In Romans 8: 19-23 Paul says creation is like a person yearning for something big in the future. What is creation eagerly longing for? It awaits the revealing of the children of God. In God’s new world to come, the sons and daughters of God will be revealed in full freedom and glory. Then the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. And creation is groaning in labour pains awaiting all this.
Paul goes on to say, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption”. In these words, we hear the tension of the already and not yet. Already, as adopted sons and daughters, we have the Spirit of God’s Son, the Spirit of adoption. And this Spirit is the presence of the future giving to us a foretaste of future freedom and glory. Already, by the Spirit, we enjoy something of our future life
Nevertheless, the fullness of our adoption is not yet. And so we groan within us as we wait for the fullness of our adoption. In that fullness, our bodies will be resurrected so that we share the resurrection body of God’s Incarnate Son. In that fullness, we will enjoy the freedom and glory of the sons and daughters of God. Right now our lives are hidden with Christ in God and when he appears we shall appear with him in glory.