Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sunday Knox: Romans 8:18-23

Not that I count these present sufferings as the measure of that glory which is to be revealed in us. If creation is full of expectancy, that is because it is waiting for the sons of God to be made known.  Created nature has been condemned to frustration; not for some deliberate fault of its own, but for the sake of him who so condemned it, with a hope to look forward to;[3] namely, that nature in its turn will be set free from the tyranny of corruption, to share in the glorious freedom of God’s sons.  The whole of nature, as we know, groans in a common travail all the while.[4] And not only do we see that, but we ourselves do the same; we ourselves, although we have already begun to reap our spiritual harvest, groan in our hearts, waiting for that adoption which is the ransoming of our bodies from their slavery.

Knox Notes:
[3] ‘Him who so condemned it’; this is ordinarily understood of God, but it is hard to see the force of this interpretation. It is perhaps better to take it of Adam, as St Chrysostom does.

[4] vv. 18-22: The word here translated ‘creation’ or ‘created nature’ probably means creation as a whole. St Paul, with something of a poetic outlook, sees the struggle for survival in nature as a proof of its dumb aspiration towards that more perfect creation which is to come; the agony of its frustrated striving is the birth-pang of a new order (cf. Mt. 24.8; Jn. 16.21). Others interpret ‘creation’ as referring to human nature; in which case ‘we ourselves’ in verse 23 must be understood of the apostles, or of Christians as opposed to those who live according to nature.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.  For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

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