Terry R. Baughman
“The creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:21–22).
Catastrophic events of nature illustrate this text. It is the groaning pains of labor the earth endures because of the consequence of Adam’s transgression and the effects of sin that extend beyond humanity into the whole of creation. Volcanic eruptions, tidal waves and tsunamis, earthquakes, violent winds of hurricanes and tornadoes, and other extreme conflagrations of nature demonstrate the violent reaction of the physical world to “the bondage of corruption.” The globe cries out for deliverance.
Paul defined the sharp contrast of freedom in the life of the Spirit and the suffering of sin for those bound in its grip. Sin condemns us and binds our spirits, “Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23). To fully appreciate the redemption of Christ’s sacrifice we must understand the severity of sin and its horrible effects upon all of creation. Paul associated the convulsions of nature in the fallen state to that of a mother groaning with the pains of giving birth. All look to the deliverance of a glorious new day when there shall be no more sin. John gives insight into that day when, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Through the power of the New Birth we experience deliverance from sin and a foretaste of the glory we shall enjoy in that eternal day. Paul said the baptism of the Holy Spirit is merely the “guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Ephesians 1:14). We live in anticipation of the ultimate redemption. Paul expanded on the topic when he said, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:18–19).
The message of the Gospel is greater than a good feeling and much more than psychological therapy. The Good News is a revelation of God’s eternal purpose. It is a life-changing spiritual encounter now, and an eternal hope for the future redemption. Entertainment, prescriptions or various therapies may provide a temporary relief from suffering by masking the pain, but nothing else can provide a remedy for the root cause other than the transforming power of the born again experience. Jesus said, “You must be born again!” (John 5:7). Jesus provided the possibility of a new life here and the promise of everlasting life hereafter. However, He awaits our response to His provision, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 5:5).
We respond and share this great Gospel and we live with anticipation for the future redemption of the world!
“Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35).