Romans - Lesson 35

Romans 8:19-22

Romans 8:19-22 describes the anticipation of creation for the revelation of God's children and the liberation from decay. The lesson navigates through controversial interpretations, stressing the significance of Christian environmentalism. It examines various biblical perspectives on the destiny of creation, arguing for a theology of radical renovation rather than destruction. Moreover, it underscores the theological imperative for Christians to engage in environmental stewardship, considering both biblical principles and scientific evidence regarding issues like climate change. Ultimately, the lesson urges Christians to integrate their faith with environmental concerns, acknowledging their responsibility as stewards of God's creation.

Lesson 35
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Romans 8:19-22

III. The Assurance Provided by the Gospel: The Hope of Salvation (5:1–8:39)

A. The Hope of Glory (5:1-21)

1. From Justification to Salvation (5:1-11)

2. The Reign of Grace and Life (5:12-21)

B. Freedom from Bondage to Sin (6:1-23)

1. "Dead to Sin" through Union with Christ (6:1-14)

2. Freed from Sin's Power to Serve Righteousness (6:15-23)

C. Freedom from Bondage to the Law (7:1-25)

1. Released from the Law, Joined to Christ (7:1-6)

2. The History and Experience of Jews under the Law (7:7-25)

a. The Coming of the Law (7:7-12)

b. Life under the Law (7:13-25)

