In my last post we looked at the fact that God has subjected the whole of this creation to futility. This world, in fact this universe that we live in is basically futile for it will not last. And if there is one thing common to all mankind it is the desire for eternity.
God has put the idea of eternity and life forever into the mind of mankind but not so that he can actually achieve it. As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:11,
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
And so man has a problem. There is a constant tension and stress between what God has created and the futility of the creation because it will wear out, and man’s desire for eternity. These two forces clash within the hearts and minds of people and it is this stress, especially the fear of death in men and women that leads to the desire for a way out. And THAT is where the hope of salvation sits, bridging the gap between these two extremes and bringing peace into our hearts as we await the salvation of the Lord.
A Painful Waiting
Here in Romans 8:22-23 Paul describes this tension and the stress between these two extremes. He shows the pain of waiting that we suffer as we await the salvation of the Lord.
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.
The creation is in the pangs and pains of childbirth for what we see as we go through this life. It is a painful thing to realise that no matter what you do or what you achieve, in time it will all amount to nothing. A very few will have their names written in the history books as having done or achieved something worthy of note. But for the most of us it will be a life lived, remembered by a few for a few years after our passing and then forgotten as the generations roll on.
And many people worry about such an outcome when they stop and think about it. So many times we hear of people on their deathbeds who wish they could have or should have done or been something more.
In this world many seek a human solution to this issue. They look at things like cryogenic freezing to bring themselves back to life once man works out how to overcome death.
Others do their best to pass on what they can to their children in the hope that they will perpetuate their bloodline and their dreams and so go into eternity through their children and grandchildren.
What they do not understand is that there is no hope of eternity from this world. The only hope comes through Christ and the will of God.
There is another aspect to these scriptures mentioned above and that is the birth pangs.
Paul writes that this whole creation is groaning together in the pains of childbirth. He goes on to say that we who come to God and seek the salvation in Jesus Christ are the “first fruits” of this life.
The problem the world does not understand is that this world and this creation is just a beginning. It is a first taste of what is possible and of what God is promising to those who will seek Him out and come to Him.
This creation is doomed to wear out and will be rolled up and thrown away like an old garment, as we are told in Hebrews 1:10-12,
10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”
The Lord who created the heavens and the earth will continue forever, but the heavens and earth as we know them will cease to exist. They will wear out and be cast away like an old garment.
It may take many millions of years for this creation to finally wear out, but it will happen for the bible tells us so.
But as I said, this creation is just the first fruits, the birth pangs and a shadow of what the Lord has promised for His people. The aim of our short time here on earth is to seek God and seek His salvation for the promise He has made is the promise of eternity and a real and abiding hope for a positive future.
This creation is plagued with problems. Sickness, disease, death, debilitation and so on. Then there are the problems man makes for himself like war, anger, hatred, prejudice, arrogance, pride, wrath, drunkenness and all of the issues associated with sin and the darker side of humanity.
In the new heavens and earth which God will create after this one is done with, there will be none of these evil things to prevent man from doing what is good and seeking what is right. Plus there will be no death to prevent a person from exploring and seeking out all the mysteries of the universe that God has created.
Hope Of Salvation
And this is why these scriptures in Romans 8 are so valuable because they promise the hope of salvation that is to come and for which we wait patiently. Look at these words from verses 24-25.
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.
The hope in which we have been saved is the hope of salvation and that we will be adopted as the children of God and heir to all things in and on this earth with Jesus Christ. That is our hope and we hold fast to this hope because we know that we have a saviour who is willing and able to help us realise this hope. Not by our strength or power, but by the power of God working through the Holy Spirit and by the new covenant.
We currently do not see the salvation and we are doomed like all of mankind to go through the same sicknesses, illnesses, weaknesses and death in the body that the whole world goes through.
But in the spirit our lives are hidden with Christ who is seated at the right hand of God the Father. In Jesus Christ, who is our hope and our salvation, we await the adoption that we know by faith is coming. We recognise the futility of this world and all it contains, but we also know a better world awaits those who come to Christ.
And if we have to put up with all of the afflictions of this life while we are here, then so be it. Our spirit and our lives are in God’s hands and He will see us through until the time when we are fully redeemed from this life and enter into the next life free from all the encumbrances of human passion and sin.
This is the hope of salvation. This is the life we seek and look at from afar knowing that it will be upon us soon. This is the life and the promise of God to those who seek Him out and learn His ways.
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