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Creation Groans

March 12, 2007

Romans 8:18-25:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

I’ve been listening to John Piper preach on suffering from Romans 8, and its been very good.  I was thinking today . . . those of us in climates in which there is a winter get to watch a yearly renewal of the earth as spring arrives.  I think I can speak for just about everyone when I say that we all long for spring to arrive.  Right now, everything is dead.  The trees are bare, or have dead leaves.  The ground is brown and lifeless.  We are all waiting for the redemption of creation which is the spring, when everything bursts forth with life.  Flowers bloom, trees blossom, and the ground becomes green again.  The best part is that this is all under a month away.  No wonder we anticipate it!

Now, think about what Paul says here.  The creation as a whole suffers now.  It is under a curse.  It is like the dead of winter – that part without snow before the springtime.   The part we all hate.  It groans.  We wait eagerly for our new bodies.  We wait for the glory that will be revealed to us – the glory of a new creation, one that will dwarf what we now know.

No one likes the dead winter.  It grates on everyone after a while.  Right now, we all know spring is coming.  We just need to patiently wait.  What an awesome picture of God’s renewing activity  in creation as a whole?  Ever since the fall, creation has been plunged into futility – a groaning in which bodies break down into sickness, a time in which we are broken.  We cannot serve God as we ought.  We suffer pain, sickness, and ultimately death.  However, the spring is coming!  We need to patiently wait, as Paul says, for we hope in something that we do not yet see.

Right now, I can’t see the oncoming spring.  There are few signs that anything is changing except a few early buds on the trees.  But even here, we see another picture of God’s kindness in his fallen creation: for is not the spring’s return like seeing a flower blossom in the midst of a seemingly futile creation?  God is working!  He is on the move, and despite the suffering in this world, spring will come!  God will renew his creation, and as John Piper has been pointing out on his Desiring God Radio podcast, we are going to need new bodies to be able to take it all in!  Our current bodies are NOT going to be good enough.  Praise God!

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