D. Assurance of Eternal Life in the Spirit (8:1-30)

1. The Spirit of Life (8:1-13)

2. The Spirit of Adoption (8:14-17)

3. The Spirit of Glory (8:18-30)

E. The Believer's Security Celebrated (8:31-39)

  • This lesson offers a deep dive into Paul's Letter to the Romans, revealing its pastoral aims, Paul's intentions to visit Spain, Jerusalem, and Rome, and its relevance to early Christian dynamics and theological inquiries about the Law in Christ's time.
  • This lesson offers a fresh view of Paul's theology, focusing on Romans. It emphasizes the first-century context, highlighting Gentile inclusion and unity in Christ, challenging traditional views. Gain insights into Paul's message and its relevance today.
  • Explore the book of Romans for modern faith conflicts: balance tradition with contemporary practices, learn from history, and grasp Paul's ministry and Gospel's complexities.
  • Follow along with Dr. Moo as he begins a thorough review of Romans 1:2-5. You will learn how Paul emphasizes Jesus' earthly life, resurrection, and his appointment as the Son of God in power. This lesson examines the interconnectedness of faith and obedience, underscoring that while faith initiates salvation, genuine faith inherently entails obedience to Christ as Lord, maintaining a balanced Christian life.
  • By delving into Romans 1:16-17, you'll understand the Gospel extends beyond individual salvation, encompassing God's reign over creation and His establishment of justice. The Gospel challenges worldly powers, offering hope and transformation to all who embrace it.
  • Listen along as the class discusses questions and answers revolving around Romans 1:16-17.
  • In Romans 1:18-28, you learn that all people are held accountable by God, having knowledge of Him through natural revelation but some turn away. This passage highlights the manifestation of God's wrath against sin, the exchange of truth for falsehoods, and the absence of excuses for humanity's actions, ultimately emphasizing God's fair judgment.
  • Listen in as the class and Dr. Moo discuss aspects of Romans 1:18-28.
  • The lesson discusses Romans 2:1-11, it highlights the use of the diatribe device and the transition from focusing on Gentiles to Jews. It underscores the Jewish belief in their special status and their potential misunderstanding of God's judgment. The lesson reviews the focus of the text on key themes such as judgment, righteousness, and the relationship between faith and good deeds.
  • In this lesson, you'll review the significance of the Law, notably the Law of Moses, in God's judgment. Paul stresses that mere knowledge of the Law isn't sufficient for righteousness; obedience is key. The primary message is that salvation ultimately relies on God's grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as human efforts and consciences alone cannot secure salvation. This lesson highlights the importance of understanding these concepts in interactions with people of different religious beliefs.
  • The key takeaway in this lesson is that while being a Jew comes with a great heritage, it doesn't guarantee salvation. Obedience to God's law is crucial, and reliance on religious heritage or rituals won't save you. The lesson emphasizes the universal human condition of being under the power of sin, and people cannot be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the Law or by the works of the Law. Only through faith in Christ are we made righteous.
  • This lesson explores the New Perspective on Paul, emphasizing that the Law was for Jewish covenant status, not just salvation. It promotes a holistic faith view, balancing vertical and horizontal aspects, Spirit-led obedience, and 1st-century Judaism diversity, enriching Pauline teachings in the church.
  • In exploring Romans 3:21-26, you'll gain insights into the relationship between righteousness, faith, and salvation. Paul highlights God's righteousness, which is accessible to all through faith in Jesus Christ. By weaving together themes of righteousness, faith, and inclusivity, Paul challenges conventional Jewish and Gentile perspectives, emphasizing the continuity of God's salvation plan while underscoring the centrality of faith in Christ for all believers.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insights into the potential challenge in translating Romans 3:23-24, particularly the term "all" and its connection to the debate on universalism in evangelicalism. Dr. Moo stresses the importance of coherence in biblical interpretation and explores the themes of God's righteousness, faith, and grace in justification. The lesson reviews the cultural background of redemption, drawing parallels with the Greco-Roman slave market and emphasizing the need to understand both the problem of sin and the Gospel solution.
  • Embarking on this lesson, you'll gain insight into the historical development and contemporary challenges surrounding the doctrine of justification. Through exploring classic Reformation principles and contemporary reassessments, you'll understand the tensions between Protestant and Roman Catholic perspectives, particularly regarding the infusion of righteousness and the role of grace.
  • The lesson explores the intricate connection between faith and works, justification, and sanctification in contemporary theological discourse. It delineates divergent views on justification, with scholars like Piper advocating for the preservation of biblical distinctions amidst modern theological trends. The lesson examines key questions regarding the meaning, basis, time, and means of justification.
  • Students in Dr. Moo's class ask multiple questions about justification.
  • By studying Romans 3:27-4:25, you gain insight into Paul's theology, where faith, exemplified by Abraham's righteousness, transcends works and ethnicity, emphasizing the universal scope of salvation through Christ.
  • Hear the questions the students ask regarding Romans 3:27–4:25. And discover Dr. Moo's answers to the questions posed.
  • In Romans 5 – 8, you gain insights into profound theological concepts like justification, identity in Christ, and the tension between present reality and future hope, guiding you to embrace your changed identity and hope for future transformation amidst life's trials.
  • Students as deep questions about Romans 5-8. Hear what Dr. Moo presents as answers to their questions.
  • Through Romans 5:1-11, you'll review the contrast between the Old and New Realms, understanding the essence of living in grace, finding hope amid suffering, and experiencing the assurance of eternal security rooted in Christ's sacrifice and God's love poured into believers' hearts by the Holy Spirit.
  • In Romans 5:12-21, Paul contrasts Adam's sin with Christ's redemptive grace, emphasizing humanity's hope and victory over death through union with Christ, while various interpretations of original sin underscore the universal need for redemption and Christ's pivotal role in restoring humanity to God.
  • Listen to the thorough questions the students ask regarding Romans 5:12-21.
  • The students ask excellent questions of Dr. Moo in this insightful discussion on Romans 6:1-14.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain a deeper understanding of the theological implications of Christ's death and resurrection as explained in Romans 6. You will explore different interpretations of Paul's language regarding the old self and the new self, considering the implications for the Christian life. Ultimately, you will be challenged to recognize your identity in Christ and to actively live according to that identity, rejecting the slavery of sin and embracing servitude to God.
  • Hear the questions the students ask of Dr. Moo regarding Romans 6:1-23.
  • In diving into Romans 7, you'll explore the Law's role in Christian life. Paul's discourse clarifies the distinction between law and gospel, emphasizing the Torah's significance in understanding divine commandments.
  • Class discussion on Romans 7:1-6
  • In Romans 7:7-12, Paul explores the Law's role in intensifying sin and contrasts it with Christ's liberation. His narrative prompts reflection on individual experience and collective identity, enriching understanding of Christian faith.
  • The class discusses the previous lesson on Romans 7:7-12.
  • This lesson covers interpretations of Romans 7:13-25; whether Paul's description is of pre- or post-conversion struggle with the Law.
  • In Romans 8:1-22, discover the Spirit's transformative power over sin, leading to a life free from condemnation, intimacy with God, and anticipation of future glory amid present sufferings.
  • Explore the theological insights on environmental stewardship, emphasizing Christian responsibility in light of Romans 8:19-22.
  • Gain insights into Romans 8:23-27, understanding destined glory despite present suffering. The Spirit intercedes, bridging current and promised futures, offering assurance amid weakness.
  • Romans 8:28 offers profound insights into the nature of God's providence and the believer's journey of faith. Beyond its surface meaning, the verse challenges misconceptions about 'good' and underscores the transformative power of God's grace. It invites believers to trust in God's unfailing love amidst life's trials, anchoring their hope in the assurance of His sovereign care and redemptive purposes.
  • Romans 9:1-5 highlights Paul's profound concern for Israel's salvation and the theological complexities surrounding God's promises. Reviewing salvation history, you'll learn that God's offer of salvation for both Jew and Gentile, fits within the Old Testament narrative.
  • Paul discusses Israel's role in God's plan, emphasizing grace over race. He illustrates divine choices and sovereignty, sparking debates on salvation.
  • Discover diverse views on election, Israel's struggle with faith, and the significance of overcoming theological narrowness in Romans 9:30-10:21. Gain insights into law versus faith in attaining righteousness and the importance of engaging deeply with Scripture for a comprehensive understanding.
  • Gain insights into faith versus works, Christ as the culmination of the Law, and the inclusivity of righteousness through Him. Embrace unity in Christ, transcending cultural divisions, and embodying love and holiness.
  • Gain insight into contrasting righteousness by law vs. faith in Romans 10:5-13. Accessibility of salvation through Christ bridges Old and New Testament teachings, emphasizing unity and continuity.
  • Gain insights into Romans 10:14-21, emphasizing faith, preaching, and Israel's reception of the message. Dr. Moo highlights Paul's use of Old Testament quotes and God's ongoing relationship with Israel, revealing the significance of faith and salvation.
  • Gain insight into Romans 11:11-15. Paul discusses Jewish rejection, Gentile salvation, and Jewish inclusion, aiming to provoke Jewish envy. The phrase "life from the dead" hints at spiritual renewal or future resurrection.
  • Gain insights into the Olive Tree analogy in Romans 11:16-24. Understand humility, faithfulness, and the purpose of warning passages in Scripture.
  • Discover the mystery of Israel's salvation in Romans 11:25-32. Paul reveals unity of Jews and Gentiles, challenging arrogance and emphasizing God's inclusive love.
  • Gain deeper understanding of Christian-Jewish ties, navigate theological challenges, address Israel-Palestine tensions, and embrace God's inclusive grace.
  • Gain deep insights into Romans 12:1-2: True worship extends beyond rituals, urging sacrificial living and transformation in response to God's mercy.
  • In Romans 12:3-8, Paul stresses humility, unity, and diverse gifts within the body of Christ, urging faithful stewardship for the edification of the body of Christ.
  • Gain insights into love's complexity in Romans 12:9-21. Paul urges sincere affection, alludes to Jesus' teachings, and prompts contemplation on love and judgment.
  • Gain insights into balancing submission to authorities with obedience to God. Understand the context of Paul's exhortation to Roman Christians and the complexities of submission, emphasizing humility, unity, and love in the Christian life within God's sovereignty.

