The FULL Redemption of our bodies....
"And, not only the creation, but we ourselves, who also have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." ~ Romans 8:23 (ESV)
What does it mean that we who have the first-fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies? Does that mean that adoption as sons is a future promise? And does it mean that our bodies have not been fully redeemed as a FINISHED work? I don't think so. Let's look closer at this verse.
The Wuest translation says, "we are waiting for the FULL REALIZATION of our adult sonship."
The J.B. Phillips translation says, "while we wait for that redemption of our bodies, which will mean that at last, we have REALIZED our full sonship – HIM."
And the Mirror Bible includes in its notes on this verse, "the FULL REALIZATION of everything reconciled in Christ."
A few verses back, in verse 19, Paul tells us what creation is groaning for – the REVELATION or MANIFESTATION of the sons of God. All of creation isn't waiting for God to declare us sons someday. They are waiting or groaning, for us to awaken to who we have always been, sons of God, made in His image and likeness—waiting for God’s sons to have the revelation of their sonship. The word waiting is a present indicative, a right NOW tense. Right NOW all of creation is waiting for mankind to wake up to the revelation that they are the sons of God. And this right NOW waiting was when Paul was writing this letter to the Romans.
This letter isn't to us. Paul isn't speaking to us. He is speaking here to a transitional generation. Most of them had either lived before the FINISHED work of Christ, in bondage to the law of sin and death, or had family members who had. They had partaken of the first influences (the first fruits) of the Spirit of Grace.
The Aramaic translation of firstfruits of the Spirit is the Awakening of the Spirit.
I love that!! That transitional generation had an awakening! They tasted the first fruits of freedom from sin and death. Like Paul, they were awakened to the Christ-life in them! And now, Paul is urging them to FULLY REALIZE their sonship, which also includes the FULL redemption of their physical bodies. To FULLY REALIZE they are WHOLE and COMPLETE in Him. He's communicating that they are not waiting on a future manifestation of sonship, because they have ALWAYS been sons from before time began (Ephesians 1:5).
When Moses sent the 12 spies into the Promise Land to see what it was like, they brought back a cluster of grapes so large that it took two men to carry it. They were tasting the first fruits of Canaan – of their promised inheritance. The only thing needed to experience the fullness of what belonged to them was to believe what God said over what their natural senses were telling them, and to go dwell in the Promise land. But, while these spies thought the land was flowing with milk and honey as God had said, they ALSO believed the lie of, nevertheless.
This word nevertheless is a word of negation. It is efes in Hebrew and means zero, no way, and not a chance. And so knowing God had indeed promised this, they gave their reasons why they couldn't possess it. They gave their nevertheless, no way, not a chance answers. And in response to Caleb and Joshua's shouts of triumph and victory (that was already theirs) they said in essence: "Not only are we unable to prevail against the Canaanites; even God isn't strong enough!" In other words, yes, the land is just as God said, BUT (nevertheless!) my experience (or what I see with my natural eyes) is stronger than God!!
The same is true for us today. We must believe what God has said, "IT IS FINISHED" over every experience that attempts to contradict that. We've tasted the first fruits of redemption, realizing we are free, forgiven, and delivered from sin. But some ONLY go that far in their realization – in their understanding of what Christ FINISHED.
Paul is saying you've tasted the firstfruits, you've had an awakening of the Spirit, but you groan inwardly. It says we, ourselves IN ourselves, groan. Ourselves IN ourselves! That's a lot of self-focus... a lot of in ourself! But we are not IN ourselves, we are IN Him. And IN Him, we are complete. IN Him there is no groaning! And when that becomes our realization, we will no longer groan. The word groan is stenazo in Greek, and it means narrow or contracted when squeezed or pressed by circumstances. It refers to the utterance of one caught in a dreadful situation with no immediate prospect of deliverance!
The Septuagint gives the Hebrew word anach as its equivalent. The first time we see this word is in Exodus 2:23. It says the children of Israel groaned (anach)because of bondage under the King of Egypt's rule. Slavery, whether actual or perceived, causes us to groan. It causes us to cry out for deliverance from the continual pressures of terrible circumstances in our lives. It comes from the feeling of helplessness, of feeling powerless to situations that are beyond our control. Feeling powerless to things that we reason and explain away as just a normal part of life, while at the same time knowing that someday we will be ultimately redeemed, wholly delivered from sickness, disease, lack, death, etcetera. Believing that we need to get through this life doing the best that we can and someday we will be finally fully redeemed. Thinking that in the sweet by and by, we will get a better body, a glorified, resurrected, FULLY redeemed body, free from all sickness, disease, and death. Believing someday, every tear is wiped away, death is defeated, and life is finally perfect!! Not realizing that we are right NOW, COMPLETELY delivered, FULLY redeemed, and there is NO need for us to groan!
It says we are waiting for adoption as sons! But this word waiting is not in a future tense of waiting for something more or waiting for something to complete us. It is in connection with our groaning. We are groaning and waiting... it's a simultaneous action. So, what is it that we are awaiting? Our adoption as sons, which is huiothesian in Greek. But not awaiting adoption as in some day the Father will make us sons and fully adopted us into His family! NO! Ephesians 1:5 says, “He predestined us unto adoption.” He determined our sonship before time began. He determined it and made it so before you ever did anything, good or bad! There has never been a single moment that ALL mankind has not been sons!
