Summary: As Christians we can see the world physically decaying and spiritually degenerating with this sin. However, we do not need to be pessimistic, because we have a blessed hope. Brighter days indeed lie ahead for the whole creation.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the affect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water, and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope! Those animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them. If hope holds such power for unthinking rodents, how much greater should its effect be on our lives. (Today in the Word, May, 1990, MBI, p. 34)
Sin caused the creation to fall from its perfect state (vv. 19-22). As Christians we can see the world physically decaying and spiritually degenerating with this sin. However, we do not need to be pessimistic, because we have a blessed hope. Brighter days indeed lie ahead for the whole creation (Rev. 22:3), for a time is coming when the curse will be removed, and creation will be restored to its original splendor. We also will be resurrected with our glorified bodies, like the body Christ now has in heaven (I Cor. 15:25-28).
Paul says that our future glory with Christ will be so great that our present sufferings are insignificant in comparison (v. 8). Also this glory will be forever, while the suffering in this life is temporary.
Yes, God has cursed the physical creation as a part of His judgment on people for sin. Creation does not share in the provisions of grace. This deliverance will not be until the Millennium. Creation will experience groaning and travailing in birth pangs throughout this present age. As believers we have received the salvation of our souls, but we too groan in union with the groaning creation, as we wait to receive the redemption of our bodies and be fully like Him. Once we groaned in bondage, but now we groan in grace.
God has promised that a believer’s body will finally be delivered from sin, and those who have responded by faith to that promise have a confident expectation of that bodily redemption (Galatians 5:5). The redemption of the body (v. 23) obviously has not yet occurred, but is eagerly anticipated.
When I’m sick, and my body is literally groaning with pain, I have the blessed hope that one day my body will be delivered from the effects of sin. This should not only bring great comfort to me, but is something I can share with others who know the Lord and are experiencing pain in their bodies.