The Person of Christ - 32 - Expectancy of Christ

 

Chapter 32 - The Present Ministry of Christ

The Expectancy of Christ

Norman Crawford

 

?But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool? (Heb. 10:12,13). The expectancy of Christ is His present rest in the faithfulness of the divine promises, and in the infinite divine wisdom, as to the time when the promises will be fulfilled. Never again is He to offer or be offered, never again to suffer or to die. He waits with confidence until the day when He will see the fruit of His cross work. ?He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied? (Isa. 53).

 

Before we further examine the expectancy of Christ, we should point out that the prospect that occupies His heart should also occupy the heart of every believer. In fact, all creation longs for that event.

 

THE LONGING OF CREATION.

 

Romans 8 describes a yearning creation. There is a glory to be revealed in us (v.18) and it will not only reach to us but will take place in us. This will be the initial event that will usher in God?s great programme for the future. ?For the earnest expectation of the creature (created universe) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God? (v.19). The physical creation eagerly longs for the day when saints will get their new bodies. This creation is now ?subject to frustration?, yet there is hope (v. 19). Though now enslaved in a bondage of corruption, it will yet be delivered, but its deliverance must await the ?revelation in glory of the sons of God.?

 

A clear distinction is made in these verses between the created universe and the believer; ?And not only they (creation), but ourselves also.., even we groan? (v.23). This helps us to understand that, ?The whole creation groaneth and travaileth together until now? (v.22) refers to the entire realm of nature but probably excludes angels and men. All creation utters a common groan, longing to fulfil the original purpose of its Creator.

 

There are three groans in this section of this great chapter. Not only creation groans but ?even we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for (eagerly expecting) our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body? (v.23b.R. V.). Then ?the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered? (v.26,R.V.). Because the subject is intercession, many have never linked this groan with the two previous ones. However, verse 27 makes it clear, that this intercession for the saints is ?according to the will of God?. In fact, this last phrase is placed first in the clause to show its importance. The groan of creation and of the saint is also the cause of the groanings of the Spirit within us. All are the longings of the heart for the day of glory. It is then in this context that we should understand the following well known verse; ?And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.? All are working together toward eternal blessing and glory.

 

THE LONGING OF THE SAINT.

 

We have now seen that the believer has within himself, by the Spirit, a great yearning for the day of the redemption of the body.  Revelation 22:17, ?And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.? The Holy Spirit creates within the bride the longing for the heavenly Bridegroom. The words of Job also express the longing of the believer today ?1 know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth? (Job 19:25). He later confesses that his heart within him is consumed with longing for that day (see v.27).

 

Peter tells us that the day of full salvation is ?ready to be revealed,? that is, it is on the very threshold of revelation. On this great hope these persecuted saints, scattered through the Roman Empire, are to set their hearts. ?Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and set your heart perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ? (I Pet. 1:13, R.V.).

 

The two epistles that deal most fully with the rapture of the church both begin with a waiting people. The thought of I Corinthians 1:7 is to wait with expectancy ?for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.? In I Thessalonians the thought is to wait patiently for the Son from heaven, our Deliverer from the coming (tribulation) wrath (see I Thess. 1.10; 5:9).

 

The longing of the heart of every believer is summed up in Philippians 3:20 ?For our citizenship is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour.?

 

THE LONGING OF THE LORD.

 

Enough has already been written to indicate that all events in the programme of God are irresistibly moving toward the day when the despised Jesus will be manifested to every created intelligence, that He is ?Lord to the glory of God the Father.?

 

The Lord Jesus now awaits the fulfilling of the divine promise (Heb. 10:13). The word translated ?expecting? here is used of the husbandman (farmer) who patiently waits for the precious fruit of the earth (See James 5:7). It is also used of the patriarchs waiting with longing for the sight of the heavenly city (See Heb. 11:10). A plain illustration of its meaning is given to us in John 5 where it describes the waiting of the crippled folk around the poo1 of Bethesda.

 

Our Lord Jesus waits for the fulfillment of the divine purpose and promise. He also waits for the subjugation of His enemies; but as the heavenly Bridegroom He waits for His bride.

 

One remarkable text will help us here. Paul has just expressed his confidence in the obedience of the Thessalonians and concludes the section, ?And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patient waiting for Christ? (II Thess. 3:5). The revised version makes the present waiting to be the attitude of the Lord Jesus. He is patiently waiting. Occupation with the love of God and the longing of the heart of the Lord Jesus to have us with Himself, should surely have a most sanctifying effect upon us. What can there be in this world that can win our hearts while we have such a prospect in view?

Creation waits, we wait, and wonder of wonders, He awaits our coming. The mind is immediately taken back to a meeting that beautifully illustrates this prospect. Rebekah?s heart has been won to a man she has never seen. She has left behind every natural tie and crossed a wide wilderness in the company of the unnamed servant. He has filled her heart with the glories of His master and has shown her the earnest of his inheritance. The eventide finds Isaac meditating in the field, ?And he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold the camels were coming? (Gen. 24:63). ?And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.? So the blessed work of the Holy Spirit has been to occupy our hearts with the Man we have never seen by natural sight. Our hearts have been won, the desert is almost past, it is eventide, let us lift up our eyes; ?Behold the camels are coming!?

 

Oh the blessed joy of meeting

AU the desert past!

Oh the wondrous words of greeting

He shall speak at last!

 

He and I together entering

Those bright courts above;

He and I together sharing

All the Father?s love.

 

He, who in the hour of sorrow

Bore the curse alone;

I, who through the lonely desert

Trod where He had gone.

 

He and I in that bright glory

One deep joy shall share;

Mine, to be forever with Him,

His, that I am there.