New American Standard Bible
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
King James Bible
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Darby Bible Translation
For the anxious looking out of the creature expects the revelation of the sons of God:
World English Bible
For the creation waits with eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
Young's Literal Translation
for the earnest looking out of the creation doth expect the revelation of the sons of God;
Romans 8:19 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
For the earnest expectation - ἀποκαραδοκία apokaradokia. This word occurs only here and in Philippians 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 - τῆς κτίσεως tēs ktiseōs." Perhaps there is not a passage in the New Testament that has been deemed more difficult of interpretation than this Romans 8:19-23; and after all the labors 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; that is, desirous of obtaining the full development of the honors that await him as the child of God; Romans 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; Romans 8:20.
(5) in this state there is the hope of deliverance into glorious liberty; Romans 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. He therefore should not deem his condition as especially trying. It is the common lot of all things here; Romans 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 live; and thus they are sustained by hope, which is the argument which the apostle has in view; Romans 8:23-24. With this view of the general scope of the passage, we may examine the particular phrases.
(The opinion which is perhaps most generally adopted of this difficult passage, is what explains κτίσις ktisis of the whole irrational creation. According to this view, the apostle, having adverted to the glory that awaited the Christian, as a ground of joy and comfort under present sufferings, exalts our idea of it still higher by representing the external world as participating in, and waiting for it. "This interpretation is suitable to the design of the apostle. Paul's object is not to confirm the certainty of a future state, but to produce a strong impression of its glorious character. Nothing could be better adapted to this object, than the grand and beautiful figure of the whole creation waiting and longing for the glorious revelation of the Son of God, and the consummation of his kingdom." Hodge. In the original it is the same word that is rendered alternately "creature" and "creation."
And the meaning of the passage depends, in great measure, on the sense of this single word. Generally speaking, it signifies anything created. The particular kind of creation is determined by the context alone. Of course, whatever sense we may attach to it, must be continued throughout the whole passage, as we cannot suppose the apostle uses the same word in two different senses, in one place, without any intimation of the change. To what then does κτίσις ktisis refer? It is maintained by those who adopt the view noticed above, that it cannot refer to angels, either elect or fallen, since the former have never been subject to the bondage of corruption, and the latter are not waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God; that it cannot allude to wicked people, for neither do they anxiously look out for this manifestation; that it can no more refer to saints or renewed people, since these are expressly distinguished as a separate class in Romans 8:23; and that, therefore, it must be understood of the whole manimate and irrational creation.
It is further argued, that every part of the context may be explained consistently with this view. The passage is supposed to present a very bold and beautiful instance of the figure called prosopopoeia, by which things inanimate are invested with life and feeling, a figure which is indeed very common in Scripture, and which we need not be surprised to find in this place, amid so much that is grand and elevating; Joel 1:10, Joel 1:20; Jeremiah 12:4; Isaiah 24:4, Isaiah 24:7. According to this interpretation of κτίσις ktisis then, the general sense of the apostle may be thus given. The whole irrational creation is interested in the future glory of the sons of God, and is anxiously waiting for it. For then the curse will be removed from the very ground, and the lower animals relieved from oppression and cruelty. The very creation, on account of the sin of man, has been subjected to the curse, and has become "vain" or useless in regard to the original design of it, having been made subservient to the evil purposes and passions of man.
This state of subjection to vanity is not willing, but by restraint. Violence is imposed, as it were, on external nature. But this shall not continue. There is hope in the heart of the subject world, that ὅτι hoti it shall be delivered from this bondage, and participate in the liberty of the children of God. This representation may seem strange and unusual, but "we know" certainly, adds the apostle, that it is so; that "the whole creation πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις pasa hē ktisis, groaneth and travaileth in pain throughout every part. Even we, who are saints of God, and have been favored with the earnests of future bliss, feel the general oppression, and groan within ourselves, while we wait for the period of deliverance, in which the very body shall be ransomed from the grave and fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body.)
Of the creature - The word here rendered "creature" κτίσις ktisis, occurs in the New Testament nineteen times, and is used in the following senses:
LibraryAugust 6. "As Many as are Led by the Spirit of God they are the Sons of God" (Rom. viii. 14).
"As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God" (Rom. viii. 14). The blessed Holy Spirit is our Guide, our Leader, and our Resting-place. There are times when He presses us forward into prayer, into service, into suffering, into new experiences, new duties, new claims of faith, and hope, and love, but there are times when He arrests us in our activity, and rests us under His overshadowing wing, and quiets us in the secret place of the Most High, teaching us some new lessons, breathing …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
September 27. "The Glorious Liberty of the Children of God" (Rom. viii. 21).
The Intercession of Christ
Yet the number of the sons of Israel Will be like the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered; And in the place Where it is said to them, "You are not My people," It will be said to them, "You are the sons of the living God."
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
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