The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
– Romans 8:19-21
Subject to frustration
You’ve seen and you’ve tasted the futility and frustration of this world, haven’t you? The pain of the stillborn child, the death of two teen boys in a sudden car crash, the hours of work that barely bring in enough money to make ends meet, the frustrated plans for a beautiful marriage. Our world was subjected to this. It wasn’t meant to be this way. Things are broken and in need of fixing.
Subjected in hope
But, unlike what modernism, post-modernism, evolution, nihilism, and their ilk want us to believe, this subjection wasn’t purposeless. It’s not the result of ten billion molecules aligning for the sake of creating purposelessness. We’re not on the treadmill until we die and then off into the void of death.
Creation (note the intentionality in that word) was subject in hope. There’s a massive difference between purposeless pain and the purposeful agony of pushing your body to accomplish a goal. This frustration and seeming futility was done with an end in mind, a hope that it will have a certain outcome. And what is that hope?
In hope of freedom
The hope is that the futility would lead to freedom. Liberation from captivity, from destruction, and from pain. No more bondage to death and decay. Subjected to captivity for the sake of freedom is a strange path to take, but it’s a pattern than God seems to repeat. Israel in Egypt for four hundred years before walking into freedom. Paul blinded and captive for days before being released to shake the world with the Gospel. Jesus bound, beaten, and killed before rising from death as ruler over all, displaying his glory.
In hope of glory
The end goal of this futility is glory. The pent-up wonder and awe that has been tamped down for millennia by the frustration of a broken world will soon explode over the horizons of creation. Glory will cover the earth like waters cover the sea. Jesus was the first deluge, but he was just the start. Just the firstborn among many sons and daughters.
Of the children of God
This freedom and glory is “of the children of God.” It’s something possessed by God’s children, given as a gift to the heirs of God’s kingdom through Christ.(Romans 8:17) Jesus purchased our adoption, yes, but this glory and freedom is ours to give. Creation’s aching and anxious for it to be revealed. God’s made the downpayment, sealed his children with the Holy Spirit and anointed us to be the ambassadors of the free and glorious kingdom that has and is to come.
The present frustration and pain is tiny in comparison to what’s coming. Creation itself is on edge in anticipation. Join in. Embrace the freedom and glory that God has given for today and lean into the future freedom and glory, so hard that you – like Jesus – become a bridge between the then and the now. Let the world taste the good future of the children of God so that they too join the family. The freedom and the glory is yours, child of God. Share it.