For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:20-22 ESV)
In the Old Testament there are a number of occasions when the glory of the Lord is revealed. I'm particularly thinking of the building and re-building of the Temple. When the glory of the Lord fell, the people couldn't enter, all they could do was watch and worship. The greatness, beauty and majesty of the Lord's presence drew the people to a place of adoration. They watched, they saw, they worshipped. They saw something outside of themselves (external) and recognised it instantly as the presence of their God. In that moment I imagine they felt free.
But the moment would pass and they would return to their daily routine with this encounter becoming a memory.
In Romans 8 Paul is writing about something very different. The glory of the Lord is being revealed in us and it is this revelation that the whole of creation is eagerly waiting for (v19). The contrast is between creation which is decaying and the children of God who are enjoying a full, free life. The gift we can give to creation is the freedom that comes from the indwelling of the glory of the Lord. We call that gift 'sonship', the gift of being loved with a perfect love.
The glory of God is the complete revelation of his character and personality, and that is love (1 John 4:16, Exodus 34:6-7). It is this love that is poured freely into our heart by the Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit which enables us to cry 'Abba, Father' and which shows us that we are loved in the same way as Jesus, himself is loved. The glory of the Lord is his love being revealed in us (internal). The freedom which was previously viewed from a distance is now within us and so, as sons and daughters, the glory of being fully loved will shine from us and be a gift to our broken world.
"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." (2 Cor 3:18 ESV)
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For only £10 (including postage) you can have any two of: A Father to YOU, Planted in Love or The Depth of Love. To take advantage of this offer click here.
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