Janet Smith – June 13, 2021 ©gardenministries.org
Romans 5:1-5 (CSB) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:5: “disappoint” in Greek: kataischuno: dishonor, humiliate, frustrate, disgrace, shame, put to utter confusion.
What are we hoping for? We HOPE for the glory of God and this glory comes as the out-poured Love of God like we’ve never experienced it before. The big surprise or unveiled mystery is that the glory of God’s out-poured Love comes through the bride of Jesus who has grown up into Christ’s headship and has Him fully formed within her!
Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God has appeared [Greek: epiphainó (ep-ee-fah’-ee-no): shined upon], bringing salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing [Greek: epiphaneia (ep-if-an’-i-ah): manifestation and shining forth] of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people for his own possession (costly, treasured, select, specially chosen, prized), [who are] eager (boiling over with passion) to do good works. 15 Proclaim these things; encourage and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Colossians 1:27 (CSB) God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The Titus 2:13 “blessed hope” is the shining forth of the glory of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The mystery of this blessed hope is that not only is Jesus going to one day come physically and visibly “in the clouds” (Matthew 24:30), He is also coming and shining forth “physically” through His purified bride who has made herself ready and has Christ fully formed within her. She will rise and shine when His Light comes to her and when the Holy Spirit bursts forth the Father’s Love from within her. Isaiah 60:1-3 tells us this will happen during a time of deep darkness and harvest.
What is the glory of God we hope for? His glory is the out-poured Love of God in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The glory of God that we hope for is when the Holy Spirit bursts open from within a ready people and shines forth God’s Love in fullness (Romans 5:2-5, Colossians 1:27, Titus 2:13).
Who supplies this Love that won’t dishonor or disappoint us? Romans 5:5 says “the Holy Spirit.”
What are we waiting for and why do we have to wait? We are waiting for Christ to be fully formed within us as the death-to-self process makes way for the Holy Spirit to release the fullness of God’s Love within His holy and blameless vessels. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are given a portion—a deposit of God’s LOVE—especially as we experience His peace and grace through the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying process. But we do not yet have the fullness of God’s out-poured Love as Romans 5:5 promises.
Ephesians 1:4 (CSB)) For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him
Ephesians 1:4 describes God’s eternal purpose in creating us. His purpose is for us to walk “holy and blameless in love before him.” We were created to be fully occupied and possessed by the Holy Spirit Who always exudes the radiant glory of God’s Love. The key word to remember here is “holy.” The Holy Spirit within us groans and labors within us to make us holy, set apart, blameless vessels in which He can burst forth the fullness of God’s Love. John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Though we may not yet walk in the fullness of God’s love, the hope for the glory of God releases the grace and peace we need to get there. The Romans 5:5 and Titus 2:11-13 hope promises a grace to be cleansed and an outcome that will not frustrate, dishonor, or disappoint us. Why? Because God’s love, the Father’s perfect love, has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given us.
It is impossible for the Father’s Love to disappoint us. Rather, we will be instantly healed when He pours Himself out like this in our hearts. We need faith to believe for more than what we currently know of the Love of God. We have the down payment to point us to the fulfillment. This means there is a portion but not yet the fullness of our inheritance described in Ephesians 1:11-14. The fulfillment is the glory that our hope is holding on to in faith for more.
Ephesians 1:11-14 (CSB) In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory. 13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.
The riches of our glorious inheritance in Christ Jesus is this: God’s Love through the Holy Spirit fully released and bursting forth in full measure within a matured and ready bride. Rooted and firmly established in His love, we are empowered to comprehend its explosive magnitude, far beyond our human capacity to know it in our own strength or mind.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (CSB) For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit,17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us — 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen
Do we yet have this full measure of God’s Love bursting forth within us? Perhaps not. But we are fervently hoping for this full measure of God’s Love. We are pressing into Jesus with our all to obtain His full measure and stature formed within us. He must increase. We must decrease. If we want to see the Love of God ever-increasing from within, we cannot underestimate the power of forgiveness and unconditional love.
To the degree I will not forgive—the most basic feature of God’s Love—is to the degree that I will not know His Love and forgiveness for me. I need all the Love of God I can get. I need the Love of God to endure hardship and, like Paul, to “boast of our afflictions.” I need to forgive and forget the past and press on toward the upward call in Christ. I can’t really press on if I’m bogged down in self-pity and unforgiveness.
What is keeping us from full access to our heavenly spiritual blessings and from the release of God’s Love in full measure? Whatever is still empowering the dark powers of middle heaven to block us from entering in to it. Why do these dark powers have power over us? Didn’t Christ defeat them on the cross? The short answer is Yes, Christ defeated them on the cross. The long answer is, by growing up into Christ, we are ascending in faith and patience UNTIL we reach unity in the faith and obtain to the full stature of Christ (Ephesians 4).
