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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 8 - Verse 19
Verse 19. For the earnest expectation. (apokaradokia). This word occurs only here and in Php 1:20, "According to my earnest expectation and my hope," etc. It properly denotes a state of earnest desire to see any object when the head is thrust forward; an intense anxiety; an ardent wish; and is thus well employed to denote the intense interest with which a Christian looks to his future inheritance.
Of the creature. (thv ktisewv). Perhaps there is not a passage in the New Testament that has been deemed more difficult of interpretation than this, (Ro 8:19-23) and after all the labours bestowed on it by critics, still there is no explanation proposed which is perfectly satisfactory, or in which commentators concur. The object here will be to give what appears to the writer the true meaning, without attempting to controvert the opinions of critics. The main design of the passage is to show the sustaining power of the gospel in the midst of trials, by the prospect of the future deliverance and inheritance of the sons of God. This scope of the passage is to guide us in the interpretation. The following are, I suppose, the leading points in the illustration:
(1.) The word creature refers to the renewed nature of the Christian, or to the Christian as renewed.
(2.) He is waiting for his future glory; i. e. desirous of obtaining the full development of the honours that await him as the child of God, Ro 8:19.
(3.) He is subjected to a state of trial and vanity, affording comparatively little comfort and much disquietude.
(4.) This is not in accordance with the desire of his heart, "not willingly," but is the wise appointment of God, Ro 8:20.
(5.) In this state there is the hope of deliverance into glorious liberty, Ro 8:21.
(6.) This condition of things does not exist merely in regard to the Christian, but is the common condition of the world. It all groans, and is in trial, as much as the Christian. lie, therefore, should not deem his condition as peculiarly trying. It is the common lot of all things here, Ro 8:22. But
(7.) Christians only have the prospect of deliverance. To them is held out the hope of final rescue, and of an eternal inheritance beyond all these sufferings. They wait, therefore, for the full benefits of the adoption; the complete recovery even of the body from the effects of sin, and the toils and trials of this life; and thus they are sustained by hope, which is the argument which the apostle has in view, Ro 8:23,24. With this view of the general score of the passage, we may examine the particular phrases.
Of the creature. The word here rendered creature—(ktisewv) occurs in the New Testament nineteen times, and is used in the following senses:
(1.) Creation; the act of creating, Ro 1:20:
(5.) The Christian, the new creation, regarded individually; the work of the Holy Spirit on the renewed heart; the new man. —-After all the attention which I can give to this passage, I regard this to be the meaning here, for the following reasons, viz.:
(1.) Because this alone seems to me to suit the connexion, and to make sense in the argument. If the word refers, as has been supposed by different interpreters, either to angels, or to the bodies of men, or to the material creation, or to the rational creation—to men, or mankind—it is difficult to see what connexion either would have with the argument. The apostle is discoursing of the benefits of the gospel to Christians in time of trial; and the bearing of the argument requires us to understand this illustration of them, unless we are compelled not to understand it thus by the proper laws of interpreting words.
(2.) The word creature is used in a similar sense by the same apostle. Thus, 2 Co 5:17, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature," (kainh ktisiv). Ga 6:15, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature."
(3.) The verb create is thus used. Thus, Eph 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." Ro 8:15, "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity—for to make in himself of twain one new man:" Greek, "That he might create (ktish) the two into one new man; Ro 4:24. "The new man, which is created in righteousness," etc.
(4.) Nothing was more natural than for the sacred writers thus to speak of a Christian as a new creation, a new creature. The great power of God involved in his conversion, and the strong resemblance between the creation and imparting spiritual life, led naturally to this use of the language.
(5.) Language similar to this occurs in the Old Testament, and it was natural to transfer it to the New. The Jewish people were represented as made or created by God for his service;and the phrase, therefore, might come to designate those who were thus formed by him to his service. De 32:6, "Hath he not made thee, and established thee?" Isa 43:7, "Every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."
@Ro 8:21, "This people have I formed for myself." From all which reasons, it seems to me that the expression here is used to denote Christians, renewed men. Its meaning, however, is varied in Ro 8:22.
Waiteth for. Expects; is not in a state of possession, but is looking for it with interest.
The manifestation of the sons of God. The full development of the benefits of the sons of God; the time when they shall be acknowledged, and received into the full privileges of sons. Here Christians have some evidence of their adoption. But they are in a world of sin; they are exposed to trials; they are subject to many calamities; and though they have evidence here that they are the sons of God, yet they wait for that period when they shall be fully delivered from all these trials, and be admitted to the enjoyment of all the privileges of the children of the Most High. The time when this shall take place will be at the day of judgment, when they shall be fully acknowledged, in the presence of an assembled universe, as his children. All Christians are represented as in this posture of waiting for the full possession of their privileges as the children of God. 1 Co 1:7, "Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Th 3:5; Ga 5:5, "for we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." 1 Th 1:10.
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