I mentioned in a recent sermon, Set Free to Pray, N.T. Wright’s reflection on Romans 8 that helps to capture the TENSION we are called to live in between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet;’ between the ‘groanings’ of our fallen world and the ‘glory’ to come when God restores all things.
“…as the bracing ethical imperatives of Romans 8:12-14 and the call to groaning in prayer in 8:26-27 make clear, the Christian is to embody the tension involved in bringing the new to birth already within the old. The challenge to holiness cannot be put off until some future date; nor can the challenge to bring all things in subjection to the saving rule of God’s people, a task that must begin with inarticulate prayer and continue forward from there….If the creation is to be renewed, not abandoned, and if that work has already begun in the resurrection of Jesus, it will not do simply to consign the present creation (to decay and misuse and eventual destruction.) Christians must be in the forefront of bringing, in the present time, signs and foretastes of God’s eventual full healing to bear upon the created order in all its parts and at every level….Christians must be in the forefront of bringing, in the present time, signs and foretastes of God’s fresh beauty within the world, signs of the hope for what the Spirit will yet do!” (Commentary of Romans, pp. 605-606)
We’ll end with a similar word from the German Theologian, Karl Barth, quoted recently in Sojourners.
“The Holy Spirit establishes the righteousness of heaven in the midst of the unrighteousness of the earth and will not stop …until all that is dead has been brought to life and a new world has come into being.” ( from The Word of God and the Word of Man)