Romans 8:18-25 (NRSV)
18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
As children of God, we apprehensively await full redemption. As co-heirs, we’re called to understand that redemption isn’t exclusively ours, it’s cosmic. God intends to restore everything! Therefore, all of creation is unified, eagerly awaiting deliverance from the corrosive decay of corruption, sin and death. Paul, expands the glory associated with adoption, extending it beyond humanity, applying it to all of creation.
Moreover, Paul urges us to see our sufferings as temporal and life as a refining glory. He speaks of the Spirit as a down payment, an assurance of our hope in the future fulfillment of God’s promises (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5).
In the present, the Spirit powerfully brings life out of death, death caused by enslavement to sin. In the future, the same Spirit will give life to the dead, in parallel to the raising of Christ (Rom 8: 11). Therefore, the Spirit is life because the Spirit transforms death into life. This life-giving Spirit is the chief agent of transformation and sustainer of hope.
Spirit, tangibly illuminate God’s presence within us and our world.