarus.  Because the wages of sin is death, death is here because sin is here.  Sin is the culprit.  And He was deeply moved.  He was troubled.

Literally deeply moved, He was...He was not just weeping.  According to the Greek he was wailing.  He was crying loudly with sympathy for those who had to endure the curse.  He showed such a holy indignation that you could even use the word here, He shuddered or He trembled.

Now go back to Romans 8.  That's the kind of attitude believers have about sin that is in them.  We groan ourselves.  We feel this pain.  Having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves.  Yes we have the first fruits of the Spirit, we have the guarantee of the Spirit, we have the presence of the Spirit and I think that's what makes us groan.  That's a very interesting phrase that he puts in there.  We have the first fruits of the Spirit.  What is that?  That's the down payment on our eternal salvation, right?  We have the resident Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our life. He is...He is one with us.  He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.  It is because of that that we groan.  If He wasn't there, we wouldn't groan because we would be in sin and in sin alone.

But once we have been converted and transformed and the Holy Spirit takes up residence and we possess the first fruits or the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of future glory.  That creates the conflict.  It is the power and presence of the Spirit of God in our transformed lives that gives us holy longings and holy desires which are so debilitated by the presence of sin and that's why we groan.  Unbelievers don't groan.  They just have a great time.  Oh, they may groan under the consequence of their sin but they don't groan because they sin.  They live to fulfill their lusts.  But we, having the first fruits of the spirit, find ourselves groaning within ourselves, because there is a conflict now.  We possess the Holy Spirit.  We're the temple of God.  We're the temple of the Holy Spirit.  He has taken up residence in us.  We are new creations.  And we're groaning.  What are we groaning for?  Waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons.

You say, wait a minute.  Back in verses 14-16, it said we're already adopted.  Well that's true.  But our adoption is not yet complete.  We are not yet, follow this, fully manifest sons of God.  We have not yet been openly revealed as the sons of God.  And we won't be until the glorious manifestation or the glorious liberation of the children of God.  And that hasn't happened.  Yes we have been adopted, technically, legally.  We have been made in every sense children of God but it is not yet clear what we shall fully be.  We have not yet been conformed to the image of Jesus Christ because we haven't seen Him yet.  And 1 John 3:1 and 2, says we'll be like Him when we see Him.

We are already called children of God.  Now we are the sons of God.  We have the right to be declared sons of God.  But the full disclosure of that son-ship is not yet a reality.  We have possession of the past elements of salvation, the present elements of salvation, but not yet the future elements.  Romans 13:11 says, "Now is your salvation nearer then when you believed."  There are elements of our salvation, and that being our fulfillment, our full manifestation, our full glory, our Christ likeness, our holy perfection that is yet, future.  We wait for the final adoption when we are fully revealed before the whole world as the sons of God.

And what does that involve?  The end of verse 23 and here's the key to this whole passage. It involves the redemption of our body.  This is a very important statement here and unlocks all kinds of things doctrinally for us.  We are waiting, not for the redemption of our souls.  That’s already been done.  We are waiting for the redemption of our body.  That hasn't been done.  The redemption of our soul is what precipitated the conflict.  Because now we are in Christ, now we have the first fruits of the Spirit.  First fruits meaning the down payment, the deposit, the guarantee, the Spirit has taken up residence and pledged to us our future glory.  We have been changed.  We have been transformed.  We become new creations but we are still locked in this unredeemed flesh.

This is a very important statement at the end of verse 23, the redemption of our body.  And it connects back to chapter 6 and 7.  Let me review them briefly because this is one of those real keys that unlocks Paul's theology.  It connects with the consistent terminology of Romans 6.  Since our salvation, we are new creatures in the soul, the inner man is all new. Second Corinthians 5:17, "we are new creations."  We have become partakers of the divine nature.  We have become creatures for eternal glory.  The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us and thus we are fit for heaven.