So, what does the word waiting mean if it doesn't mean waiting FOR something to happen? This word in Greek is apekdechomai. It is from three words, apo meaning away from; and ekdikisis (which is from two words: ek meaning out of, source, or origin; and dike meaning two parties finding likeness in each other). Strong's Concordance says that it's a triple compound that means welcome from and out of; the waiting that decisively puts away all that should remain behind. What should decisively be put away that should remain behind? Our old mistaken identity and false perception of God and ourselves. And what should we welcome or fully embrace? That we are sons made in the image and likeness of Abba! The word apo added to dexomai is for emphasis through the idea of separation. Separation from that which had once defined us -- our own distorted sense of identity.
It is a complete separation from those continual pressures and circumstances that would cause us to groan and cry out to God for deliverance. Things like sickness, disease, grief, loss, etcetera, which came from mistaken identity and a misunderstanding of the nature of God. It is a complete separation from those things and seeing ourselves as sons in the image and likeness of God with dominion over ALL the works of His hands (Psalm 8:6). We are not victims to our circumstances.
What if you began to see Romans 8:23 in a NOW tense instead of future tense? What would your life start to look like?
The word waiting also means to expect fully. What are we to expect fully? The NOW-ness and IS-ness of our adoption as sons. Adoption as sons means in Greek to place one as a mature son who can administer his Father's estate. One who has complete, full access to ALL that his Father has. Another term would be master of ALL (Galatians 4). As sons, we are masters of ALL that is our Father's. We have dominion over ALL the work of His hands (Psalm 8:6). The key to walking in it is realizing. FULLY REALIZING, FULLY WELCOMING, and FULLY EMBRACING right NOW in this life that we are mature sons, masters of ALL with COMPLETE access to ALL of our inheritance now – NOT after we die.
KJV uses the phrase to wit the redemption of our bodies. To wit is an Old English verb meaning to know. What are we to know? That as sons, our bodies have been FULLY redeemed. Redeemed is apolutrosis in the Greek. The prefix apo emphasizes the distance or safety margin that results between the rescued person and what previously enslaved them! Apo stresses the FINISHED, COMPLETE tense of our redemption. Apo marks the disassociation or separation from what once enslaved mankind – sin, and death. Our FULL redemption is not a future event; IT IS FINISHED! In this verse, redemption is not a verb, as in something that happens to us. It is a noun. Redemption is a Person, and His name is Jesus. He fills ALL IN ALL! As Redemption, He fills ALL of you – your entire being! You can't be anymore redeemed than you already are; you can only awaken to that truth more and more and, as a result, walk out the experience of what that means. Free from sin and death. And free from ALL of its manifestations – sickness, disease, poverty, lack, physical death, etc.
The root of the word redemption in Greek is luo, meaning to loosen; to release from bonds; to set free; to undo. The Hebrew word is patach, meaning open, open up, and having no confining barriers. Redemption means we have no confining barriers or limitations.
Paul began chapter 8 in Romans, telling us we are free and the KEY to experiencing that freedom is our mindset. He said to be carnally minded, is death and spiritually minded, is life. He explains to this transitional generation that their bondage, their enslavement, to sin and death has ENDED! They are 100% FREE! He tells them (and us!) in verse 11 that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead will quicken (will make alive) their mortal bodies completely, successfully through His dwelling IN us. The word quicken here is future tense. BUT Ephesians 2:5 and Colossians 2:13 both say that the Spirit's quickening (or making us alive) was past tense, FINISHED work. In other words, we quickened when Christ was quickened (made co-alive, co-quickened). OK…. BUT if we co-died and were co-quickened with Christ 2000 years ago, why is Romans 8:11 in future indicative tense? I'm not 100% sure. But I love what I read in the Mirror Bible about another verse that was in future tense..... faith sees the future in past tense-mode! And the future can be as simple as tomorrow, next week, next year, or even 2 minutes from now! His life is always flowing on the inside of us and continually quickening us. Quickening means to cause to live. His Life always makes us alive, whether it be 2000 years ago, today, tomorrow, or even 2000 years from now! The Spirit of God indwelling us is the Source of our life and the law of our being. It is a future IS-ness and NOW-ness reality of whole man redemption!
Paul isn't saying that groaning is something we have to resign ourselves to, waiting until someday when we experience the fullness of our redemption – meaning when our bodies are finally resurrected and become a glorified body someday after we die. NO!
In Colossians 2:12, he tells us that we were co-raised with Him through God's active faith, which raised Him (and ALL mankind) from the dead. And Ephesians 2:6 tells us that we were co-raised and co-seated together WITH Him. Both of those words are aorist indicative active, which means past tense action that happened at a specific time. FINISHED!! DONE!! It can't happen again, and it can't be undone or added to. In other words, what happened to Jesus happened to us simultaneously. He didn't leave us in the grave until a future time when He will finally FULLY resurrect us after we die!! His FULL resurrection was our FULL resurrection.... it happened in the same instance, in the same measure!
FULL redemption was Paul's understanding of our new life IN HIM. So, he's not saying we have to resign ourselves to groaning, he's telling them and us that our adoption as sons, that took place before time began, INCLUDES the redemption of our physical bodies! We don't just have redeemed spirits – we are FULLY, WHOLLY redeemed! We're not waiting for a glorified body. Our bodies have already been glorified. In verse 30 of chapter 8, he tells us that we HAVE BEEN predestined, justified, called, and glorified! ALL those verbs are aorist indicative – past tense, FINISHED tense! It can't happen again, and it can't be undone or added to. Your physical body is a carrier and a releaser of God’s glory right NOW with no confining barriers or limitations... i.e. FULLY REDEEMED.