Sure Hope: Devotional Commentary for March 19-25
Romans 8:19-25 (NASB)
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
The Word of God for the Christian.
19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
As we noted in our last meditation, Paul encourages Christians to view present sufferings and temptations in the context of our future vindication secured for us in Jesus Christ and promised to us by God. Looking forward to our New Life with our Savior, we rejoice in our freedom from slavery. We rest assured in our position as children of God. We focus on God's promise of redemption as He continues to restore Adam's redeemed children to what He originally intended when He created Adam in His own image.
But Adam disregarded God's Law and made his own choice contrary to God's clear and direct instructions. Adam was condemned and creation was cursed because of him. Creation did not sin nor does it have the capacity to sin. But God subjected creation to curse and made it His agent for administering His judgment upon sinful man. Creation was no longer Adam's garden. It became a toilsome home and offered a life of affliction. But the One Who subjected creation to curse because of man, also gave it the Hope of deliverance through redemption. God is Just, Holy, and Righteous. But He is also Gracious and Merciful.
To be sure, not only the redeemed, but also creation yearns to be free from slavery to sin's curse. Creation in its entirety is anxiously waiting for the glorification of God's children, because with the redemption of God's children comes deliverance. Ultimately, the curse shall be lifted, because God has reconciled the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.
His redemptive intention has purposed to deliver creation from the curse of sin. Redemption is not confined just to rescuing individual perishing souls. Redemption is comprehensive. It is not merely about dodging the consuming fury of divine indignation. It is the complete and absolute enforcement of God's Law. It is the revelation of infinite Grace and boundless Mercy. It is the expression of God's Love. God shall restore creation to its original glory as it was spoken into existence. So creation yearns for that sure Hope of deliverance along with the redeemed of Christ.
22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
24For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
25But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
When God judged Adam for disregarding His Creator's Word, He pronounced the curse of sin upon creation to make it a fitting home for the condemned. Since judgment is not a life of ease and comfort, both sinful man and his cursed home desperately long to be free. And once God's redemption is revealed, both the redeemed and creation yearn in hope for the time when corruption is replaced by incorruption and the perishable gives way to the imperishable, just like a mother in labor who hopes to be delivered from pain when her baby is born.
As the redeemed of Christ, we have experienced the irresistible conviction and the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit even though we live and serve in creation that is still corrupt. However, since our salvation is by faith through Grace, we accept our redemption and anticipate its consummation in the Hope we have in Jesus Christ. The same Hope offers the assurance of creation's ultimate deliverance, because redemption is given by faith through Grace in Hope. It is this Hope in Christ which cultivates Christ's strength in us as we persevere by faith through Grace in Hope along with creation, which itself is anxiously waiting to be delivered from its groanings and sufferings under the curse of sin. Hence we persevere, knowing that what is in store for us in heaven diminishes the weight of our suffering here on earth. Our redemption is real because it is accomplished by Jesus Christ through His Death and His Resurrection.
As Christians, we are often puzzled by the unchanging conditions of life even for the believer. It is a source of chronic frustration for the believer who is separated out of the world but left in the world to live for Christ and serve God. We are at times angry at such exhortations as Paul's which counsel us to persevere. We want to harvest the benefits of our redemption here and now. These feelings are not unnatural, albeit based on self-induced false hopes. Being still cursed, the earth has nothing else to offer but adversities and hostile environment for living, even for Christian living.
The Bible speaks of three milestones that identify significant turning points in the life of the believer:
- First, except Adam and Eve, and Jesus the righteous and sinless man, (that is the Son of God born of virgin Mary), all men and women are physically born in sin from their sinful parents. Each one is born sinner, subject to condemnation.
- Second, when God graciously reaches down and touches the sinful heart of the lost with His irresistible Redemption, the sinner is delivered from condemnation and is given New Life in Christ. Salvation is initiated and accomplished by the Holy Spirit, sealing the sinner as redeemed, forever. The Spirit takes up residence in the heart of the redeemed as the surety for redemption.
- Third, the redemption of the believer is consummated when the child of God is resurrected from physical death in a glorified body to enjoy the full riches of eternal life secured by Jesus Christ and granted by God.
Likewise, the life of the child of God is partitioned into three distinct chapters:
- First, the duration between physical birth and the moment of conversion is characterized by darkness and hopeless existence. It is a life of depravity, oppression, and slavery to indulgence in sin. It is a godless life governed by unregenerate heart.
- Second, the time between conversion and physical death is a life guided by the Holy Spirit, the new Authority in residence in the heart of the believer. This is a transformed life which must be lived in perseverance by the Power and the Grace of God. It is a godly, holy, and righteous life which must be lived in creation which is still groaning under the curse of sin. But the Christian continues to press onward by faith through Grace in Hope.
- Third, following physical death, the believer shall be raised in glory to be restored to the original fellowship with God the Sovereign Creator and the Gracious Redeemer. This is the final and ultimate chapter. It is eternal and glorious.
So what we have now as believers is:
- a life of no condemnation,
- a position of being God's children,
- a glorious eternity with Christ.
These truths are revealed to us in the Scriptures so that our mind is renewed; our thoughts are transformed; and our perspective, completely changed. We must always be reminded that we have died out of our unregenerate past and are born anew into our redeemed life in Christ through His Death and His Resurrection. Our mind must be exercised by the Spirit of God through His living Word so that we view our life on earth with a transformed perspective, never forgetting that our vindication is future and eternal.
Two points of truth we must always keep in mind: Creation is still groaning under the curse of sin; and, we are redeemed from slavery to the same curse of sin. In the meantime, we must be consciously aware and prepared to face the challenges and privileges which shape our path through life, knowing that our destiny is secure and glorious. In other words, we must persevere by faith through Grace in Hope, because this corrupt earth is still our home, until our Lord comes in His Glory or takes us Home into His Glory. Born depraved but now favored without merit, we persevere till the end by faith through Grace in Hope; that is in Jesus Christ. He is our Keeper. His Father is our God and our Father. God is Sovereign, Gracious, and Awesome! We rest in His Redemption because our God is an Awesome God!