But we are still in bondage in this body and the true self cannot fully express itself.  We have not yet been revealed and we are battling this...this prison we are in called human flesh. Body here means our mortality, our corruptible mortality, our disease prone, sin prone, death prone humanness.  And Paul is very consistent with his terms.  We are not waiting for the salvation of our souls.  We have already received that.  We are not waiting for the salvation of the inner man.  We have already received that.  All we are waiting for is a new body so that we can fully manifest our son-ship.  Do you understand that?  We can't do it now.  And I think that's, as we all now, that's the biggest criticism the world has.  Oh you call yourself a Christian and do that?  We get in our own way, don't we?

“I am crucified with Christ,” Galatians 2:20, “nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ lives in me.”  Alright, I am a new creation.  I am crucified with Christ.  The old life died.  The new life has come.  It's Christ’s life in me.  The life which I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who gave himself for me.  I am now living this new life in my soul.  I am not waiting for the salvation of my soul.  My soul belongs to Him.  He has regenerated me.  He has planted his Spirit within me.  I am his but I am waiting for the salvation of my body.  That has not yet been accomplished.  It is guaranteed to us by the promise of God.  Philippians 3 tells us that we're going to receive a new body.  We're going to have the transformation of the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.  He's going to do it by His power.  So we are waiting for the redemption of the body.  Romans 6 sort of unfolds this, verse 5: "We became united with Him in the likeness of His death and we will also be with Him in the likeness of His resurrection."  Spiritually we died in Christ and we rose in Christ, as far as our soul and spirit is concerned.  Verse 6: "Our old self was crucified with Him," that our...the entity of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  We literally died and we've been freed from the dominating control and power and penalty of sin.  We died in Him, Paul says.  We've risen to walk in newness of life.  The old man has been crucified.

We are not an old man and a new man.  The old man is dead.  The new man lives.  You are not both an old man and a new man.  You are a new man.  You are a new creation.  The old man is gone.  We are not exhorted to put off the old man.  The old man has been put off.  The old man is just a term for what we were and we aren't what we were.  We are new creations.  The package, the spiritual package, the core of our being, which was linked to sin, he calls it the body of sin, has been destroyed.  The old man has been destroyed.  What we were is gone.  It died.  It was buried.  And now we have risen.  And we are new.

Verse 11, he says, "So consider yourself to be dead to sin and alive to God."  You should live like it.  You are a new person.  But look at verse 12.  "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body."  You still have the mortal body and there is going to be a battle and you need to win it.  The old man, the old entity of sin is gone.  You are not what you used to be.  But sin is still there.  The old man is simply a phrase referring to what you were.  The body of sin is referring to the same thing, that entity that you were in an unconverted state.  That's gone but sin has taken up residence.  It's taken up residence.  Listen carefully.  Not in the eternal part of you but in the temporal part of you, in your humanness, in your flesh, in your mortality.

Verse 13: "Don't go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of righteousness."  Sin takes up residence in your unredeemed humanness.  You've been changed on the inside but you haven't been changed on the outside.  On the inside, verse 17 says, you were slaves to sin but now you've become obedient from the hearts in the form of teaching to which you were committed.  You have become, verse 18, slaves to righteousness.  But you know trying to obey righteousness is a real battle, isn't it?  It's a real battle.

You come over to chapter 7, Paul in verse 14 says, I'm still of flesh.  I'm still sold into bondage to sin.  I still have sin.  I still have a force, a strong force to deal with.  But, and this is very important, verse 16, he says, the very thing I do not wish to do, if I do the very thing I do not wish to do I agree with the law confessing that it is good.  In other words, I desire to do what's right, I just can't do it.  Verse 17, here's the key.  "So now no longer am I the one doing it but sin which indwells me."  Isn't that interesting.  Paul disconnects the entity that he is from the sin that is still there.  It's not the real me.  It's not me.  It's not my redeemed soul. Technically, it's not me.  It's not the new creation.  But it's there fighting against the real me, the new I.  I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ.  The Christ in me, the link, the one Spirit, the Holy Spirit, that whole divine life that has transformed me and made me a new creation isn't the problem.  It's that sin that still is a prison house in which that new life has to live and where is it?  Very simple.  Verse 18: "Nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh."  It's in my flesh, my humanness.  He means by that his body with all its appetites and impulses and thoughts and ideas.  It's in my flesh.  And he says this over and over again.  Verse 21: "I find a principal of evil that is present in me."  Verse 23: "There's something in the members of my body waging war against the law of my mind, which is spiritual and longs for righteousness and honoring God" and that's why he comes to verse 24 and says I'm just wretched.

