I don’t know about you, but whenever I sin, I mean when I really blow it, that is the time when I feel my utter sinfulness within me. It causes me to groan. To become weary. To get discouraged. To lose heart. And at times to even doubt that He could possibly love me or that He will ever come for me and deliver me from myself and sin’s quandary.
The Apostle Paul had similar experiences, as chronicled for our benefit in Romans 7 and 8. “For the good that I wish, I do not do” Romans 7:19; “O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from the shackles of this body of death?” Romans 7:24 Amplified Bible; and again, “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.” Romans 8:23
Isn’t it interesting that just a few verses earlier in Romans 8, verses 14-16, it says that we are sons of God, that we have received a spirit of adoption. So why do we still wait eagerly for our adoption? The best way to illustrate this is to draw upon my own experiences as an adoptive father, and as someone who has worked extensively with overseas orphans. When my wife and I adopted our precious daughter from abroad, we first chose her as the one we felt God was leading us to adopt and make our own. He subsequently confirmed this as we waited and prayed and sought His will in the matter. Then we went through the arduous application process, with what seemed to be endless filings and re-filings of paperwork, both with our agency and government as well as with the child’s foreign government. This took many months, hundreds of hours, and thousands of dollars. But at last, all legal requirements were completed and we were ready to adopt her. She had been set aside for us and, had she been old enough to understand at the time, was “positionally” our child. She was merely waiting for us to come for her, to swoop down from the sky (in our commercial airliner of course) and receive her to ourselves to confer upon her the full rights and privileges of being a part of our family forever, along with citizenship in the new, far-away country she could only have hoped and dreamed of. So, I believe that this is a picture of what God has done, and is doing, for us as his adopted children. (See Ephesians 1:4-14)
We were chosen long before the formal process was completed. He predestined us (made the necessary legal arrangements) to adopt us, because He planned in love, with a purpose of His will, out of kindness of intent, to make us His own that we might share in His glory and participate in The Inheritance along with all His other adopted children, to live forever with Him as heirs in His marvelous, far-away kingdom. The first part of this adoption has been completed, but not the last part of it, the consummation and conference of son-ship. We have been given the Spirit as a pledge and guarantee, a down payment if you will, of our coming full and complete possession of this inheritance. So it is this Spirit of adoption that we now have, that groans within us, longing for the completion of the adoption process, to go home and be with our new family forever. In the meantime, this body still is subject to sin and its myriad sufferings. Our daughter, even up until the very day we arrived to take her from the arms of the nurse at the children’s hospital (she was running a fever and was sick and dirty and malnourished) suffered up until the moment of her adoption, when she became ours completely. We then washed her, administered medicines and tender care to restore her body, and then brought her home to be with us where she has since received all the gifts of love and grace afforded to her as our child, along with all the many benefits of her new home (including a beautifully appointed room of her own filled with toys and stuffed animals and many lovely things such as she never even knew existed). And all as part of her inheritance as our daughter.
So, whenever I groan, suffering the effects of sin in my life and longing for my full redemption, I need only remind myself that it is coming, just around the bend. I hold on to the promise that my heavenly Father will soon swoop down from the sky and whisk me off to His heavenly home, my new and forever home, of which I can only imagine! (I Corinthians 2:9-12) Then I will be able to leave behind this body of sin and death once and for all and exchange it for my new, incorruptible body, full of life and light and the glory of God!!!