Wednesday, October 13, 2010

EMMDEV 2010-10-13 [Romans Ch.8] Now and Not Yet

23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans8:23-25

Yesterday we looked at how creation "groans" - the ticks and tocks that remind us that the broken state of the world will not last forever.

In today's text, Paul raises a similar issue concerning believers.

When we become believers the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us. His presence in our lives does two powerful things:
1. We groan inwardly at the brokenness of this world.
2. We wait eagerly for the redemption of our bodies (the end of brokenness)

How do we understand these two things?

Firstly, when Christ lives in us by the Holy Spirit, we see the world and its brokenness more clearly. This clarity should not lead to self-righteous condemnation and withdrawal from the world, but rather it should move us to compassion and determined action. William Wilberforce's faith caused him to be horrified at slavery and he spent his life fixing the brokenness. Mother Theresa groaned at the horror of poverty and spent her life making a difference.

Secondly, we have the hope of heaven (the "redemption of our bodies") this is the "not yet" that reminds us that spending ourselves in the "now" will make the "not yet" even sweeter.

Groaning should not be an arms-crossed, condemnatory withdrawal from the world, but rather it is a sleeves-rolled-up determination to fight the brokenness with everything we have so that others may come where we are going.

Jim Elliot (Martyred in South America) said "He is no fool who gives what he can't keep to gain what he cannot lose."

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Theo Groeneveld theo@emmanuel.org.za
You can see past EmmDevs at http://emmdev.blogspot.com/

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