But verse 25, "thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord," someday I'm going to get delivered from this. But until I do, on the one hand, with my mind, I serve the law of God and the other, with my flesh, the law of sin and that's the battle.  And that's why we groan. Now you understand.  Now I just was giving you very careful terminology so you can grasp this.  Therein lies the battle.  You are a new creation with holy longings coming out of that transformed new creation but you have to battle your way through that incarceration of your unredeemed flesh, and so, back to Romans 8.  It's no wonder he says in verse 23, "We ourselves groan within ourselves waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons," namely the redemption of our body.  I want a new body.  I want to get rid of this fallen flesh, with its tendencies toward disease, death and sin.  I want to get a new body.

And again, that's why in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul says this.  "We know that if the earthly tent, which is our house, is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, for indeed in this house we groan."  And then he says in verse 4, "while we are in this tent, we groan."  We want to shed this thing.  We want, verse 4, we want what is mortal to be swallowed up by life.  We want the real life, the complete life, the full life of God.  We're tired of this battle.  We want a body like unto His glorious body.  That's what we want.  We want a body described in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. What kind of body?  Well, the best we can say about it is that it's a heavenly body.  Verse 48: "We will bear the image of the heavenly."  It's not flesh and blood as we know it.  Verse 50: "I say this brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."  So it has to be an imperishable, immortal, non-flesh and blood, heavenly body.

Back in verse 44, we have a natural body; we’ll be raised to a spiritual body.  We have a body that is perishable.  Verse 42, we'll have an imperishable.  We have a body of dishonor. We'll have a body raised in glory.  We have a weak body. We'll have a body raised in power.  I don't know any more to say than that.  And it will be like the resurrection body of Jesus Christ.  And it's for that that we long.  It's for that that we hope.  We long for the day, verse 53...actually 52 at the end.  The dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed.  And the only change left to happen to you is that redemption of your body.  And this perishable must put on the imperishable and this mortal must put on the immortal. And I love this.  Death is swallowed up in victory.  That's the day of redemption, the end of these vile bodies of flesh.  So, none of us is wholly redeemed yet.  Our bodies remain unredeemed.  By the way, even the believers who died up until now and up until the rapture of the church, their spirits are in the presence of the Lord but their bodies have not been raised.  They are not raised until the rapture and then they will receive their glorified body.  Now they don't have the incarceration of their unredeemed flesh.  They're free from that but they have not yet received the body, which God is preparing for them to give them at the resurrection of believers for the fullest expression of their son-ship throughout all eternity.

So the world doesn't know who we are and truthfully, we don't know the fullness of what we're going to be like.  It's veiled to the world and it's veiled even to us.  They didn't see Christ for who He was because He was veiled in His perfect humanness.  It's little wonder they don't understand that we're the children of God because we are veiled in a sinful humanness.  I mean, if you were to go up to a person, completely unbelieving person and say I'd like to introduce myself to you.  I am John Macarthur and I want you to know that I am a son of God.  I am a citizen of heaven.  I have my family there, my Father there, my treasure there, my home there.  In fact, I live in the very house where God lives. I...I...I have been assigned the responsibility of ruling the world with Christ someday and not only that, will I rule men but I will rule angels, too.  You know there's going to be someone calling the sanitarium to take you away because they will conclude this guy is a few bricks short of a load for sure.  And the guy is going to look at you and it's ridiculous because there’s no way we can be manifested.  They looked at Jesus Christ and they concluded that He was a charlatan and a fake and they put Him on a cross and He was perfect humanity.  We're imperfect humanity. They can't tell who we are.  It does make for an interesting conversation.  Try it sometime and see how far you get and then when you get them to the place of utter incredulity where they think you are surely out of your mind, you can say, and of course, you can't comprehend any of this can you, which just shows the condition that you're in because you can't see spiritual reality.

