Immortal Glory Aligning the Natural Order
(excerpted from Cosmos Reborn by John Crowder, available HERE)
The entire Adamic race met its end in the Last Adam, and we have been raised to new life through Him who is the Firstborn over all creation. Now, that creation “waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” (Rom. 8:19). The created order awaits the full revealing of our identity. We do not await our new birth. We are already sons. We await the full disclosure of our sonship – the manifestation of our inheritance. We don’t become sons … rather we are awakening to that sonship!
Inheritance spills out through the revelation of what is already ours. The Weymouth translation says, “we wait and long for open recognition as sons through the deliverance of our bodies.” Visibly, outwardly seen in full force the reality of an adoption that has already taken place in Christ. All of creation stands on tiptoe, awaiting the full, future experience of its liberty.
“Because the universe itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption [it’s bondage to decay (Gspd), it’s slavery to death (Con), the shackles of mortality (NEB), the tyranny of change and decay (Phi)] into the liberty of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:20).
Notice in this verse that it is not about our efforts liberating the earth from its curse. It is rescued from decay into the “freedom which belongs to the glory of the children of God.” The glorious splendour of God’s presence, emanating from the discovery of our own identity as divine sons, sets the universe free. As we walk in Truth, this internal order of Glory spills out into out into the external created order around us. It’s all about His Glory. When we know who we are, by gazing at Him, we manifest the Likeness we carry. We are aligned with His tangible presence in faith, which is already latent within us. We adorn the created order as the divine gardeners we were always intended to be. All of creation hinges on the revelation of God’s heart to mankind.
Mankind was intended to reign in life. Like Adam, we were called to tend the garden of pleasure. Eden means pleasure, or voluptuous living. Perfection, prosperity, health and happy living are our portion. No new age or utopian philosophy holds a candle to the bliss of the true New Age that has dawned. We see in verse 20 that the creation was made subject to decay (imperfection, futility). The Berkley translation says “the bondage of transitoriness” … in other words, the bondage of time. Outside of time, there is no death. For all we know, leaves may not even fall off the trees. There is no decay. No rust or moth to destroy. The Tree of Life in Heaven bears fruit in and out of season. There are no dark times. No dry times. No destruction. In the same way, we have been born of His eternal, immortal, everlasting Seed. Timeless and indestructible.
Remember when Jesus entered Jerusalem, He cursed the fig tree that didn’t produce? Scripture says it was not even yet time for figs to grow! On the surface, doesn’t this seem a bit harsh? “C’mon Jesus … it’s too early for the poor thing to produce!”
What is the moral of the story? If Jesus wants a fig, you better give him a fig!
Jesus has broken the bondage of the seasons. There are no longer any excuses for barrenness. We are no longer confined to the limitations of time or any other restriction in the natural order. We have been placed as gardeners over that natural order by His work. We just need to hear it – hearing causes us to realize it with the eyes of faith that enable demonstration. Though you may not know it – though it may seem mystical and hidden to you – you have even transcended the laws of time, physics, gravity, chemistry and more in Christ! We no longer have the excuse of the seasons … I’m not prepared. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough education. He has fully filled you, equipped you and given you everything – whether you know it or not. Whether you feel it or not. You are not bound by time, money or any natural order limitation. Your destiny does not hinge on your natural abilities. You are eternal, infinite, immortally woven into His own divinity.
The new creation is not bound by time, because it is timeless. Jesus Christ has broken the bondage of the seasons and nothing holds us back from manifesting these new creation realities right now.
Here in Romans 8, it doesn’t say creation is awaiting some future end-time harvest to set things right. It says all of creation waits up until … now. Now is the time we are united to God and experience Him. Not yesterday or tomorrow. He is Immanuel, God with us, in us, as us. The future doesn’t make the new creation real … Jesus did.