Dr. Douglas Moo, from Wheaton College Graduate School, offers an exegetical examination of the book of Romans. This course was recorded during a D.Min. seminar at the Carolina Graduate School of Divinity in May 2012.

Please note that the audio mp3 file numbers on downloaded files are two greater than each lecture number beginning with number 15.

Dr. Douglas Moo 
Romans 8:19-22  
Lesson Transcript


Romans 8:19-22

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.


A. Creation and the Environment: 

We will conclude with some comments that may be controversial on verses 19-22. Paul begins by bringing in creation. “The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

Two points about the text. One, in terms of the argument of Romans 8. What Paul is saying here is that even the created world is looking ahead to this day when God glorifies His children. It is a way of emphasizing how significant our experience of glory is really going to be. The whole creation is groaning, just as we are, looking forward to that day. In the argument here, these verses are functioning to set up our own groaning as we look ahead to the day of our deliverance. 

But there is another point I think to be gotten out of the text here about the destiny of creation. Paul here talks about the created world itself being subjected to frustration and being liberated one day. “The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay.” 

I don’t need to tell you that one of the big issues that is talked about and debated is the issue of our obligation as humans to the environment we live in, ecological concerns, environmental concerns. It is very much on the agenda; it is a political issue it's a social issue. 

It is also a theological issue for Christians. As believers, what should we think about environmentalism, ecological concerns? The point I made earlier stands: we need to be people who bring our Christian value system and world view to every issue. This isn’t a matter that we should decide apart from our Christian values and commitments. 

The problem here is that the New Testament doesn’t say much about the natural world. It is very prominent in the Old Testament; there is a lot about the natural world, agriculture, and the land, but very little in the New Testament. So, we don’t have a lot of neat clear evidence to work from. I think that is why a lot of Christians struggle to figure out what position we should take.  


B. Redemption, New Heaven & New Earth, Future Destruction, or Radical Renovation: 

Within the New Testament itself there are different sorts of images that are seen. In Romans 8 and Colossians 1, it talks about the reconciliation of all things. You have this positive sense of creation being destined for redemption, for liberation, continuing eternal concern of God for the created world. 

The New Heaven and New Earth language of Revelation isn’t clear about that, about whether this is a new world, a new earth replacing the old, a transformation as such. 

But the language of 2 Peter though, seems to be pretty strong on the destruction side. There you have the image of this created world being destroyed and replaced with something new to come. So, there is an attempt to put all this Biblical evidence together in terms of a theology. 

