I often see people prophetically as being “in the grip of God.” In this prophetic imagery, I sense that God has not only laid His hand on their lives, He has taken them into His grip. This level of Divine claim resembles the truest sense of “call” [kaleo] which means something deeper and greater than “invitation.” Two-thirds of the time when the word “called” is used in the New Testament, the word means “ordained, chosen, selected, positioned,” not “invited.”
To more deeply understand the “working all things together for good” of Romans 8:28, we must begin with this sense of positioned, ordained, chosen, and selected intention. God isn’t working everything together for good in the new age sense of “harmony in the universe.” He is working all things together for those He has selected to get Him what He wants, those He has positioned through selection, those who have His passionate love.
Note: the term for “church” is “ekklesia.” This is a word built upon the word, kaleo, of which we are speaking. The sense of kaleo can certainly be invitation about a third of the time, and God is opening the door wide in terms of invitation so that whosoever will may come. However, consider that the Ecclesia isn’t functioning as an accumulation of believers but a called together assembly summoned by assignment to fulfill a kingdom purpose. The sense of “ekklesia” isn’t called out of the world but called together from the kingdom.
The Groan of Creation
Paul’s discussion is about the comparison of present pathos and ultimate Glory: the present pathos isn’t worthy, or has little or no value, to be compared with manifestation of Divine and eternal character. Creation groans. It has been groaning for quite a while. The groan of creation for its ultimate release from entropy and limitation, however, is completely tied to the groan of God’s children, for only when and through the ultimate redemption of the children of God, the inheritors of kingdom, will Creation reach its eternal purpose.
The groan of Creation and the children of God is for an ultimate glorification that will involve the redemption of the physical body of the redeemed, a glorified body, and the ultimate manifestation of the perfect purpose of Creation – what God had in mind when He created – through final consummation of redemptive restoration. Jesus will accomplish this, of course, and we simply wait for it. We can do nothing to make this happen, in other words.
The groan of Creation, like the children, and the groan of God is for purpose to reach ultimate fulfillment so the what-God-wants of eternity will be ultimately manifested and eternally established beyond the possibility of challenge.
The Groan of the Children
Paul’s discussion of the comparison of pathos and Glory says that God’s children groan with Creation because they too are pregnant with this purpose. The comparison of the pregnancy and its pathos isn’t worthy because the final and ultimate outcome is so Glorious! We are but we are not manifested for what we are. That is, something real is presently hidden that only the ultimates can reveal. We wait for this as a pregnant woman waits for the moment of birthing that she cannot control or make occur. Yet, she groans for it because of the sense of “I want this to be finished” and “I want to see my baby!”
Note: skip past all the poor representations of “manifested sons” thinking in which a few, elite spiritual X-men will represent the ultimates of kingdom while the rest of us spectate their amazingness. This is merely another deception in a long list of poorly-conceived end time scenarios and theories of how God does stuff applied to the ultimates. Like the other concepts on the list, people work at proving the theory in ways that produce deception and sometimes silliness.
The groaning of the children for their glorified manifestation refers to the return of Jesus, the Only One who has immortality.
The groaning is for a future event, but the groaning comes from a passion and pathos of enduring engagement: “We want what God wants!”
The Groan of God
God isn’t groaning for the ultimates. Notice that the groan of God doesn’t enter into the pathos of waiting. God doesn’t wring His hands about time or timing. God doesn’t break a sweat enduring the process.
The groan of God enters this scenario with respect to what the children do here and now about the what-God-wants, the purpose of God for the Creation that comes through the children here and now!
“We don’t know how to pray what is necessary or needed, so Holy Spirit Himself helps us with our limitations.” The groan of God enters the process here and now to help us give birth purpose here and now so that Providence – the involvement of God in history, people, events, and circumstances – working with and through the groaning children who are pregnant with purpose will give birth to purpose here and now.
There is what God is going to do to bring the whole of the universe to final, complete, eternal fullness and fulfillment – the ultimates – and there is what God is doing here and now to get what He wants in people, places, and seasons. There is never any contradiction between what God is doing ultimately and what God is doing locally in terms of time, place, and people. “All things work together.”
However, Creation groans for the children to be manifested because everything God wants in the Creation can only be birthed through His inheritors. Only through kingdom people called together in assembled assignment can the what-God-wants for a city, nation, generation be birthed. Children become pregnant with eternal purpose waiting for the ultimates, but these children are pregnant with purpose here and now that Paul says must be released through Spirit-assisted intercession. What we are pregnant with that is eternal produces here and now birthing of Divine purpose. This is part of the groan, part of the pathos, part of the enduring.
Some people see that the kingdom must accomplish a degree or a finishing of purpose before Father will send Jesus to finish and establish the ultimates. Some simply see that the process of groaning will do both. Pregnant with eternal purposes, we give birth periodically and locally to manifestations of eternal purpose here and now.
In other words, God never gives up on purpose. Purpose cannot be destroyed. God remains on the lookout for a people in a place with kingdom authority and assignment who can establish His purpose for that place in that generation. He never gives up on this possibility, so the pregnancy of purpose can produce birthing at any time. Not ultimate purpose perhaps, or better said, the fact that the birthing does not produce the ultimate does mean God won’t release any purpose! God doesn’t say, “Well, since these people cannot establish the ultimates, I suppose they shouldn’t establish anything.”
No! God continually works all things together – everywhere, every moment – for those with passion for His purpose who are the ordained, selected, positioned, and chosen!
The grip of God comes to identify those ready for pregnancy of purpose, to give birth to expressions of the DNA of Divine purpose, to manifest the hidden, preserved purposes of God for a city or nation, a people and generation.