As we grow up into Him Who is our Head, we will displace those wicked rulers of the air. We will walk with God under an open heaven with full access to our heavenly spiritual blessings. We need to be given the keys (i.e., the authority) to open doors that no one can shut. These keys go to those who are willing to undergo the process of becoming holy and blameless before God in love.
Picture God’s Heaven. Picture Earth. Picture the spiritual air in between God’s heaven and our earth. The spiritual area in between God’s heaven and our earth, we call “middle heaven.” Some call it “the second heaven.” It is the spiritual area of “high places” where the “ruler of the power of the air” occupies until this area is fully cleansed and Satan is cast out.
Revelation 12:7-9 (CSB) Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels also fought, 8 but he could not prevail, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was thrown out — the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. He was thrown to earth, and his angels with him
Ephesians 2:2 (CSB) …in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient.
Ephesians 6:12 (CSB) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens (i.e., “spiritual wickedness in high places” KJV).
Between God’s dwelling in the heavenlies and us on earth, there’s a war zone. This is where every attempt to keep us from breaking through and God establishing an open heaven is resisted by the wickedness still occupying those places.
We may ask, “Didn’t Jesus defeat them on the cross?” Yes! He absolutely did.
Colossians 2:15 (NIV) And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Ephesians 1:19-23 (CSB) He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens — 21 far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
Then what’s the holdup? What are we waiting for? Ah yes. This is the point of the journey. We are waiting UNTIL we all grow up!
Ephesians 4:12b-15 (CSB)) to build up the body of Christ, 13 UNTIL we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head — Christ.
Once we grow up into Him who is the head—Christ, the enemy will be fully under our feet because our feet are fully in Christ and we walking in union with Him because we are fully surrendered to His leadership. We are completely dependent on God in every aspect of our life. We no longer walk with one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom. We are fully invested in seeking first the kingdom and righteousness of God. We are separated into Christ and becoming holy and blameless before Him in Love by the inworking of the Holy Spirit within us.
Romans 8:5-9 (CSB) For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. 6 Now the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mindset of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you…14 For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.
Every time we say “NO” to sin, the flesh, and the devil, and say “YES” to Jesus, we are engaging with the Holy Spirit’s work to bring us into matured sonship. Our “YES” to Jesus means we are fighting to grow up and overcome the powers of the air that seek to keep us immature and incomplete in Christ.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions — is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.
The wicked rulers in high places are trying to stop us from maturing in Christ and inheriting the fullness of God’s out-poured love [the glory] by keeping us distracted and dependent on their earth-born worldly solutions. As mentioned before: Yes, Jesus defeated every wicked ruler of darkness on the cross and put them under His feet. The evil powers still operating from middle heaven are left for us to overcome. In Judges 3, we see God leaving enemies in the land to teach future generations how to fight His battles and overcome.
Judges 3:1-4 (CSB) These are the nations the Lord left in order to test all those in Israel who had experienced none of the wars in Canaan. 2 This was to teach the future generations of the Israelites how to fight in battle, especially those who had not fought before.
The hope for the glory means that we choose to let the Holy Spirit do His work and grow us up into Christ. We want to be freed from our attraction to the world and delivered from the lusts of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life’s possessions. More than anything or anyone, we want nothing to separate us from first love for Jesus in everything. We rid ourselves of every hindrance and shed every encumbrance.
Revelation 12:11 (CSB) They conquered him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; for they did not love their lives to the point of death.
God’s love is always reverberating from Him toward us. He is for us. And yet we do not feel God’s Love like we hope to feel it and know it. Even though God’s very nature reverberates His Love toward humanity, the evil powers of the air are resisting us. They are resisting us being able to connect with God’s love and grow up into the fullness in Christ.
The dark powers of middle heaven cast their dark lies upon people. They seek to undermine God’s word and His promises. They try to steal our faith and wear down our hope during the seasons of enduring. As the hardship of training and discipline goes on and on, these wicked rulers exploit any delay and relentlessly accuse God, telling us He doesn’t Love us like He says He does. But when we choose to bow and wait, and believe what God has said, no matter what is going on, we dis-empower these spirits and the middle heaven veil becomes thinner and weaker. The very attack sent against us is used to bring God’s answers because we are warring with them and overcoming them with faith in the truth of God’s word and through patience.
Whenever we give in to these lies, we literally shoot ourselves in the foot and steal from ourselves because every lie we believe empowers the veil of darkness to thicken. Our refusal to grow up keeps the veil empowered and is part of why we feel separated from the glory of God’s Love bursting forth from within. The Holy Spirit bursts forth within mature sons. Romans 8:35-39 assures us that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ—the love of God that is in Him. We can purpose to believe and obey God and declare to middle heaven the truth of Romans 8 over our lives.
Romans 8:16-19, 35-39 (CSB) The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs — heirs of God and coheirs with Christ — if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed… 35 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.