Summary: Part 4 of 5 in a series on our identity in Christ based on the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8.
INTRODUCTION: What are your favorite toys, yes we all have toys, even the adults… though they may be slow to admit it. As a kid my favorite toys were Transformers, I just thought they were awesome; in fact they ranked right up there with my Hot Wheels and G.I Joe’s. What I liked about them was the fact that they changed from one thing to another, it was like 2 toys for the price of 1! As we begin working our way “down from the hub” (Adoption) on our journey through our identity in Christ. The ability to change from one form to another isn’t simply something that we find in the commercial man-made world of children’s toys… To be “in Christ” is to be transformed… and that transformation is more than just spiritual… it’s bodily, and it involves all that we see around us…
BACKGROUND: Our lives will always be transformed for the better if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. However transformation isn’t an easy process. While we are “heirs” of God and “co-heirs” with Christ, like Him we must share in His suffering as well as His glory. Let’s be honest we like… actually we love the “Glory” aspect, the “Suffering” aspect, not so much so… that’s the part we’d rather live without but in the end all will be transformed… (Romans 8:17-23)
TRANSFORMATION OF CREATION
• There is a sobering truth about this present age that we’re living in… this age is that as long as it lasts, all creation including Christians will be groaning under the burden of imperfection
• Since the fall of man during the “Glory Days” of Eden the world has been waiting for God to step in and correct all that was disrupted and destroyed by the fall
• G.K. Chesterton, one of my favorite Christian writers said this of our fallen world… “It’s kind of like living in a shipwreck, we find many treasures but clearly things are not are they are meant to be”
• All creation is involved in groaning, frustration, and corruption, and suffering, and we are part of what the whole creation experiences
• There is in our world a nature of decay, of ruin, of dissolution; it’s a world that is perishing. There's something out of order and harmful about it all.
• In this passage (vs. 20) gives three reasons why the creating has a longing, and earnest expectation for things to be set right
• 1) It was subjected to futility – It had to endure that which it didn’t want
• Futility means – failing to reach or accomplish it’s intended purpose
• 2) It was subjected not of its own will – Compelled by God to fail, to serve Man instead of God
• 3) It was subjected in hope that it would be set free – longing for a renewal that it would once again be able to accomplish the purpose for which it was intended!
• A point of clarification – this passage isn’t saying or implying that creation has a stated free action of will, it’s simply a point of clarification to emphasize the fact that it is wholly on the account of another (i.e. us) that this subjugation took place
• We want and long for transformation, to be made right, this is also the longing of the rest of creation… God loves what He has created, and desires for everything to be made right!
TRANSFORMATION OF OUR BODIES
• The first thing Paul says in our passage is that whatever suffering or pain or frustration or disappointment a child of God endures now in this present age, it will seem as nothing when compared with the glory that the child of God will experience in the age to come
• It doesn't take much imagination to know what tremendous toll that life takes on our bodies
• Just look at what Paul went through in his own life, (2nd Corinthians 11:24-28)
• Sometimes we can compare it to our own – physical sickness, disease, tragedy – it’s all there
• In our flesh we realize that this world is not our home, we are just passing through, it’s not the “best of all places,” simply a “place of preparation” for the best of all places
• There are sufferings that come upon Christians simply because they belong to Christ, there is a “fellowship of suffering” (Philippians 3:10)
• There are some who suggest that our sufferings in this life are serve to satisfy the demands of God’s justice – this idea can only be described and identified as “bad theology”
• Instead of suffering being some form of divine justice, it actually serves to prepare men to participate in God’s glory, it’s a refining process thought which all men pass