What is it we are hoping for?
The Bible gives us a stunning vision of God’s plan of salvation: it is a vast panoramic sweep, in which broken human lives and a broken creation are being made wonderfully new. The Bible often speaks of this, “a new heavens and a new earth”.
Sin, according to the Bible, has impacted everything: our relationship with God, our relationship with one another, and our relationship with creation. This beautiful garden paradise that God has given us is impacted by human wrongdoing. Just as we experience both beauty and brokenness in our own lives because of sin, so creation too, because of human sin, is also broken.
The impact of human sin on creation is seen on the news every day: forest fires, bleached coral reefs, cleared rainforest, slaughtered elephants, oil spills, open cast mines, and rising emissions.
It is tempting to think it’s too late for creation; perhaps we think it’s too late for us too. But the wonderful news of the gospel is that, through Jesus, sin – and the brokenness that results – have been dealt with at the cross, and what is ahead is a glorious and wonderful renewal, both for us, and for all creation. Because of Jesus, life has an upwards trajectory.
The language Paul uses is that of liberation and freedom. One day our lives and this creation will be free from the presence and impact of sin. One day everything will be made new. When Paul says, “our present sufferings are not worth comparing” with what’s ahead, he’s not so much making light of our sufferings than helping us fix our eyes, hearts and minds on the glorious Biblical vision of what’s ahead. One day all our suffering will end, but this glorious new creation – and our renewed lives within in – will last forever. It’s a vision to energise and sustain our hope; a vision worth hoping in and waiting for.