Many people think that church is that building on the corner of the street with a tall steeple and a cross on top of it. Many believers believe that the church is the gathering of the Christians, the family of the children of God. Many seeking believers want to know the church, be in the church, and build up the church.
But what is the church according to the Bible? The Bible speaks much concerning the church and there are many mysterious terms associated with it such as ekklesia (the gathering of the called-out ones), the Body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the one new man, the local church, the golden lampstands, the warrior, and the New Jerusalem.
Christ didn’t just die for us because He loved us so much: He died for the church, to redeem and purchase the church as His Body and His bride.
In eternity past God had an intention according to His heart’s desire, and for this He made a plan, an economy, a household arrangement, to have many sons in humanity. God Himself became a man in the person of the Jesus Christ in order to have a way to regenerate man with His life and obtain many sons.
God’s heart’s desire is to have many sons that would express Him in a corporate way. All the believers in Christ are the members of the Body of Christ and the many sons of God, the sonship, to express God in a corporate way on earth.
We need to have an uplifted view of our Christian life and experience: we don’t just “go through sufferings and trials” and we don’t merely “suffer for the Lord” – all the things we go through help us be brought into glory to be the mature sons of God expressing God in a corporate way!
And even the whole creation is groaning, yearning, and cheering us on: “Be transformed! Be renewed! Be glorified!” so that the whole creation would be freed from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God!
God Desires to have Many Sons to be His Expression Corporately: Christ is Leading the Many Sons of God into Glory!
This is His good pleasure, according to which He had an intention and based on which He determined a purpose, and for this heart’s desire He designed an economy, a household administration to work out His eternal purpose of having many sons.
God’s heart’s desire and God’s economy are for God to have many sons who are mature in the divine life to be the corporate sonship as His expression. The church has much to do with God’s heart’s desire because the church is the sonship and the church is for the sonship.
The church is certainly not a building, an organization, a religion, a movement, or a denomination; the church is for the sonship and the church is the sonship.
Even more, in Romans 8:19 we see that the whole creation is waiting for the revelation and glorification of the sons of God, and in Hebrews 2:10 Christ is leading many sons into glory. The whole creation is groaning and waiting for the revelation, the glorification, the manifestation, of the glory of the sons of God.
Today Christ is doing only one thing: He is bringing us, His many believers, into glory (see 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:16-18). Today we are under the Lord’s leading of many sons into glory, and in the church life we are being led by Christ into glory.
If our church life is not doing this in essence, we fall short from fulfilling God’s eternal purpose. We are being transformed daily and even moment-by-moment into the same image as Christ from glory to glory, even from the Lord Spirit. Our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us more and more surpassingly an eternal weight of glory.
Both the Lord’s work inwardly and the outward environment sovereignly arranged by God are working toward glory, transforming us from glory to glory and working out an eternal weight of glory!
We need to cooperate with the Lord by first allowing Him to work Himself into us and then shepherd others with glory in view. We shouldn’t just comfort the saints in a human way, care for their soul, or merely read the Bible with the new ones; we should have a clear view that everything that happens in our life and in the saints’ lives is for more glory to be wrought into us and into them!
Why do we experience this or that? It’s because Christ is leading you as one of the many sons of God into glory. The answer to all your “why this?” and “why that?” questions is “glory!”
The sufferings today, this momentary lightness of affliction, cannot be compared with the eternal weight of glory being wrought into us. It is for glory that we experience hardships, troubles, and sufferings; it is for glory that the Spirit operates in us to transform us, saturate us with God, permeate us, and renew us.
Lord Jesus, uplift our view of what is really happening to us in our Christian life and experience. May we realize that it is all for glory! Hallelujah, Christ is leading us, the many sons of God, into glory! Praise the Lord, we are being daily transformed from one degree of glory to another degree of glory so that we may be the sonship as the corporate expression of God! Lord, may more glory be wrought into us and may we be brought into glory as we pass through this momentary lightness of affliction today!
The Whole Creation is Waiting for the Revelation and the Glorification of the Sons of God
At present the entire creation is enslaved under the law of decay and corruption because of the fall of man, and the only hope for creation to be freed from the slavery of corruption is the revelation, the manifestation, the glorification of the sons of God.
When the many sons of God are being brought into glory, the entire creation will be freed from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (see Rom. 8:17-21).
If we look around us today we can clearly see that the whole creation is decaying and dying, things are going worse and worse, and there’s no hope: everything is going down and falling apart. The prime minister and the president cannot fix the problem, and no geologist, biologist, nuclear physicist, doctor, or scientist can solve the problem of corruption and death.
The only hope of freedom is the revelation of the children of God. The process we go through in our Christian life today has much to do with the freedom of the creation from the slavery of corruption.
Christ today is leading many sons into glory, and the whole creation is eagerly waiting and even groaning until we are being brought into glory – so that they all may be released.
We are now in the process of being renewed, transformed, and glorified, and at the “fullness of the times” (Eph. 1:10), when Christ has finished bringing the many sons into glory, all creation will be headed up in Christ with His Body.
At that time the whole creation will be released and delivered from the slavery of corruption and from vanity, and everything and everyone will be headed up in Christ through His Body, the church.
In the church life today we have something to do with that freedom, glory, deliverance, and manifestation; we need to grow in life as God’s children and be renewed, transformed, sanctified, until eventually we will be glorified so that God would gain the sonship to express Him corporately and the whole creation would be released from the slavery of corruption and vanity!
Don’t look at the sufferings at the present time: set your eyes at the glory to come! The Lord Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, has been perfected through the sufferings He went through, and He set His eyes on the glory ahead of Him.
We follow Him in this process, looking away from anything and anyone unto Jesus, being transformed into His image from glory to glory even as from the Lord Spirit!
Lord Jesus, take us all the way through the process of the organic salvation unto maturity in life so that we may be transformed into Your image in glory and so that the whole creation would be released from the slavery of corruption! We set our eyes on the glory ahead of us to count it more precious than the sufferings at the present time. Lord Jesus, bring us sooner all the way into glory! Perfect us, transform us, renew us, and bring us as the many sons of God into glory! Father, gain the sonship You desire to have as Your corporate expression!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my Christian experience, bro. Minoru Chen’s sharing in the message for this week, and portions from, The Vision, Practice, and Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ (chs. 2-4), as quoted in, the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Vision, Practice, and Building up of the Church as the Body of Christ, week 1 / msg 1, God’s Purpose for the Church (1) To Have the Divine Sonship in Full through Sanctification for the Corporate Expression of God (you can buy this morning revival book here).
- Picture credit for Romans 8:19 and more spiritual quotes via, Christian Pictures Blog.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Glory! Glory! Christ is life in me, / As the Spirit leading constantly! / What was weak is mighty, / What was dark is light, / Glory! Glory! Christ is life in me! (Song on being brought into glory)
# O Lord, we’ve seen Your purpose to bring the many sons / To share in Your full glory and see Your kingdom come. / We praise You, Lord, this glory is You, Yourself within, / Spread out in all Your people to shine in all of them. (Hymns #1290)
# By that final transformation, / We’ll be fully sanctified; / God will bring us into glory, / With His Son identified. / All creation is expecting / Sons of God revealed to be, / That they might be freed from bondage / Into glorious liberty. (Hymns #741)
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