Read: Romans 8:18-30
Who hopes for what he sees? (v. 24)
It’s important that our faith and hope are personal. But it’s a mistake if our faith and hope are only personal. Christian hope is not just “I get to go to heaven when I die.” Christian hope is much larger than that.
Our ultimate hope is not that we float among the clouds as disembodied spirits. Our hope is in God’s new creation: we will inhabit a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21) when our bodies are raised with Christ (1 Corinthians 15). For centuries, Christians have confessed belief in the resurrection of the body. In Romans 8, one of Paul’s most intricate yet memorable passages, he speaks of creation groaning in the pains of childbirth as we wait for adoption. I don’t understand all of what Paul means when he puts birth and adoption together, but it’s clear this is cosmic. It’s not just me and Jesus, it’s the whole of creation.
Like any birth, the birth of the new creation will be painful. Paul speaks of the “sufferings of this present time” (v. 18), and when I think of our deep political polarization, racial unrest, concerns about the climate, and a myriad of other problems, I believe these are the sorts of things Paul is addressing. Something new, something different, something better—which cannot be seen—is being born. What exactly is it? What will it look like? The answers to these questions are mysteries. Paul says, “We wait for it with patience” (v. 25). Can we? —Jeff Munroe
As you pray, ask God for comfort, patience, and wisdom.
About the Author
Jeff Munroe is the editor of the Reformed Journal and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.