Bible Society of South Africa

The birthing pains of a new world – 19 October 2022

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

The Future Glory

18I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children. 20For creation was condemned to lose its purpose, not of its own will, but because God willed it to be so. Yet there was the hope 21that creation itself would one day be set free from its slavery to decay and would share the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22For we know that up to the present time all of creation groans with pain, like the pain of childbirth. 23But it is not just creation alone which groans; we who have the Spirit as the first of God's gifts also groan within ourselves, as we wait for God to make us his children and set our whole being free.

Romans 8:18-23GNBOpen in Bible reader

How do we know who is really in our midst? Can we know who somebody really is? Mark Twain touched on this theme in his book, “The Prince and the Pauper”. In the days of King Henry VIII, there lived a young beggar boy with the name Tom Canty, in the backstreets of London. One day, his path crossed with the crown prince of Britain. They discovered that they looked like identical twins. They decided to exchange roles for a day. The beggar boy would be the crown prince of the kingdom and the prince would be just a beggar boy on the dangerous backstreets of London. On the one side, we see the beggar’s amazement at the plushness of a royal palace and all the respect he gets from the servants. On the other hand, we see the despair of the prince, stripped of all his entitlement and privilege, finding it very difficult to cope with life without his title.

This book really touched my heart since I read it as a young boy. It had something to say about my own position in life. The Holy Spirit has testified that we are children of God – Romans 8:17 taught us this. However, the world around us does not recognise us as such. On the one hand, we live in amazement at the honour of calling the Creator of the universe, our Father. We are welcome in his presence at any time. On the other hand, we still live in this dark world and it does not score any points on our CV that we are God’s children. We are princes and princesses, but in this world, we are still clothed in beggar’s rags. We are on a journey back to our Father’s house. However, the journey is difficult and challenging. Sometimes, we groan in frustration that the world is not yet being made new again. In addition, creation is groaning in pain and expectation with the children of God. We have the Spirit of God, we are aware of our new identity in Christ. We know we are on a path to glory. Nevertheless, we remain in this world, shining God’s light, making a difference where we go to bear witness to the goodness and mercy of God. We groan today, but we know, one day, God will take off the beggar’s clothes and reveal us as his children, cloaked in righteousness and glory.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for my new identity in Christ. I am your child. I am following in the footsteps of your Son even though the journey is difficult, causing me to groan in frustration sometimes. Please give me the strength, endurance and patience I need to remain faithful until the journey ends at your throne. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.10
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