Saturday 15 February 2014

Bible Book:
Romans

Romans 8:18-30 Saturday 15 February 2014


Background

Suddenly the breadth of Paul's vision has been expanded beyondhuman beings to the whole of creation. It is no longer simply humanbeings that will be set free from the sphere of sin and death, butall of creation. He uses the image of the labour pains of givingbirth to a child to describe the sufferings of creation and humanbeings together (verse 22). But as always with this image, there isthe promise of life after the pain.

Paul is describing for us the tension that exists for someonewho is living in the Holy Spirit between the two spheres of thepresent world, which is decaying, and the hope of what is yet tocome. He is recognising that even if we have chosen to life in thesphere of Christ, the sphere of the Spirit, the realities of thisworld are still all around us. In particular we can see howcreation itself and our bodies which are part of this creation aresubject to decay. But just as the humans and creation are linked inthis process of decay there is also a link between the final end ofhuman beings and creation. According to Paul, when the children ofGod are revealed, the whole of creation will also be redeemed. Inother words, all of creation will enter fully into the sphere oflife and grace.

But this passage is primarily concerned with encouraging thosewho want to follow Christ in the face of sufferings and setbacks inthe meantime. It recognises the weaknesses of some of his listenerswho don't even know how to pray (verse 26). For those who seelittle purpose in their struggles he reassures them of a largerpurpose behind it all. There is here an exhortation to hope andfaith reminiscent of that found in Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the assurance ofthings hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."


To Ponder

  • Do you agree with Paul that the sufferings of this time are notworth comparing with what is to come?
  • What does this passage teach us, if anything, about ourrelationship and responsibility to the environment?
  • How do you pray?
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