MANIFESTATION of SONS of GOD
NOW or LATER?
BY: JOHN R. GAVAZZONI
The following was an answer given by John R. Gavazzoni to a question asked about the manifestation of the sons of God, whether it is now or to come.
It is rare that I receive a question as lucidly stated as yours was. I congratulate you on getting to and summing up the difference of the two major perspectives concerning the manifestation of the sons of God. I should hasten to say that, by and large, though the two primary positions have been taken and stated quite emphatically and with a rather aggressive opposition toward each other, the differences of opinion have been maintained without personal rancor and with the desire to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
In a recent conference in which a well known brother and I both ministered, this tension of perspective indirectly raised its head slightly with him and I somewhat representing the two positions, yet I can honestly say that we were mutually edified by one another’s presentations. Brother Bruce (not his real name) commended my explanation of what is commonly known as “the finished work of Christ,” while adding what he felt was a needful adjustment or supplement. I cannot begin to tell you how great is my respect and love for this brother and others who have been among God’s pioneers in the so-called “kingdom message,” including the centrality of the manifestation of the sons of God and of the full inclusivity of the gospel.
As is often the case when a restoration of truth is in process, there is a transitional period from the old to the new, or in this case I should say older to newer, which is complicated by the fact that some dear ones who may have been doubtlessly impacted by genuine revelation, may not necessarily excel in the gift of structuring and explaining the same conceptually.
Also the graciousness and congeniality of the personalities involved comes across much better in person than in print. After receiving brother Bruce’s lessons for years, and profiting immeasurably from them, I was struck, upon hearing and meeting him in person for the first time, with the overflowing grace of the man, which is less manifest in his writings.
Having said that, let’s get to the matter at hand. No more than a minute or so after reading your e-mail, I was apprehended, as I have been many times before, with a principle that is so very germane to this issue. That is, that the manifestation of the sons of God – as is the case with the resurrection – must first be understood as a quality of being or life, before we seek to understand it in terms of an event. In fact, in regard to the resurrection, Jesus seemed to almost rebuke Martha for reducing resurrection to a future event while He confronts her with the truth that He IS the resurrection. Our Lord IS that quality of Being and Life that when subjected to death and descending into its bowels, overcomes death and rises out of it in complete victory. That’s what He does because that’s what He is. THE resurrection is not an event essentially; THE resurrection is essentially Christ, Himself.
Likewise, the manifestation of the sons of God is what the sons of God ARE. Their manifestation is the manifestation of their Father. Manifestation is intrinsic to sonship. The Son(s) is/are the manifestation of the Father, and it is impossible to be a son of God and not be manifesting Him. Now, to be sure, since Christ is not only life, but eonian life; that is, the very Life of God abiding in and pertaining to the age(s), we must expect that all that our Father God is in His sons will have an eventful dimension in the space-time continuum. The problem is that we are inclined to see the event-dimension as someTHING that will happen someDAY. But what God is in His sons is always present and dynamic, breaking forth in manifestation as an unbroken chain of life, and not as separated links. Another metaphor, more scriptural is that of a river. God, in Christ, in the Spirit, in us is a river of life flowing out of our inner most being and is the same river that gushed forth at Pentecost and is even now flowing out of the inner man of the sons of God.
Does this mean that there is no final consummation in the manifestation of the sons of God, nothing to look forward to? Definitely not! We should rightfully look forward to God consummating what He is presently doing and completely confirming through the sons of God, our Elder Brother’s victory over sin and death and all that death includes universally. But an important principle is revealed in Jesus’ words, “The hour is coming and now is… “ Did you get that? There is a coming hour, and yet, that hour, is now. The river is right here where we are now and it is the same river up ahead.
Now, frankly, I have some disagreement with both sides, but it doesn’t hinder me from having rich fellowship with brethren on both sides. My disagreement with one position has to do with what has been called the “appropriation” of the finished work of Christ (which is the larger issue in considering the manifestation of the sons of God). My understanding of Paul’s revelation is that what God has done in Christ is utterly complete including its “appropriation,” that is, if one must use the word, “appropriation.” The fullness of Deity has already been appropriated by Christ, in whom dwells the fullness of Deity, bodily. His “appropriation” is ours too, in Him. There is nothing lacking in the Son’s reception of the fullness of God, thus nothing lacking in ours since we are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.” But “appropriation” is a misnomer because the bodily fullness of Deity resides in Christ not because of an appropriation of Christ’s part, but because of the relationship of the Oneness which is His with the Father, which we share in Christ. That fullness is what the faith of Christ is rooted in. Rather than Christ’s faith appropriating the fullness of Deity, it (His faith) proceeds from that fullness, the fullness of God which is His by eternal generation, a fullness of Oneness in which He rests, in which He trusts and has complete confidence. The fullness of Deity has been already eternally (and in the eon) received by the Son from the Father and Christ’s reception of the same is not a matter of independent choice of reception. The very quality and impetus of the Father’s gift of Himself to His Son becomes the impetus of, and constitutes the Son’s reception of His Father’s fullness. This we have already in Christ and there is not any requirement of an independent action of “appropriation” that must occur before the manifestation of the sons of God will be a reality.
On the other hand, I disagree with dear brethren saying, as individuals, “I am Christ” and basing that affirmation on the truth that we have received the “anointing” (the Christing, we might say). There is no individual son who is the equivalent of “the Christ.” As the fullness of God is in Christ, the fullness of Christ is resident corporately in His body, the church (not the institutional organization), of which we are members. No one individual is the whole body, obviously, but the whole body is called Christ by Paul – “As the body is many members and the many members are one body, so also is Christ,” “…the church which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.”
Some dear ones who have been energized in spirit by the revelation of Christ have not yet had their mind disciplined along certain lines. Their premise is that “the anointing” is Christ, and since they “have an anointing from the Holy One,” this entitles them to say, “I am Christ.” Their intention is to fully affirm their identity with Christ – I understand that, but they do so amiss. The Christ is not the anointing, He is the Anointed. The Christ has the fullest possible anointing of God genetically by eternal generation without measure. We, individually, as members of His body, have the anointing in a measure, but as members of one body together, corporately, we in relationship to the Head and to one another, possess the full measure of the fullness of Deity. (forgive my redundant style of expression) This is so obvious from the epistles of Paul and John that it boggles the mind that it can be misconstrued. I cannot emphasize too much that what we have in Christ, we have as a corporate unity, not as mere individual body members. It has been my experience that unconscious insecurity makes one vulnerable to making grandiose statements in an unconscious attempt to dispel one’s insecurity.
In summation: The manifestation of the sons of God is a matter of “has been, is, and will be.” That manifestation is increasingly realized, not by awaiting a future event, but as our corporate identity, Christ Himself, dawns upon us. In the words of Paul, to “know as we are known.” Expectation of and predictions concerning eschatological events do not have a good track record historically, and they invariably set us up for disillusionment.
If there are things that you’d like me to clarify in my response to your excellent question, please feel free to write again. God bless you and may you be blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus as, indeed, you are.
In His grace,
MANIFESTATION of SONS of GOD – NOW or LATER? [John R. Gavazzoni] 1