It's true.  We will rule over eternity.  We will rule over eternity.  We will rule over the restored earth.  You could even say to them someday I will inherit the entire universe.  It will belong to me.  It's true.  You sort of have to back off.  I guess you can't really tell them the whole truth.  But that's the facts.  There will come a day however when the whole world will see.  One of the features of the millennial kingdom is of course you have these believers taken to glory, both New Testament believers and Old Testament believers, all taken to glory, given glorified bodies.  They come back to earth to reign with Christ and they're all resurrected individuals with a glorified body like the resurrection body of Jesus Christ.  It will be clear to everybody who are these manifest children of God.  Then you have, at the time of the earthly millennial kingdom, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven.

That indicates at the end it comes down out of heaven and takes its place in the eternal state.  That indicates that it is in existence of course already and that it is hovering there somehow suspended over the new, the rejuvenated earth and perhaps the flow of redeemed and glorified saints and angels goes up and back so that there will be ample manifestation of who we are in that millennial kingdom.  We already have the guarantee for this in the granting of the Holy Spirit as we noted who is the first fruits, which is just another word for guarantee, the pledge that God is going to in fact bring our ultimate salvation to pass.

Well, verse 24 sums up this groaning, "for in hope, we have been saved."  Yes, folks, hope is a major ingredient inseparable from salvation.  We have been saved in hope, the hope of glory.  We haven’t...  We aren't all we are going to be and we haven't received all we're going to get.  Hope, he says, that is seen is not hope.  For why does one also hope for what he sees?  If you see it, you don't hope for it.  If it's there, it's not something you hope for.  Salvation is in hope.  We have not yet entered into the fullness of our salvation.  This is not the end.  This is only a small, small part.  There's so much ahead for us.  Verse 19 of Hebrews 6, what a wonderful verse: "This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast."  That's the thing that just anchors us is the pledge and the promise of our eternal hope in Jesus Christ. Our helmet, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, the helmet of salvation, which protects us from the blows of Satan is called in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 the helmet of the hope of salvation.  Satan hammers and hits and hacks away trying to cause us to doubt the promises of God and we hold fast to the hope of salvation.  Colossians 1:5, we have a hope laid up for us in heaven, of which we previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you.  The gospel comes and it says this is not only for here and now. This is for then and there.  This is a message of hope for eternity.

Hope for eternity, a real hope, that will come to pass and that's why Titus 2:13 says, "We are looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."  We live in hope.  We haven't yet entered into the fullness of our salvation.  This is one of the great truths.  We were saved in hope.  Can you lose your salvation?  Of course not.  One of the components of salvation is the hope of what God has for us in the future.  We haven't seen it. If we saw it, it wouldn't be hope.  But verse 25, "If we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance, we wait eagerly for it."  When you really hope for something you don't have, you persevere.  You wait eagerly.  So beloved, there’s an unseen element of salvation and it really is the great element of salvation, glorification.  It's not wishful thinking.  It's not guessing.  It's a confident assurance.  It's an absolute hope based upon the word of the living God.  We are confident of this very thing.  "If he, which began a good work in you, shall perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" Philippians 1:6.  We are confident that what the Lord began, the Lord will complete.  We live in hope.

We never despair.  We are not fatalists.  We are not pessimists.  We live in hope and we groan until the redemption of our bodies.  H.G. Wells lived a terrible, terrible life.  Notable writer, mocker of God, he said this.  "Man, who began in a cave behind a windbreak, will end in the disease-soaked ruins of a slum."  Whoa, what a view of life huh?  From a cave to a slum, human history - that's not it, folks.  For us the history is from a child of Satan to a child of God.  From a son of hell to a son of heaven, that's our pilgrimage and we groan for that future glory.

Well next time, we'll talk about the groaning of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, this has been a wonderful evening.  We thank you for enriching us in so many ways tonight.  Thank you for these dear folks who serve you as chaplains, for these special, wonderful testimonies from these young people tonight, for all of the joys of the ministry of music we shared together, we thank you and we renew again our devotion to live in hope and to fight the battle against our fallenness that that new man, that new creation may triumphantly win, that you might be exalted and honored.  We thank you, Lord, as we sigh and groan in the flesh that this will pass and the day will come when we will be the fully manifest children of God.  For that hope, we praise you and we thank you and we persevere.  In your Son's name, Amen.

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