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DEVOTIONAL
A different standard of suffering
Richard Wasserfall
08-Sep-2003
"The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."Romans 8:19
Immediately after telling us that our present sufferings, which are our sufferings in and for Christ, are not worth comparing to the glory to be revealed in us when Christ comes, Paul suddenly says creation is waiting for the heirs of Christ to be revealed. He seems to give creation a consciousness, a knowing of the final will and purpose of God regarding His sons and then says that creation is waiting specifically for that.

Now firstly, how is this possible? Well, in Christ, "all things hold together," (Col 1:17) because "through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:3) The whole of creation then is founded on the crux of Christ's being. And who is Christ? "He is the lamb that was slain from the creation of the world," so that through Him, God could reconcile all things to Himself through the blood ultimately shed on the cross. (Rev 13: 8, Col 1:20) This means that the foundations of creation are soaked in the blood of Christ and the ultimate redemption that blood means. Thus Paul can say, creation waits in eager anticipation, for the law of redemption is written into creation's fabric.

Secondly, what does Paul, by drawing our attention to creation's waiting, want us to understand about our future glory, which is having Christ fully revealed in us? Since we now know that Creation knows that its current frustration, to which it is subjected by God, is something passing away, and that its restoration from decay will come with the freedom of the children of God, how much more then should we, the children of God, in and through whom the Spirit of redemption is now at work, look forward in eager anticipation to having Christ reveal His glory in us.

How much in essence is this not like Jesus' words when he says, "See how the lilies of the field grow? They do not labour or spin Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the fieldill he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' for pagans run after these things? (Matt 6:28-32)

But we have a different standard of suffering. We need not suffer as the world does, in agony over our earthly needs, for God knows we need these things. Rather we should suffer the perfection of Christ at work in us. Not that we have yet attained this perfection, but like Paul, we need to press on towards heaven where Christ calls us and where our citizenship is. And our attitude is to be to "eagerly await a saviour from [heaven], the Lord Jesus Christ, whoill transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Php 3:20-21) And when that day comes, "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." (Isa 55:12)
Lord, by your grace, let us live up to what we have already attained through your grace. Keep us from falling back into our old ways, and keep us straining towards the reward that lies ahead.