by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5 November 13, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(358)Thesis:Paul's main thesis [suffering is not comparable to the glory to come] is established by the universal reality of that expectation.
Introduction:Last week we began our study of Romans 8:19 by looking at the end of the verse, the "manifestation of the sons of God". I concluded that what Paul was addressing was the Kingdom of Messiah after the Judgment Seat. The issue is a "manifestation" -- a revealing of the issues in such clarity that everyone who beholds it will have the "problem" of present suffering fully resolved so that there is no reluctance by the creature to walk in a godly love and faith.
The major problem with the present creation is its willingness to be dissuaded from living life as a joyful servant of a Servant King. Everywhere we turn we see people pressing to have their own way in the pursuit of goals that are not only unattainable, they are not even worth chasing. This pursuit is often masked by an appearance of legitimacy, but it is also often simply so violent that no one can escape the impression that the creation has been saddled with a "survival of the most violent" mentality.
It is Paul's claim that those of us who have bought into a "Servant Kingdom" mentality ought to persevere for one major reason: ultimately, those who pursue the Servant King are going to find that the glory He shares with His people is beyond their imagination so that no matter what one might have to "suffer" in this present time, it will be "worth it".
The major question regarding this claim by Paul is this: is the claim true? The answer Paul gives in Romans 8:19 is that its truth is universally recognized within creation. It is to that answer that we return this evening.
I. That Which "Knows" the Glory Will Absorb the Suffering: Creation.
A. Paul used the word translated "creation" by the NASB translators in two distinct ways in Romans.
1. In 1:20 he uses it to refer to the act of creating and its use there is like unto the use in our text in this regard: there is a "universal recognition" that cannot legitimately be denied.
2. In 1:25 he shifts over to another sense of the word: the thing created by the act of creating.
a. Under this sense of the word there are two ways it is used.
1) It is used of individual "creatures".
2) It is used of the conglomerate of the individuals: the whole of things created.
b. In 8:19, 20, 21, 22 Paul repeatedly uses this word and is very likely being consistent in meaning -- which is clearly "the conglomerate" as 8:22 establishes.
B. Paul's "point" in this paragraph seems to be the same "point" as in 1:20: there is an indisputable and universal reality here.
1. The grammatical point that we do not want to miss is this: Paul is using this so-called indisputability and universality to establish his "reckoning" (of 8:18) [the "for" introduces the rationality behind the claim].
2. Thus, Paul is saying that everyone who throws in the towel because he/she does not wish to "suffer" is going against what "everyone" knows to be truth...i.e., that they are throwing away immeasurable glory.
II. The Attitude of the Creation.
A. It is called, by the translators, "the anxious longing".
B. Biblical usage suggests a different sense.
1. It was probably 8:21-22 that caused the translators to opt for "anxious longing" because most people do not "do well" while "travailing in pain" and "wish for a speedy delivery".
2. However, when we make note of these facts, we may well see a different sense to the word.
a. The word is only used in two places in the Bible and is not to be found in secular sources.
b. The other time Paul used the word, he was not "anxiously longing": Philippians 1:20.
c. The etymology of the word shows a combination of three words: the first indicates distance [apo]; the second indicates the head [kara]; and the third indicates a certain appearance [dokew].
1) Thus, at least when the word was coined, it presented "an appearance made to the 'head' (eyes and reason) of a reality that was not yet present, but would be".
2) Because Paul joins this word in Philippians to the word "hope", the combination indicates that Paul "expected" a development that was not to be denied.
d. The probable meaning is, then, something akin to a "settled expectation" that is so "expected" that the "expector" has no sense that he will be disappointed.
C. Thus, Paul is saying that he "reckons" on the surpassing glory because it is a universal truism.
III. The Activity of the Creation.
A. Paul says the "settled expectation of the creation waits...".
B. The idea is established by Paul's use of the word twice in this paragraph (see 8:25).
1. He is using the concept of "hope" as he did in Philippians 1:20.
2. He is dealing with the way people act in the present because of what they "expect" in the future.
3. "Waiting" means that everything is done with an eye to the inevitable reality.
a. At this point we can see how significant is the issue: people are the only elements of "creation" who seem to have no grasp of the inevitability of the glory.
b. But those who do have that sense act in ways that reflect it.
IV. In What Sense Does Paul Mean "the Creation" Knows This?
A. Probably, the knowledge is somewhat vague in the sense that the details of the Judgment Seat of Christ are not universally known.
B. Paul's sense is more likely to be this: everyone knows something is terribly wrong and has some sense that there will be a day of "making it right".
1. Hebrews says that men live under the bondage of fear all of their lives because they have an innate and certain expectation of judgment as a "bad" thing for them.
2. But the expectation of judgment is nothing more or less than the "deity" calling all into a final account because He is going to establish a better Kingdom.