The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 02-25-01
Eagerly Anticipating Our Savior Coming Back From Heaven
In our study of PHI 3:20 we have come to the phrase "For our citizenship [our heavenly privileges] is in heaven,"which has brought us to the doctrine of the "Politeuma" Privilege. The word translated "is" is the Greek verb"huparchei" and means to exist, be at hand, begin, or come forth. "Our citizenship exists in heaven." This phrase presents the permanent aristocracy of the Royal Family of God. It was guaranteed the day you accepted Christ as Savior, as one of the seven salvation ministries of God the Holy Spirit, in which He entered you into union with Christ forever.
PHI 3:20 goes on to say, "from which also we eagerly wait..." "Eagerly wait" is accurately tranlsated from the verb"apekdechomai," which means to eagerly wait or anticipate with patience, or to wait expectantly or intensely. This verb is used in the customary present tense, and denotes what habitually occurs in the life of the mature believer who lives for the life to come. It is put in the middle voice, indicating that both the Lord Jesus Christ and the adult believer participate in the action of the verb. The mature believer waits, patiently but eagerly, for the Lord Jesus Christ, Who could return at any moment.
PHI 3:20 "For our citizenship [politeuma] exists in heaven, from which place we eagerly anticipate a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..."
We are eagerly anticipating "Sotera Kurion Iesoun Christon," the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Rapture of the Church, 1Th 4:16-17. The main verb "apekdechomai" shows the attitude of those who live in their politeuma.
ROM 8:14 "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."
What does it mean to be a "son of God"? In this verse, it does not simply mean a child of God; it describes a distinctive group of individuals, those "who are being led by the Spirit of God." The word "sons" is the Greek noun"huios," which has many meanings, but in context refers to adult sons. Only the adult believer is being led by the Spirit of God. In this passage, "huios" refers to one who is a follower of another, or a disciple or a pupil. In ROM 8:29, it portrays the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Son of God. In MAT 5:45, it refers to those who revere God as their Father, and whose character and life reveal this attitude. As a huios, you are not just an ordinary believer; you live your life like you are a member of the Royal Family of God. To advance to maturity, the believer must be led by the Spirit of God, which requires him to know the Word of God. Otherwise, God would actually be violating your free will, if He revealed the will of God apart from the Word of God as the final confirmation. If you choose to reject His guidance, He will not impose it on you.
There are generalities as well as specifics in the will of God that are necessary to understand. The general will of God for all His children is that we take in doctrine consistently. Every day is given by God and demands a time set aside for doctrine. The specifics include where we take in doctrine, what pastor we study under, and what church we attend. The objective of the plan of God is to ensure that we personally make these decisions on the basis of the correct infor-mation, without which we can make no good decisions, even if we do not always see bad results. Even a broken clock is right twice day! God has designed us to learn doctrine and follow the guidance of the Spirit and the doctrine in our own souls. The Holy Spirit does not lead the believer through "feelings," "voices," or "noises," but through the Word of God. It is through the filling of the Spirit that we can look into our soul and receive guidance. Many Christians today only reveal how weak and deceived they are when they claim to "follow their heart," or some sort of "gut feeling" or "emotion."
Three types of will govern the human race:
- The sovereign will of God.
- The will of man.
- Satan's will for all mankind.
ROM 8:14 "...being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."
In the spiritual realm, "huios" refers to rebirth and adoption. It connotes similarity or likeness, as between a father and son. This is a great and exciting aspect of our relationship to God. We can be like God in our mind and outlook! We are to view life from God's standpoint, as the mind of Christ becomes our mind, MAT 5:44-48.
MAT 5:45 "In order that you may be sons [huios] of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
MAT 5:48 "Therefore you are to be perfect [mature], as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Once we realize our sonship, we will begin to "eagerly anticipate" and wait expectantly and intently for "the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
Let us note the progression and order of sequence in Phi 3.
PHI 3:13b "One thing I concentrate upon: constantly forgetting the things that lie behind and pursuing vigorously to what lies ahead,"
PHI 3:14 "I keep on pressing on toward the objective for the purpose of the reward belonging to the upward call of God [the Father], by means of Christ Jesus."
PHI 3:15 "Therefore, as many as are spiritually mature, let us have this attitude;"
PHI 3:16 "however, the status to which we have attained [the spiritual growth from our discipline toward perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine] let us keep marching [advancing] in."
PHI 3:17 "Brethren, be co-imitators of me, and be having respect for the same ones, who constantly walk according to the pattern you have in us."
[In verses 18-19, Paul stops for a moment to warn us about the dangers of reversionism.]
PHI 3:20 "For our citizenship [the politeuma privilege] exists in heaven, from which place we eagerly anticipate the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
Verse 13: "Pursuing vigorously..."
Verse 14: "Pressing on..."
Verse 16: "Keep on marching..."
Verse 17: "Constantly walk..."
[Why? For what result?]
Verse 20: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly anticipate the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" to return from heaven!
1CO 1:7 "So that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly [apekdechomai] the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ [the Rapture]."
GAL 5:5 "For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope [confident expectation] of [our perfect]righteousness."
HEB 9:28 "So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him."