Charismatics are obsessed with “times and seasons” as if the work of the cross was one blip on a never-ending treadmill of God always “doing a new thing.” Everyone’s always trying to figure out what God is doing next so they don’t miss out. But the new thing started 2,000 years ago. All we’re seeing now is the unwrapping of the finished thing! We are not those “sons of Issachar” who must know the times and seasons. Why go backward to a Levitical priesthood that was based on the power of human performance? No. We are of a different priesthood that does not seasonally fluctuate based on our efforts. Paul says we are now of a Melchizedek priesthood which is based on the power of resurrection life. Everything is now based on the performance of Christ. The annual good year/bad year prophecies are irrelevant to me. I am in a season called the New Covenant. The continual Year of the Favor of the Sovereign Lord. The eternal Today … the Sabbath Rest.
The creation itself shall see its ultimate and final liberation – not just objectively, not just in theory – but in tangible outward display. When? As we are finally awakened to our own identity as sons. Again – not in our becoming sons, but awakening to our adoption that was settled from the foundation of the world. The return of Christ will present us with the grand finale in our realization of who we are and what He has done.
Creation is groaning for the revealing of this sonship. You’ll be walking down the road and a horse says, “Don’t you know who you are?” As our full identity in God is revealed, the impact on creation will be exponential. Adam was a centrifuge of favor – the river Pishon spit its gold out at Adam in Genesis 2. He didn’t dig in the ground for his livelihood. Creation seemed to spill its treasures at Adam’s feet. There was no toil, no sweat. Adam may very well have tended the garden through the spoken word. We see that God framed up the cosmos through the spoken word (Gen. 1, Heb. 11). We see Adam speaking into creation as he named the animals. Could he have simply said, “Carrots be planted … Fruit trees grow?” However it happened, his work
was without strife.
Adam was fruitful; he owned all the real estate and yet he never toiled. Likewise, the new creation is designed for more fruitfulness, less human effort. Garden works. For Adam, his work and his play were not divorced. He probably loved swinging around the garden like Jungle Jim! He loved his job: tending the Garden of Pleasure. The separation of work and play was a product of the fall. Today, men work to afford play time. And they play in order to escape work. But in the gospel these two things – work and play – are reconciled. In the gospel, our vocation is always to tend the garden of pleasure.
Are you still trying to figure out what God has called you to do? First figure out what you would enjoy doing – even if you didn’t get paid for it. That’s probably what you are ultimately called to do – and get paid for it. Outward order in life is a result of responding to those inward impulses of God-given desire. This is not to say we may always intrinsically enjoy every single aspect of work in this life. Maybe you don’t like getting up at 6 a.m. for your job … but you still do it for the paycheck set before you! Our ultimate motivation is still joy. The deeper we are impacted by the revelation of the gospel, the more joy, contentment and fulfillment we find – this inward saturation of His presence and godly desires spill over to a life of spiritual joy reconciled to natural-world productivity. It is
If the old creation mirrors the new creation (Adam over the garden), then we catch a glimpse of it by seeing our divine rule and reign over the material order.
Not some ham-fisted dictatorship, but stewards whose servant leadership brings fruitfulness to the gardens of life. Benevolent kings – a royal priesthood ushering in a new age of wonder out of the divine nature. From the inner resources of joy, rest, identity and love – a supernatural renaissance affects the
entire cosmos. There is no separation between Heaven and earth. They have been fully reconciled in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ. We must stop thinking supernatural versus natural. I do not believe miracles break the laws of nature. I believe that the Glory of God causes nature to transcend itself. The creation longs for us to walk in the reality of our sonship because we cause the natural order to rise above itself. We provoke the natural order to reach beyond its limitations.
Consider the water molecules, bouncing around before Jesus stepped out to walk on them! Were they excited that they were going to do the impossible that day? That they were going to transcend the laws of gravity and lift Jesus up? Or how about the water molecules in the jars at the Wedding of Cana in Galilee … were they “groaning” with excitement that they were about to be transformed into the substance of wine?
