Eagerly Expecting — an Overcomer’s Trait
This article concerning the Greek word, apekdechomai (referring to an enthusiastic expectation of a coming event) is centered on the outlook that will characterize “overcoming” Christians. Scripture speaks of the opportunity of a Christian progressing to the status of an “overcomer” in various ways throughout the New Testament; and also, defines the benefit of this achievement, but never as direct as the following passage:
Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Revelation 3:11, 12)
It is assumed that the reader has a biblical understanding of what is to be an “overcomer” as is depicted by the Word of God, which is a Christian living a righteous life (who indeed is “filled with” [controlled by] the Holy Spirit [Ephesians 5:18], who walks “in Jesus by faith” [Colossians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:7]) that will result in the “salvation of his soul” at Christ’s Judgment Seat, a determination that will result in his inclusion in the “Bride of Christ,” allowing him to reign and rule alongside Christ during the Messianic Era — the thousand year millennial reign of Christ over the earth.
Should the reader not have an understanding of “soul-salvation,” it is recommended that he read Salvation of the Soul by Arlen L. Chitwood, a book that may be found in its entirety at the link, http://bibleone.net/SOS.htm, a portion of the website, www.bibleone.net.
(To avoid any rash misconception [jumping to an incorrect assumption] regarding the author’s view of the doctrine of redemption of man, the author of this article affirms an unswerving belief that the foundation of salvation for mankind is anchored in the grace-gift from God, the work of Christ on the cross of Calvary, which may only be obtained by faith in Christ. Furthermore, the author of this article affirms unswervingly that once a person obtains salvation by faith in Christ, such can never be retracted or nullified by man or God.
Having stated this, the reader should also understand that Scripture presents man as a tripartite being, consisting of spirit, soul, and body [1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12], and indicates that each portion/aspect of man may ultimately achieve salvation in a different manner and/or time frame. Such is made clear in the previous recommended book reference.)
The Greek word, apekdechomai (Strong No. 553), a composite word (575, 1551), means to “expect fully, eagerly (enthusiastically, excitedly, fervently, etc.) look or wait for (something).” Within the New King James Version of the Bible (NKJV), and when referring to the degree of expectation that should characterize a devoted Christian regarding an important facet of Christian life, the word is translated “eagerly.” It represents an attitude that will dominate, transfix, and fervently fascinate a person each day of his life.
There are five passages of Scripture that utilize six verses, which use the Greek word, apekdechomai, designating one who is “eagerly waiting” for a specific event, a condition that should characterize every Christian — and most certainly will if one is to be an “overcomer.” But what is truly exceptional regarding these various passages is that they all speak of the same unique expectation — the fruition of one’s soul-salvation.
The passages follow (note: the translation of apekdechomai in each passage has been enlarged and highlighted by the author of this article):
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
1 Corinthians 1:4-8
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,
that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,
even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,
so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Philippians 3:20, 21
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Hebrews 9:27, 28
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
These passages of Scripture reveal the eager anticipation by Christian overcomers for the return of Jesus Christ, an event that will conclude their educational (child-training) process by and through the Word of God, resulting in their adoption as firstborn sons of God, possessing the right to occupy positions of power and authority alongside Christ in His millennial kingdom, the restoration of their part in the purpose (regality) for man’s creation, thus, the salvation of their souls.
To fully understand that which Christian overcomers now eagerly anticipate (i.e., their coming firstborn status), it is recommended that the reader access God’s Firstborn Sons, a work by Arlen L. Chitwood, which may be viewed in its entirety at the following internet link: http://bibleone.net/GFS.htm – a small portion of which follows:
God presently has two firstborn Sons — Christ (Hebrews 1:6) and Israel (Exodus 4:22, 23). Christ is God’s firstborn Son through procreation (John 3:16), and Israel is God’s firstborn son through adoption (Romans 9:4). And God is about to bring into existence a third firstborn son through adoption — the Church (Romans 8:14, 15, 19, 23).
“Sonship” implies rulership. Only “sons” hold regal positions in God’s kingdom — past, present, or future. That’s the way God established matters in the beginning, and that which God has established in this respect never changes.
Angels alone (sons of God because of creation) have ruled throughout God’s kingdom in time past (both over this earth and elsewhere in the universe). But, with man’s creation — an entirely new order in the universe, an individual created in God’s image, after His likeness — a change in the order of rulers within God’s government was made known. Man was created for regal purposes (Genesis 1:26-28); and, though sin subsequently entered, resulting in a ruined creation (Genesis 3:1ff), God did not and will not change His mind concerning the reason He brought man into existence (Romans 11:29).
The whole of man’s salvation has this high end in view, whether salvation past (the spiritual birth, presently possessed by all Christians) or salvation present and future (the saving of the soul, not presently possessed by Christians but awaiting realization). Man has been, is being, and is about to be saved for a revealed regal purpose.
A new order of “sons” is about to be brought forth (Romans 8:19; cf. Hebrews 2:5). And only then will God’s purpose for man’s creation (in the beginning) and His reason for man’s subsequent salvation (following his ruin) be realized.
Christian overcomers have the most exciting and fulfilling future ahead of them. It is no wonder that each day of their temporal existence is overflowing with a most eager anticipation of coming events.