In all these passages, "apekdechomai" is used in reference to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, that great promise to which all God's people should be looking forward, with patience but also with eagerness. Whether or not a believer enters into following divine guidance depends on his attitude toward Bible doctrine and such scriptures asROM 8:13-14, "For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." "Are being led" is the verb "ago," which means to be led, guided, or directed. This includes individual guidance in personal matters and in your responsibilities in life.
The concept of similarity and sonship carries very clear implications, which are comforting to the positive believer. In 1Pe 2:9, we are said to be "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession." God does not love the world as He loves His own sons, JOH 3:16, "For God so loved [agapao, impersonal love] the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." Yet in JOH 16:27, "The Father Himself loves [phileo, personal love] you, because you have loved [phileo] Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father." We read in REV 3:19,"Those whom I love [phileo], I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent," but in HEB 12:8, "If you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons."
There is a difference between God's special attitude toward His own children, and His attitude toward the world. In fact, the Word tells us that we are to treat members of the Royal Family in a special way, GAL 6:10, "So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." As our Father, God takes a very special interest in us, MAT 10:30, "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." He knows every minor detail, problem, difficulty, desire, worry, concern, fear, dilemma, obstacle, longing, yearning, distress, predicament, adversity, affliction, challenge, misfortune, crisis, emergency, care, trial, hindrance, hurdle, restraint, anguish, misery, pain, danger, trouble, hardship, tribulation, calamity, disaster, torment, ailment, urgency, and ordeal we will ever face. As our Father, He has great plans for us. He chastises us and rebukes us for our own benefit. He protects and cares for us. As 1Pe 2:9 teaches, we are a "peculiar people," a "peripoiesis people,"meaning people surrounded by the grace of God. When we look back at our life, we can see the restraining hand of God. We can see our ever present Father, surrounding us with His love and protection.
In the following scriptures, we find different metaphors for divine protection by way of anthropomorphisms.
- PSA 37:24 "Though he falls, he shall not be completely cast down, because the Lord is the one who sustains him with His hands."
- DEU 33:27 "The arms of the Lord..."
- ZEC 2:8 "The eye of the Lord..."
- 1PE 3:12 "The ears of the Lord..."
He is always ready to receive us, listen to us, and grant us His blessing; in fact, He is more ready to give than we are to receive! Our Lord said in MAT 6:8, "For your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him." Even in prayer, although we are to have reverence and godly fear, we should also have a childlike confidence, HEB 4:16,"Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need."
For the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who is positive toward doctrine, confidence is one of the inevitable results. Complete confidence in our relationship with the Lord is vital to our happiness in life. Happiness in life is not a set of pleasant circumstances, but the ability to be confident and secure with all the circumstances surrounding you. InROM 8:15 Paul writes, "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" The word "spirit" is the noun "pneuma," which means "a state of mind." God has not given us "a state of mind of slavery." The word "slavery" applies to those who allow their situations and circumstances to dictate their attitude. If you are always influenced by your circumstances, and your encouragement or discouragement always comes from your circumstances, you are a slave to them. Bible doctrine, however, provides the basis of freedom from this slavery.
Slaves always live in fear of something, whether it is punishment, retribution, retaliation, punishment, or revenge. We were not "born again" so that we could become worried, upset, and disturbed, and fall apart, as we did in our first birth. We are to live in the freedom that God has given us, GAL 5:1, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery," and HEB 2:15, "And He might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives."
In ROM 8:16, "The Spirit Himself [God the Holy Spirit] bears witness with our [human] spirit that we are children of God." The human spirit does not contain emotion. Emotion is a part of the soul and is designed to be controlled by the thoughts of the soul. The Holy Spirit does not "bear witness" with our emotions, but with our human spirit, where the word of God resides. The human spirit is the immaterial part of believers designed by God to convert, store, and utilize spiritual phenomena. It is the doctrine in our human spirit that bears witness to the eternal truths taught by God the Holy Spirit; it is not the emotions or "gut feelings" that some believers claim to experience.
When God the Holy Spirit teaches us the Word of God, He does so in two ways:
1. He transfers the doctrine to our human soul, which orients us to time and temporal things.
2. He transfers the doctrine to our human spirit, which orients us to our eternal life and eternal relationship with God.
Doctrine has a two-fold function in life:
1. It orients us to reality in time (life orientation).
2. It orients us to reality in eternity (eternal life orientation).
We not only become slaves to time and our temporal life through antinomianism, but we can also become slaves to eternal life through legalism and adding works to the spiritual life. Works are a result of the spiritual life, but never the means. We are not to become slaves to the spiritual life, or what we think the spiritual life is. We must avoid legalistic deceptions such as:
- You have to tithe, or you will not be blessed.
- You must witness to a certain number of people.
- You must follow the "commandments," or God will punish you.
Many believers have developed a guilt complex from slavery to false principles concerning eternal life. No wonder so many believers today are not eagerly anticipating the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, coming back from heaven! It is true that God's justice must enforce discipline for sin and evil, but many believers allow isolated failures to produce temporal condemnation in their lives. They never learn to live in their heavenly privileges, and, even though they will always have eternal life, they will never receive their fantastic inheritance. It is one thing to be a child of God; it is another to be an heir of God.
1CO 11:31 "But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged."
The attitude that the believer who lives in his politeuma privilege should have is that "I want to inherit all that my Father has planned for me to inherit!" This attitude will result in what have seen in PHI 3:20, "apekdechomai," and that patient but eager anticipation of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, coming back from heaven.