Do you remember singing songs about heaven? “Soon and very soon we are going to see the King…” As a young boy I remember my church singing songs like this all the time. There was a sense that we all wanted to escape this world of sin to a better place.
Then I read this section of Romans 8, and I realize that’s not what we were to hope. Our hope was to be on our future condition. Focus on escaping this world put us immediately at odds with this world. Then we would start talking about how everything is going to burn and pass away. It would get very negative really quick.
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) (Romans 8:22-25 NLT)
As you read Paul’s writings you begin to realize that our future hope encircles our future condition. We will be released from sin and suffering. We will have full rights as adopted children of God. We will have new bodies. That is our hope.
It makes me think about family vacations. I so look forward to time away with my family. Matter of fact, my looking forward to what will be helps me deal with what is. I can get through the day when I know that I’m getting away soon. Does that make sense?
I’m a proponent of living in the moment and enjoying life right now. But I also realize that when life is really tough right now, hope for a better future may be the only thing keeping me going. That’s what Paul is saying here. Keep looking up. One day you will have life, full life, amazing and abundant life. One day you will not suffer. One day you will not struggle with sin. One day you will have a brand new body!
Action: How does that reality change your present perspective? What’s one way that you can apply this future hope to your everyday life? For instance, I’m going to start every day this week with thanking God for the new body I will one day have (my wife will probably thank God for that too:). Let me know your thoughts.