Human beings are not alone in their suffering. We tend to focus on how people are affected by sin in the world. If we take time to look around us, we would realize that the world that God has created is marred by sin’s devastation.
In a previous post I explained how the current pain we endure seems light in comparison to the glory that is to come for those who trust in Christ. This verse is like the “thesis” of this section of Scripture (Romans 8:18-30) and the inspiration for this website.
The devastation that sin has created is not just limited to human beings. The devastation of sin has affected the world around us. The world around, in every way, has been corrupted. The suffering we endure has also been set on the world.
We’ll look at this text:
For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly, but because of him who subjected it — in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now.
Here’s what I want you to take away today:
God’s creation waits to be set free from present bondage into future freedom, and only through Jesus can the world experience everlasting redemption.
Creation Waits To Be Set Free From Bondage
Verse 19 simply states that the “creation eagerly waits” for the return of Jesus, ending with the redemption of his children. So, quite simply, the world is waiting for Christ come back, as he has promised, to make all things new.
The world is waiting for all things to be made new, including itself. The world is personified in verse 19 to help communicate that just as we are painfully waiting, the world also eagerly waits for what’s to come.
Now, the questions to be asked are: Why is the world waiting? Is there a reason for Scripture to phrase it in this way?
You’ll find the answers in the following two verses. Romans 8:20-21a says that all of creation was forced into “futility” (uselessness/hopeless), in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay.” The world is waiting because sin has enslaved the world in disarray and ruin. Creation has been in bondage from our sin and has caused massive damage to how God created it to run.
Famine, drought, earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc. These are only a few examples of large scale disasters the world endures on its own. Also, don’t forget about the damage we do to the world. Just think for a minute about how the creation suffers each and every day as it longs for freedom from the bondage of sin wrecking havoc.
So, what’s the creation waiting for to be set free them from bondage into freedom?
Future Freedom Through Jesus’ Everlasting Redemption
The very end of verse 21 says that the creation is waiting for “glorious freedom of God’s children.” This freedom speaks of the redemption of all things, God’s children andcreation. The creation waits for the freedom of God’s children because it ultimately signifies that God has started the process of bringing all things to it’s created design.
As the creation waits for this freedom from bondage, verse 22 tells us that the waiting period will be painful.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now.
Until that moment of glorious freedom, the whole creation is “groaning together with labor pains.” While I have never and never will give birth, I can only speak of what I have heard and seen myself: labor pains are not enjoyable!
The creation, which at one time was perfect and peaceful, is now waiting with a kind of pain that does not get easier until its over. Until God’s sons are set free and the creation is set free, there will be unending pain. The creation groans for the labor pains to end.
Just like childbirth, there is an end. There is a hope of new life.
Jesus, who live without sin, died in our place, rose from the grave, and ascended into heaven, promised his disciples that he would return to save God’s children and make all things new (John 14:1-3, Hebrews 9:28, Revelation 21:5).
Jesus, our only Savior and Redeemer, promised that the labor pains would end. The pain is real and severe, but there is hope that there will come a day when creation and his children will experience freedom from sin and everlasting redemption.
As I was studying this passage I cam across a piece of Scripture and this quote from R.C. Sproul, so I thought I’d end with this:
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58
“That is the hope of the gospel, that our pain is not meaningless. Our toil is not futile. Every ounce of effort we expend in this world, every tear that falls across our cheek, it’s not meaningless.” – R.C. Sproul