Session 21 | Romans 8:18-24
Romans 5:12-8:39 | Giving Testimony To The Validity Of The Mystery
Supplemental Resource, Romans Graphically Presented, pgs. 5, 28
Romans 8:1-39 | The Struggle And Survival of God’s Elect
Supplemental Resource, Romans Graphically Presented, pg. 28, 37
Romans 8:18-25 | The Future Glory of Israel
Supplemental Resource, Romans Graphically Presented, pg. 37
#### Romans 8:18 – Black
Paul compares the sufferings of this present time to the glory which shall be revealed in us.
During the time of Paul’s writing, the Roman Jews had endured significant suffering. If these Jews had relocated from Jerusalem after Pentecost (see Acts 8:1), their lives had been continuously uprooted for about 25 years. If they had arrived prior to Pentecost, they may have experienced generations of persecution dating back to the days of the Assyrian invasion. Even if they had only been in Rome for a few years, the recent expulsion under Claudius had greatly disrupted their lives, making it a vivid experience of this present time. The situation had only been resolved within the last year or so before Paul’s writing.
In my interpretation, when Paul mentions the glory which shall be revealed in us, he is referring to the future glory of Israel. This glory will be experienced collectively as a nation, rather than individually by each person. For further exploration of this glory, consider examining Isaiah 60:1-3, 61:7, Jeremiah 30:18-20, and Zechariah 12:9-10.
It is important to note that my interpretation adopts a narrow and less common view, specifically applying this passage to Israel alone. A more prevalent interpretation understands the passage as an encouragement to believers who may be undergoing suffering at the present moment. In this perspective, the passage serves as an assurance that the present sufferings will eventually pass. However, I am not fully convinced that the Bible discusses the future glory of the Church in the same manner Paul presents it here. The closest candidate for such a teaching would be Ephesians 5:25, where Paul speaks of the future “glorious church.” In the broader context of Romans 8, I believe Paul gives promises to Israel, based on previous assurances, that Israel shall be referred to as my glory (Is. 46:13).
#### Romans 8:19 – Blue
In our color-coding system, I have highlighted verses 19-22 in blue to indicate their direct application for the Body of Christ. This is because these words encompass the entire created order.
Paul speaks of the expectation of the creature. By using the word creature, he is not solely referring to the animal world. Instead, he includes all human beings and, even more, the entirety of the created order. Although the modern English usage of “creature” tends to lean toward non-human entities, the broader form of the word was employed in older English and Greek to signify “anything created.”
Therefore, Paul conveys that creation possesses a fervent anticipation for the manifestation of the sons of God. 1 John 3:2 addresses the Jewish nation, stating, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him. This verse also underscores a future manifestation of the sons of God that has yet to occur. Furthermore, the verse in 1 John clarifies that this manifestation will transpire when he shall appear, referring to the Second Coming. In 1 Corinthians 15:51, Paul declares, we shall all be changed, also alluding to the Second Coming and the glorification of Israel.
Could it be that one of the reasons antisemitism has persisted illogically throughout history is because the sons of God are not yet fully realized as they should be? Those prone to impatience may respond to this perceived lack of glory by demonstrating unfavorable treatment towards the Jewish people.
Note: for Biblical support that sons of God can be a reference to Israel, see Exodus 4:22-23, Hosea 11:1, Deuteronomy 14:1-2, and Romans 9:4.
#### Romans 8:20 - Blue
Though Paul speaks of the creature, he is referring to “creation” or “the created order,” as seen in verse 22 where the noun is used in the same grammatical form. This order, which can be understood as the cosmos, has been subjected to vanity. In other words, creation has lost its purpose and now only offers emptiness—a void that exists because of God, who has allowed it to be this way. The backdrop for this understanding can be found in Genesis 3.
I believe that the closing words, in hope, do not explain how God subjected the world to vanity, as that thought seems unclear. Instead, in hope describes the manner in which the creature waiteth (v. 19). Therefore, verse 20 functions as a parenthetical statement that concludes before the phrase in hope. This interpretation aligns with the viewpoint of E.W. Bullinger. Many translations also support this grammatical understanding by including a comma before in hope, thus connecting hope to verse 21.
#### Romans 8:21 – Blue
The use of the phrase the creature itself reminds us of the broader usage of creature employed by the translators, which was perfectly understandable in 1611. It is important to avoid interpreting this as a reference to “humanity,” as Paul would have used a masculine pronoun like ‘himself’ in that case. Therefore, when the verse speaks of the creature entering the glorious liberty of the children of God, it does not imply “gentiles coming into the glorious position of Israel.” Such an interpretation would defy grammatical logic.
The cosmos is destined to be delivered and will exist during the time of the glorious liberty that is yet to come. This speaks of the future restoration of all things mentioned by Peter in Acts 3:21.
#### Romans 8:22 – Blue
From the time of Genesis 3 until now, the cosmos has been under the curse of vanity (v. 20). This serves as a reminder that the physical sciences may offer valuable insight into the functioning of our world as it exists today. However, they are not equipped to provide explanations for the origin of the world or its past workings. All physical science should recognize that what is true today may not have always been true. Any attempts by the physical sciences to explain the origins or previous states of the world would be speculative in nature.
#### Romans 8:23 – Black
The word they refers to creation and should not be understood as referring to Gentiles or any specific group of people. The pronoun ourselves is used in reference to the Jewish people, who possess the first fruits of the Spirit bestowed upon them on the day of Pentecost.
This verse specifically defines the adoption as the redemption of our body and appears to emphasize the collective aspect of “the body of Israel” rather than individual bodies of redeemed Jews. By using the plural pronoun ourselves within the same verse, Paul implies that if he intended to refer to individual bodies, he would have continued with the plural form. Therefore, the verse suggests that “we individually groan for the redemption of our nation.”
#### Romans 8:24 – Black
In the context of the English language in 1611, the phrase saved by hope would have likely encompassed the nuance of “saved in hope” as well. During that period, the preposition “by” had a broader range of meanings, allowing for expressions of being “in” or “within” a specific state or condition. Therefore, in this context, Paul’s usage of “by” does not suggest that hope is the instrument of salvation, but rather emphasizes the essential role of hope within their Jewish, Kingdom-salvation. It signifies that hope is integral to their salvation as a nation. The verse implies that one day hope will be realized, both for the Jewish nation and for the entire creation.