This is the idea of ‘earnest’ (apokaradokia) used in Romans 8: 19. So, in this verse it is not just outstretched neck but outstretched body of God’s creation expecting the manifestation of the sons of God; sons of God in all eternity. And it must be so because this is one of (three) greatest news the earth can ever know, and the crowning news of all three! And all creation wants to catch it, if you will, not as breaking news; but right on spot, as eyewitness that is, before it breaks out. Their whole body is involved. They stretched out themselves standing on their toe, like they want to fly. And, who are the ones doing this? The whole creation of God! Why? Again: This is one of the three most outstanding things (three things with one goal) that the earth can ever know.
The Challenge to Believers!
Before we lay out these three outstanding events in the world (one of which is already our present subject matter), may we challenge ourselves with a poser. We have just seen how the creation (let’s call them ‘the spectators’ or ‘crowd of witnesses’) see and take the rapture of the saints: even their disposition and complete arrest in this matter. Now, for us who are the called according to His foreknowledge; for us who the rapture is actually intended for; for us the creation (in the very special sense of the word: His spiritual body); and for us for whose sake the rest of creation are earnestly expecting and waiting to see the consummation of our high calling, can we dare to take things for granted and live it-doesn’t-matter life? I assume you know that those who will make the rapture shall go up suddenly in outstretched bodies?
And shall we not live outstretched lives for Him, a life light enough to be so raptured; a life fixedly looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; a way of life free from all the mundane things of this world that are blocking our view of the coming King, and obscuring our comprehension of true Christianity and the nature of Christ call? If observers, as it were, can be on the watch out for us, can we not ourselves watch? If secondary beneficiaries and indeed those deriving their benefits from our benefits could be all consciousness about the coming of the Lord, can primary beneficiaries dare to be less conscious and consummate with it? This angle will take a more elaborate attention after now. So, we must go presently to the three most outstanding events but same and one goal.
Three Most Outstanding Events
The first, not necessarily in order of importance but of occurrence, is creation itself; and we read: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” – Titus 1: 2. Eternal life was the goal of creation. It was promised before creation, and God cannot lie about it. Though Satan made man fell into sin, the promise of God is eternal. Eternal life underscores all the dealings of God with man.
The second is the Cross, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ where our sins were taken away, buried with Him, and resurrected with Him with eternal life guaranteed us (if indeed we have gone to His Cross to settle our account with Him in repentance and getting forgiveness and grace to live for Him). And we read: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” – 1 Peter 1: 3; “That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” –Titus 3: 7; “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” – Colossians 1: 27. This is the restoration to the original purpose of our creation, which is eternal life.
Though we now have it if we have faithfully gone to the Cross of Christ to ask for forgiveness of our sins and by faith receive His Blood of cleansing to get rid of sins from our souls and have His righteousness imputed unto us; and so are now perfect in the sight of Almighty God, this eternal life may well still be probationary as pilgrims in a dark world. There is a final salvation therefore, and they that endure to the end, those that keep their pure garments pure to the end or those that would always timely allow God to take away whatever stains on their garments before it is too late will eventually lay hold on eternal life: The second or final salvation. The rapture, those who finally achieve the purpose of the Cross and of creation, is the third (not in ranking but order of occurrence) of the most outstanding events in the world. This is the consummation of all that God intended for man. Eternal life, that is. Call it the last climax. All creation with earnest expectation and unyielding eagerness want to know these people. This eagerness: Nothing compares! But how eager are you and I?
The Creatures’ Earnestness: A take-home Lesson!
The creation want to see those who finally would achieve the purpose of the Cross and of creation; those whose priceless souls will avoid eternity with Satan in his horrible eternal abode; those who finally did not make shipwreck of their faith but cleaved to the Lord in the face of Satan’s devices and falsehood in many a pulpits; those who in their walk as pilgrims here on earth presented their bodies as living sacrifices; those few among the many that are called who truly have been walking the narrow path, and who therefore will be consequently chosen or better still so make themselves to be chosen; those who consummates the blessed assurance and hope; those who will be free, and free indeed: forever free! Shall we be among the few the Lord is coming for and that the ‘creature’ is earnestly expecting and waiting to be manifested as sons of God! Why not?
They are all with outstretched bodies wanting to see the final victors that will actually sound out the final conquerors’ unanswerable challenging query that ushers into eternity with God: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” – 1 Corinthians 15: 55. A poser that knows no reply, for all enemies have been subdued eternally! Shall we be among those final victors?
The creation want to see the Church that is without wrinkle and blemish; the wheat separated from the tares; those who really have been on the narrow way as opposed to the world’s Broadway passengers and the hypocritical multitude in the Broadway-church. It wants to know those (the ‘ye’ or ‘you’) who will be part of that most comforting and supernal welcome address: “But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels” – Hebrews 12: 22. May we be in that assemblage! May we join other glorified saints who have already gone before us and who are among the creature earnestly expecting to see those to be manifest as sons of God with them, those to be added with them in that great God’s assembly.
Now, there is a blessed assurance; Jesus, indeed, belongs to all that are saved, He is ours; and O what a foretaste of glory divine this is! Now, we are heirs of salvation (of the final salvation that is, because now we are already saved) having been purchased of God, born of His Spirit and washed in His blood. But this is necessary: Perfect submission, with its attendant perfect delight and visions of rapture that burst on our sights, and with angels descending, bringing from above echoes of mercy and whispers of love that sustains us in His fold until: that eternal perfect submission where all is at rest; where we in our Savior are happy and blest; because we lived a life of watching and waiting, looking above just as we are filled with His goodness (and emitting same), and lost in His love (by which men know us a
s His Disciples). That is rephrasing Fanny Jane Crosby, a lady that was so full of Heaven, and today evidently resting in the Bosom of her Savior!
May we join the saints in glory; may we live a life that outstretches to Heaven, a life ready for the most glorious flight that the saints will soon partake in, and which Satan and all his hosts can do nothing against. There is a final salvation. And the earnest expectation of the creation is to see this ‘manifestation of the sons of God’: the eternal sons of God!
And brethren and all, as we walk on this side of eternity, how can we not share this inspiration that came to George Bennard (1873–1958) “one day in 1913”, in Albion, Michigan:
THE OLD RUGGED CROSS
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
‘Til my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see;
For ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
Before the rapture, there is a way believers should live! Faith of our fathers is living still, no matter how men and ‘ministers’ wrest the scriptures. Jesus is coming very soon for His Church; a Church without blemish, and without wrinkle! And, remember: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God”.