Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
In verse 19, Paul personified creation: it’s waiting eagerly; it’s subject to frustration; it’s waiting expectantly with hopefulness for the time when it will be liberated from bondage and decay; and it even groans with pains of childbirth.
What does all this mean? Why would Paul describe creation in such a way? I think it’s because Paul wanted us to capture the splendor—the wonder—of our current situation as children of God. Paul dazzles his readers by saying that our future glory is so great that even creation longs to see it! He wanted readers to grasp the truth of the situation: We are living as those who have been made alive in Christ.
Paul wanted believers to ponder the significance of what had been done —the reality that we have been saved! It’s no small matter; it has our future destiny clearly in its sights. The weight of this glorious salvation that we now have and will fully experience when Christ returns, is one that should boggle the mind. I think this is probably one reason why Paul described creation this way. He wanted readers to know that all of creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.
I think he also wanted us to understand the weight of sin. Sin is devastating—all of it. It’s not something we do with a wink and a smile; it should never be something we do with a blatant self-centered attitude. We should pray that we never get to the point where we shrug our shoulders and say as one man told me, “I’m forgiven” and just go about doing what our hearts desire. Sin is direct, willful disobedience to God; it’s a violation of His character. Ever since the first sin of Adam, all of mankind has suffered and been under its destructive power. That first sin not only changed us, but it had an impact on all of creation as well.
Take a moment and think about the profound wonder of the world we live in—of creation itself. You can go back to the Genesis account where we see God speaking the universe into existence. His Divine power, wisdom, and presence are clearly seen as bringing our world into existence out of nothing. Yet as wonderful as it was, it was Adam’s sin that changed everything. His sin affected not only himself and others who would follow, but the universe as a whole.
Thank God this is not the end of the story! Because of the saving work of Christ Jesus, we, along with all of God’s creation, can look forward to the day when all things will be made right. We can look forward knowing that this inaugurated kingdom of God will one day burst forth as we celebrate it’s consummation with the returning of Christ, a perfect universe where the children of God will live under the weight of Glory for eternity.
Remember that Paul’s intention was to encourage his readers. We have reason to be encouraged! This world—broken as it is—will one day be transformed together with us. There is a future glory—we’re not people without hope. No matter what comes our way, we can have confidence as we look forward to the new heaven and new earth that God promised. In the meantime, we can go forward with Christ into a world that desperately needs Him.
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.