Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Resolved 2008: Session #12

John Piper
Romans 8:18-25

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created man and woman. And it was all very good. When Adam and Eve sinned, the entire created order was subjected to futility…in hope.

All the chaos of the created order that we witness had one sin as its source.

Why did God subject the created order to such futility when nature did nothing wrong? When it was human souls that did something wrong?

God put the natural world under a curse so that physical horrors would become vivid pictures of the horror of moral evil. Physical suffering happens so that we would get an image of the outrage of the moral evil in our hearts.

How intentionally outraged are we by our belittling of God compared to when we experience suffering in our lives? Almost never.

Therefore, God displays the horror of our sin in a way that we can feel.

That’s why when the tower fell on 18 at Siloam (Luke 13), Jesus said that unless we likewise repent we will likewise perish.

All physical evil exists to show us what sin is like because we couldn’t otherwise see or feel it. Oh that we would feel the evil of preferring anything to God. We do it everyday. And all the physical evil in the universe is not as bad as preferring anything to God.

Four observations about this text:

1) God promises that there will be liberation of this creation from its futility and its bondage to corruption (v.21)

This is the promise that there will be a new heavens and a new earth. The same earth is renewed. This is not a completely new earth.

2) The liberation of the created order from the bondage of corruption will be a participation in the freedom of the glory of the children of God (v.21)

The created order is redeemed because the children of God have been redeemed and not vice-versa.

3) The arrival of the new liberated creation is compared to a birth so that there is not only continuity with this world but also discontinuity (v.22)

The whole creation (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, cancers) are all global pains to bring forth the new planet. One implication is that there is continuity and discontinuity. What a mom gives birth to is human (continuity) but it isn’t her (discontinuity).

No more night, no more sun, no moon, no sea, no marriage, spiritual bodies, a world wrought through fire and yet real continuity in the new earth. A different kind of sun, a different kind of body, a different kind of marriage. God didn’t create the universe to throw it away. He created the universe and ordained the fall and redemption and the scream of the damned and hell in order to magnify the worth of His Son’s sacrifice.

4) The hope of having redeemed bodies in the new creation is secured by the scream of the damned, the saving work of Christ on the cross (v.23,24).

The ultimate reason that there is a new heaven and earth is NOT that there might be new bodies for saints. That’s only one of the reasons. The reason there is a new heaven and earth is so that we would forever sing of the Lamb that was slain.

Download the audio here.

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