How about some more good news as we continue through Romans 8. I tell you what, if you are ever down, this is the chapter to read.
We see Paul begin with distinguishing between believers and unbelievers. Believers are children of God. Unbelievers aren’t. Now, before you begin to think this gives believers a reason to look down upon anybody, we must remember our original state – condemned by our own actions – and the reason for our forgiveness – the unmerited mercy of God. In fact, this understanding should humble us. We are no better than anyone, including the skid row drunkard or the meth addict prostitute next to him. No, we have no room to boast whatsoever.
However, that should not keep our faces permanently in the ground because God has other things in store for us. How can we sing praises to God without raising our heads and voices – even our hands? Yes, there are times when we need to be on our faces, but there are other times when we need to rejoice. Indeed, this is necessary because we are no longer who we once were. We are a new creation within creation. Something big has happened; something the entire universe has been longing for.
Romans 8:18-25 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing 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 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 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. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with praise.
My, that was a mouthful, and there are lots of ways we can go with this. For now, try to pick out the fact that the entire universe has been waiting, no, longing, for God to reveal his redeemed sons and daughters in Christ. Everything, and I mean everything, is so sick of man’s sin and longs for things to be made right. Part of that right is the redemption of his adopted children. Believers. We think of the second coming of Christ as something to look forward to, and it is, but I read, here, that creation itself is looking forward to each believer being revealed. Folks, I don’t think we appreciate how big of a deal this is. You and I look forward to the first signs of spring and the first flowers. Creation looks forward to a completely different type of change – and one of the first signs is the emergence of believers.
Now, this may all seem very strange. Could you and I, believers, be evidence of things the universe has been looking for? Something terrible happened in the Garden of Eden. It wasn’t simply a bite of an apple. It unleashed decay that covered everything. Try to get a sense of this. Picture it in your mind. I envision a spiritual darkness like black mold that creeps and covers everything. It’s not hidden yet nothing can be so hidden as to escape it. And the whole of creation knows that it has happened and longs for freedom. Can you imagine this?
Creation longs for freedom from the bondage to decay and looks for the first signs of this – in the glory of the children of God. We are the first in all of creation to be set free and everything knows it! You and I both know that born-agains stand out. Everyone knows that they are different. Yes, most people do not like the change, but, according to this passage, the whole of creation is longing for them! I think we need to stop and let that really sink in. In us, God Almighty is making a change that the entirety of creation has been waiting for. Someday, perhaps even today, he will have gathered all he is going to gather and will set us aside while he remakes heaven and earth just for us.
Until then, we watch for signs of spring.
Now, one last thing on this passage. Notice what God has given to each of us – the firstfruits of the Spirit. As we see in our bibles, the firstfruits are the best of the best that are sacrificed to God. We know little of this today, but to the Hebrews it was a big deal. The best of the best was given, gladly, as an offering to God. What do we read here, in Romans? We read that God gave US the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit. The FIRSTFRUITS! Not only did Jesus give himself as a sacrifice for us, but God gives us the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit that are now living inside of us.
That, my fellow believers, is your position in the Kingdom. And you are worried about the cares of this world? Instead, you have every reason to sing from the rooftops about the glory of God and his Son. See the beauty of the holiest. Throw yourself into the sea in your excitement to embrace Jesus.
John 21:7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.
Maybe it’s time for a wholesale change of attitude. The gospel isn’t just for those who don’t believe. It’s also for those who already do. It’s good news for everyone, all the time.
Father, keep it coming! Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers
Photo courtesy of @andrewfs