(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


     It is good to be together again as we look into the Word of God. The title for the lesson is: Creation Subjected to Frustration. And our primary text is taken from the New Testament book of Romans chapter 8 verses 18 through 25. Please listen to the Word of God.

     “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For 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.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope, we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  This is the Word of God.

     We across the planet earth have seen the devastation and frustration of huge natural calamities such as tornadoes or hurricanes or drought or the like. Natural disasters impact not just homes, vehicles, and businesses but also take lives, jobs, and services that we take for granted like clean water, and electricity. When natural catastrophes hit, many people wonder: “Where is God?”  “Why did God allow this?”  When we hear, for example, that children, the handicapped, the elderly have drowned in floods many ask: “Doesn’t God care?”  “If God is love, and He is, why are there so many tragic natural disasters?”

     Does the Bible reveal any answers? Shed any light on these dark questions? Let’s begin by considering the big picture.  Going all the way back to the beginning. God stated in the first book of the Bible Genesis chapter 3 verse 17 in part “cursed is the ground because of you, through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.”  Therefore, God rebuked Adam for his disobedience, for his sin. All of mankind has inherited this sin nature; we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God, continue to fall short of the glory of God.  Part of God’s punishment is the natural creation itself is cursed to disorder, decay, and disaster. And yes, death has entered the world. Not just physical death but spiritual death.

     For those even here in the heartland of America we can experience natural, not just man-made catastrophe, but natural catastrophes.  For many that live in the Midwest in southern Indiana in the United States do you remember the tornado that roared through Clark County, Indiana and hit the town of Henryville? At 3:15 PM on March 2nd, in the year of our Lord 2012 an EF-4 tornado killed 3 people.  The tornado was actually on the ground according to reports, for more than 50 miles and destroyed much property including so of the Henryville Public Schools buildings.  Natural catastrophes will continue and even escalate in quantity and gravity until Jesus Christ returns to this earth. Yet in the meantime we should never, ever think that God does not care. God cares deeply for mankind and proved it about 2000 years ago by sending his one and only, beloved Son to die on a cruel cross for us, for mankind, even though we were yet sinners. And yet because of sin, this earth is cursed by God, not by the Devil. The Devil doesn’t have that power. God is Holy, Holy, Holy and there must be consequences do to sin. It must be punished and so God has cursed the earth. Temporarily, but we remain cursed in that set of circumstances today.

     So, is our future on this earth only going to continuously be about chaos and calamity? Let’s investigate:

Romans chapter 8 and verse 18 says in part “our present sufferings” here the apostle Paul initially is referring to his generation, writing to the Roman church regarding his generations suffering of all kinds. Here the apostle Paul referred primarily to the persecutions and hardships of the early church that it was having to endure. By extension, by application today, we have all kinds of suffering also. It can include rejection and ridicule for being Christians. We also suffer from the natural calamities of our bodies breaking down. We suffer from anxiety and stress that accompany physical and mental decay. And we add to that suffering through the expenses and financial struggles that most of us suffer with. Yet Paul also wrote “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  That is the Christians’ glory when Jesus Christ returns for us, we will instantly be transformed, glorified, changed forever!

     Philippians chapter 3 and verse 21 reveals a portion of this glory which says, “Who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”  That is the perfect glorious body of the Lord Jesus Christ. All misery will be exchanged for all the magnificence that is in store for the persevering believer forever! But we must persevere in Christ through all the miseries of this life and keep the faith!

     Moreover, so many people around us, not only in the United States but around the world in all nations are also dealing with all kinds of terrible calamities in their lives, and in their family’s lives; we need to share our faith in Christ Jesus – not that it will cancel all of their troubles. It won’t in this life, in this age. However, trusting Christ in a genuine, personal relationship with him can fortify us through the struggles of this life, not only fortify us but provide hope for the future, in the age to come. Hopelessness is a calamity in itself, but we who are in Christ Jesus have genuine hope for the future in Christ Jesus.

     Romans chapter 8 and verse 19 says in part “for the sons of God to be revealed.”  God deeply loves us and desires that we be added to his family as sons and yes as daughters of God! But this is only possible thru repentant faith in Christ Jesus. Romans chapter 8 and verse 20 says in part “the creation was subjected to frustration.”  That is by God, who forced it to futility, to a fallen state because of man’s sin. Sin has consequences to a perfectly Holy God. However, by God’s grace, sinners can be changed into saints! Sanctified by the blood of Christ through obedient faith and finally, eventually glorified in which our lowly bodies will be transformed to be like His, to be like Christ’s glorious body!

     Romans chapter 8 verse 21 says in part “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay.”  God, not the Devil, subjected creation but God will also liberate creation. Only God has this power, both to subject it and to liberate it. The natural realm will be renewed, regenerated, and restored, eventually! We are talking about this earth, before the new heaven and new earth. Really?

     Writing about future hope we find the words in Acts chapter 3 verse 21 referring to Jesus Christ “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”  Consider the text in the Old Testament, for example, Isaiah chapter 11 verses 6 through 10 where we find these words “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.” Has that happened yet? Is the earth today full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea? Well no. So, this is yet future. And there is no reason to know that this cannot literally, figuratively come about. If God could create everything from nothing simply by saying the word, which He did in creation. Then Goad can certainly restore everything as he promised long ago through His Holy prophets, and not just Isaiah, but many of his Holy prophets prophesied, predicted this restoration. The new earth will be brand new. This earth, however, will be restored.   

     Consider this, seventy-seven years ago, on September 2nd, in 1945, the documents of surrender were signed that officially ended World War Two. General Douglas MacArthur, officiating the ceremony aboard the USS battleship Missouri, was the last to sign documents. General MacArthur took his Parker pen and simply signed his first name, “Douglas.”  He then passed the pen to General Wainwright, who signed “Mac.”  MacArthur then handed the pen to General Percival, who signed “Arthur.”  MacArthur. This was General Douglas MacArthur’s way of honoring the two United States generals who had suffered severe persecution as prisoners of war. However, had persevered, and now they were allowed to share in the glory of the triumph over their suffering.

     Likewise, Paul describes Christians who persevere in all the battles of this life to inherit glory. Romans chapter 8 verse 17 says in part “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

And so, brothers and sisters keep the faith – glory is coming!


           David Johnson is Minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ in Sellersburg, IN.