Let me make a brief case for my fourth point here., what the New Testament is talking about is a radical renovation of the current creation. When you put all of these passages together, what Scripture suggests is that the created world that God has made, that He originally made good, is not something that he throws away, something destroyed and to be replaced, but something that is going to be renovated in a radical way, as 2 Peter 3 suggests. 

I think the parallel of the resurrection body is a good one here. Our bodies that we live in now are not going to be simply destroyed and replaced with something else. There is going to be continuity, the body is going to be raised and transformed in significant ways. And so, the earth itself is going to be destined for this kind of radical renovation. 


C. Christians need to be environmentalists. 

My point is this: while there are forms of environmentalism that are clearly tied in with pagan religions or with a material world view, Christians need to be environmentalists. The two go hand in hand. Simply because we have a God who has revealed Himself as the God who made the created world and has destined it to be renovated. In the meantime, He has made us stewards of the world that He has given us. 

So, for a number of reasons, Christians need to have a biblically informed environmental ethic. In other words, we are called to have a concern for the wider created world around us. Not only because God has made it and it is His good world that He has created us to be stewards of, but also out of simple love for others.  John Stott put it memorably. He was a man that I had the privilege of getting to know a bit because we worked on some projects together; one of the finest Christians I have ever known. He said, I live simply so that others may simply live. 

This whole matter is a challenge in terms of the lifestyle that we live, in terms of our consumption of resources. I know this is controversial and I hate to bring it up, but I feel obliged to bring it up. I think Christians are wrong when they deny the reality of human-caused global warming and the devastation it could be creating. The scientific consensus is clear. We all hear about people who are trying to deny it, but it is a very tiny percentage of climate scientists who have any question at all about the significance of human global warming. Humans are causing global warming, climate change. The only question is how bad it is going to get. 

The reality is that global warming has the potential of doing immense harm to the poor people of this world. We in the wealthy West will be largely immune to its problems. But it is the poor people of the world who live in flood plains and who can’t move; it’s poor people in the world who live in a certain agricultural belt where they have been used to growing certain kinds of crops for centuries who are not going to be able to grow those crops there again, who can’t move easily. They are going to be terrifically impacted by global warming. 

So, the point I want to make I think there is a solid Biblical theological case to make for Christians to be in the forefront of a concern for the environment which balances the concern for the environment with the reality that we humans are the ones created in the image of God. This is where a lot of environmentalists in its extreme form goes wrong. Edward Abby famously said, I would rather kill a man than a snake. We all know that extreme form out there. 

But this is where again I think that our Biblical world view gives us a posture to address the question that people are the only ones made in God’s image. Our concern should be with their evangelicalism and growth in Christ, but not to the exclusion of a concern for the environment with a realistic attempt to understand our world around us, its problems and issues, and what our responsibility is to our fellow human beings and to the God who has created this world, for effective wise loving stewardship of this created world.


D. These Problems Need to be Considered Theologically: 

I lived through the era when abortion became a significant issue. When I was first a Christian, no one was talking about abortion because it just wasn’t happening. Suddenly Roe v. Wade comes along, and suddenly abortion becomes a legitimate option. Christians began saying there was something that wasn’t right about it, but let’s go to scripture and see what we can find. Let’s face it, there aren’t too many passages in scripture that address the issue of abortion. There is no text that directly addresses it. But passages that biblical scholars rightly discovered talk about the reality of genuine human life before conception with all the implications that flow from that. And so, we began to address these issues. 

As we are beginning to see the really serious problems in our environment caused by human consumerism, we should again come back to Scripture and ask what does Scripture have to say about these matters and where Christians should stand on this. I am hopeful that over time (and I think this is happening) more and more Christians are going to come to realize that we are called to a certain ethic that seeks to respect the environment and change habits of living to the degree that we can in order to keep this world a place which is a legitimate habitation for human beings. 

As Christians, we realize ultimately that this world is not our end. Our job is not to make this world a permanently comfortable place for humans because God is going to transform it one day. But until that day, just as we have a responsibility to take care of our bodies until they are raised, so I think we have equally a responsibility to take care of the world around us until God chooses Himself to transform it.

This is something that I am very sad about to be honest, to see Christian’s buying into these denials of global warming, which has so little scientific basis at all. All the evidence is clear and becoming clearer every day.  Global warming is a huge reality with all the implications that it has.  Christians should not be people who are anti-environmentalist.  We should be in the forefront of those who because of the God we serve and who created this world, and because of our call to love all people and particularly brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world, we should have a concern for this. 

The problem obviously is that climate change is not something that you can see so clearly, it is gradual. It takes place over time. The climate doesn’t change overnight; climate isn’t the weather which has its ups and down. It’s the gradual progression. But when you see the scientific data accumulating, when people are telling us this is what is happening in the world, I think as Christians we are bound to take that into consideration and ask what our response should be in light of it.