The new creation has been liberated from the shackles of material-world bondage imposed by sinfulness. Free from decay and the limitations of a strictly “natural” order. As sons, rather than breaking natural laws, we draw the natural realm to a higher plane. Consider Peter walking on water. Maybe you didn’t realize this, but it’s naturally impossible to walk on water. Peter did not walk on the water. Peter walked on the Word. Jesus said, “C’mon Pete,” and Peter knew that the Word of Jesus had more authority than the gravitational law of sinking. The water had to align with the Word. The Word transcends physical laws. In the same way, we have been seated as co-heirs in Christ in heavenly places, high above the created order – even though we are part of it! And that material world is longing for us to walk in our true identity, so that new creation realities are manifest. Yes, the world is groaning for us to wake up!
Adam was placed “as God” to the earth. Just as Moses was made “as God” to Pharoah (Ex. 7:1). We’re mirror images of Him. John tells us similarly “as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Because Adam walked in alignment under the governing entity of God, the earth positively responded to Adam, responding under Adam’s governorship. Literally, Adam could walk as a happy ruler over the earth, because his vertical relationship with God was in order.
What was the fruit? Everything was easy. Adam got the best parking spaces. Barely lifted a finger and things fell into place for him. The earth prospered. No acne or gingivitis. It was not until he fell, that this changed. His eyes turned from God the earth turned from Adam. What did Adam’s eyes turn toward? He became idolatrously focused on the natural order. Sin enslaved him to the natural order, when in reality, the natural order was originally dependent on Adam.
Instead of being God-focused, Adam became “stuff focused.” The earth withdrew from Him. Adam was no longer recognizing the governing entity of God. He was under a new governor – the slave master sin. Adam’s face turned to the dirt, where he had to dig in the ground by the sweat of his brow among the thorns and the thistles for his own livelihood. Back when his face was turned to God in trust, the rivers just poured their gold out at Adam. Multiple streams of income! But now that Adam is earth-focused, digging in the furrows, the Book of Job tells us that the earth swallowed up its gold. There is the paradox. When we hold natural things lightly (like money) with our eyes focused on God in extravagant generosity, money comes to us. But when we are obsessed with money itself as an idol – anxiously hoarding it – we lose even that which we have.
Jesus never said anything bad about money or the natural order – He only wanted to cure us of the idolatry of it. We are created to be blessed and to rule and reign in life. It is about having our priorities in order. Jesus essentially said, “I know you have need of these things (Cornflakes, Toyotas, Dolce Gabbana sunglasses) but seek first the kingdom above these things. All this stuff will be added to you.” Despite the criticisms of what some would deem a “prosperity gospel,” God has always wanted us to live an immensely blessed existence in the new creation. Poverty is not His plan. Starvation in Africa is not His plan. Let it be on earth as it is in heaven does not mean “send the big Sahara down from the sky.” Stuff itself was never bad. It’s a tool. We don’t serve money; money should serve us.
Thank God the story doesn’t end there! He did not leave Adam in his state of bondage to this new governor sin. Jesus Christ stepped into our place as the Last Adam … he bore Adam’s thorns and thistles on His own sweaty brow – destroying the curse of poverty itself, baptizing the material order in His own incarnation! He stepped into the depth of our bondage, decay and corruption – not breaking our curses one-by-one in an endless deliverance class. No! He destroyed the curse itself. Brought us out of the kingdom of darkness and into the glorious light.
The bondage of time, death, poverty and disease have become the occasion of His grace. He became the curse, that it might be fully destroyed in His own servant body. We were born again, out of time, springing out of His grave to newness of life. The Firstborn of many brothers who is leading many sons to the revelation and manifestation of His Glory. We have power to rule and reign even now in this life – in Heaven with feet on the Earth. Even though we barely recognize the good things He has laid up for us. We are about to realize that issues we are most concerned with in the natural order – money, health, pollution, war and governmental corruption are nonissues from His perspective. The defeated enemy of decay will vanish like a bad dream. The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord (Rev. 11:15). Manifest sons will be radiating His authority and causing the natural order to transcend itself like never before through a realization of something He’s already fully accomplished.
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