It’s Quite A View!
Lord Jesus, I am prone to waver, to fall, and to need help. Therefore, my confidence is in You, the constant One.
Read Romans 8:18-30
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“How great is our God ﾅ how great is our God! All shall see how great, how great, is our God!” (Chris Tomlin).
Having clambered up Everest, we now reach its highest peak, one with a breathtaking view. As N. T. Wright says, “From the top of this hill you can see forever!” Paul now expands and applies his reflections to the whole cosmos. It is not just the human race that has been in bondage to the effects of sin and longs for deliverance, but the whole of the created order. The Old Testament image of birth pangs (Isa. 66; Mic. 4) describes God’s people awaiting the coming of the Messiah, but Paul now sees all creation (in J. B. Phillips’ memorable translation of v. 19) “straining on tiptoes” to see the new family of God finally restored.
The reason for this sense of anticipation is that we, God’s people, are the sign of the glory to come. In my garden, some flower beds are more exposed, others more sheltered; some receive the full sun, others for only part of the day. So some plants come into flower early, but they then show the glory that is to come later. This is the image of “firstfruits” that Paul employs (23). We are like the corner of the farmer’s field that has ripened first and is a sign of what is to come. As we allow the Spirit of God to shape us into holiness, we represent the best future for humanity, not removed from the world, but restored in a renewed creation.
As before, however, Paul is clear that this is a work in progress; although we have had a taste of God’s glory, we, too, “groan inwardly” (23) as we await the fulfillment of the promise. God works all this “for the good” (28), not in terms of our individual circumstances, but in terms of his plan for all creation.
What would your corner of the creation look like in God’s plan of renewal? How is your life modeling the best that is yet to come?
Blessed Lord Jesus, I look to You today. You are the beginning and the end, the way, the truth, the life. Lead me, I pray.
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