19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
In Romans 8:19-27 we see three groanings:
o Personification of creation, 8:19-22
o Christians, 8:23-25
o The Holy Spirit, 8:26-27
The groanings of all three are like that of a woman in childbirth who also looks forward to eventually embracing the child.
The “for” shows the interrelationship of suffering creation with the future revealing of the glorification of the sons of God. The reason for this suffering was that man cast a curse on creation by his sinful fall (Ge 3:17-19) but that God will restore and glorify creation to a new state.
the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits
Creation (animate and inanimate) itself has an eager anticipation of glorification. This anticipation is a personification of creation; irrational creation is intimately related to the glorification of the sons of God. The idea is that the entire created world (except for those who reject the gospel) will be restored. This will happen at the return of Christ in His Second Coming. God will exhibit His glory at that time.
“Earnest expectation” is a triple compound Greek word that refers to waiting with pronounced anticipation and perseverance. The Christian should carry an attitude of readiness about Christ’s coming and the glorification of believers. We need to be prepared for this great event.
“Earnest expectation” is an intense concept—creation strains in anticipation for a solution to the curse on creation. The word comes from three Greek words: from, head, and to watch. The idea is of a person watching with the head erect and out stretched. It is to lean forward with one’s head to get a first glimpse of something anticipated. The material universe intensely concentrates on the potential glorification of believers at the Second Advent (not the Rapture).
This word was used in classical Greek of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon for watchmen waiting for announcement of the capture of Troy. Every time the words “earnest expectation” are used in the Bible, they are used of Christ’s return (here, vv. 23, 25; 1 Co 1:7; Ga 5:5; Ph 3:20; He 9:28).
for the revealing [by God] of the sons of God.
Revelation of the sons of God will occur when Christ comes for believers. When that happens, Christians will share the glory of Christ. That is when our bodies will be redeemed (8:23). Christians will be revealed with Christ in glory when they will be eternally separated from sin and their fallen nature:
Co 3: 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Since creation’s curse was not its fault but fallen man’s responsibility, creation will participate in the restoration of man to a glorified state. That is why creation strains its neck to see this event.
The anticipation here is not the Rapture but the glorification of believer and creation at the Second Coming. This is also when believers will receive their resurrection bodies.
PRINCIPLE: Creation itself eagerly anticipates the glorification of the sons of God.
APPLICATION: Creation stands on the tiptoe of expectancy to watch the glorification of the sons of God. There is a limit to “as far as the curse is found”; one day the curse will end. God with one fell swoop will reverse the curse.
In biblical viewpoint, man and creation are so bound together that man’s sin brought a curse on the created order. The created order will therefore share the destiny of the sons of God. That is why creation waits for this event with eager longing. Future glory involves far more than just believers.