“That the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21)

In the beginning, all of God’s creation was living within His will according to His purpose. There was a rule of love, unity in purpose, and peace throughout all of creation. Yet because God is love and shows that unconditional love toward His creation and particularly to the crown of His creation man, He created man with free will. I believe that God did not want mankind to be robotic or programmed as the rest of His creation. He wanted a man, who was created in His image, to return the love He has shown Him back unto His self. What is love if it is programmed or forced? How could mankind desire to love God without the choice to do so? It puzzles me that we love our parents because they have given us life, they have supported us through our childhood, and they have released us to live as our own in this life. Yet we forsake to show a heart of love towards the Creator who created us in love that we could have the free will to reject Him who has given us all and His very best.

As we have touched on before but will revisit again the creation around us has also suffered because of man’s fall to sin. I have heard questions as to why all of God’s creation must suffer from the sins of mankind. The plants and animals of God’s creation cannot help but remain in the will and purpose of their Creator. Mankind was given the privilege of free will. All is a creation of God as in the beginning there was only God. The point is that of all creation only man, the crown of God’s creation, has the responsibility of dominion. This was not an afterthought of God but the plan of God at the beginning. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

Satan had been cast out of Heaven and fell to earth which was now his kingdom. At the end of God’s creative work, mankind was formed and became a living being. I can imagine that Satan must have thought he was to have rule over man, that mankind would be his to have dominion over. This was not the purpose of God that any of His creation was to be ruled by Satan. Satan had a third of the angels in his charge but it was never the purpose of God to allow a man to fall into Satan’s influence. Satan the prideful fallen angel could not bear that mankind was now given dominion over what he considered his as wrong as that belief was. Satan fell from the grace of God because he thought of himself as a god. Satan pictured himself like the Most High and desired to be worshiped as a god. This was the sin of Satan, self-pride. God hates pride as King Solomon wrote, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13)

The only way that Satan can hurt God is to rob the spirits of men from God. If Satan could fracture God’s creation with a free-willed man breaking the trust and committing a disobedience towards God’s Word, then that unrighteous act would separate man from his Creator. Satan went to the Garden of Eden to deceive man with reason by rationalizing the truth that God had spoken to Adam. Satan tempted man with the same error that Satan himself fell to, self-pride. Satan believed he a creature himself could be as the Most High God and he tempted Eve that she and Adam could be as God by eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve ate from the tree and its forbidden fruit and sin entered into God’s creation. As a result, creation was fractured.

Nothing is unseen by God and God confronted Satan, confronted mankind, and all the earth suffered because sin had entered into the world and broke the harmony of God’s very good work. “The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; … Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field.” (Genesis 3:14, 17-18)

What was at the beginning was wholesome and very good now had been fractured by sin. The world now would learn the effects of sin, the pain and suffering, the meaninglessness, and the world would now suffer death. All of God’s creation is now under the sentence of death because sin had entered into the world. The perfection of man has now been degraded, and the degradation of man has degraded nature. As man suffers because of his sin so to nature suffers with him. If it were not for God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ all would be hopeless and hopelessness offers no meaning to life.

In our text, today from the Apostles letter to the Romans Paul is telling us that God’s story is far from over. It is clear that as mankind fell to sin and fractured the world mankind’s redemption will also restore creation to the plan and purpose of God. I believe that the creation of God in some unexplainable way knows that the redemption of man will mend the fracture that all suffer. There is a connection between the sons of God and God’s creation. Sin brought suffering to creation and man’s redemption will restore the order of God’s creation. We lack the fullness of ability to imagine how a perfect creation was before sin but when Christ appears then we will be as He is and the perfect order of God will be restored. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

God is love and just as importantly God is just. Disobedience to the order of God, which caused sin to enter creation, came with the consequences that God warned of. When this happened God did not subject His creation to decay and frustration because of any pettiness or a heart of revenge. God was acting in hope as in looking forward to when the curses that sin caused could be reversed. If God did hold hope for His creation, then He could have just destroyed it, as He wanted in the days of Noah. (Genesis 6) When the curse came it was never the intention of God that the effects should last eternally. God never wanted creation to experience futility and death, He never intended for the corruption to last forever. This is why Jesus sacrificed Himself for the redemption of man, that all of God’s creation could also be relieved of the curse sin inflicted.

This is the longing that the Christian believers have for the return of their Savior Jesus Christ. That the faithful sons of God will be revealed in the glory that God has for them. This is the longing that creation has that when the sons of God are revealed creation will also be set free from its bondage to sin. Jesus is the just and the justifier and all suffering will end when all have been made righteous. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

This is the purpose of God’s redemptive plan and when it has come to fruition at the end of earthly affairs the righteous will receive the reward of the new heavens and the new earth. “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13) For the sons of God that is the goal of the path that Jesus is leading us on. Our Heavenly Home with our Heavenly Father. This is the vision that the Apostle John saw with his own eyes. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” (Revelation 21:1)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, December 11, 2018

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