The Holy Spirit seals the hope we have in Christ
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) Romans 8:23-25 NLT
Hope is not wishful thinking for it has a specific object; the person of the Creator, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. On the basis of the hope provided for by the redemption God secured to those that placed their trust in what He accomplished at the cross would result in creation’s liberation. As Paul argued from the text, this hope brought us out of the present state of the creation (bondage to decay) to the glory of the future. Since the sin of the human race caused the problem in the first place, it will be the redemption of the human race through the adoption Christ provided that will make possible the freedom of the whole creation. Paul points out that we share the longing of the creation. The Holy Spirit that resides the believers was given as a sort of down payment in a business transaction which indicates that there is much more to come. “We have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory” (Romans 8:23b). What awaits the believers is the fullness of the relationship with God and the freedom from sin and suffering. This is the promise that Christians hold on to and that sustains them as they live their lives for God’s glory. This does not make the experience of suffering unreal or meaningless; it merely points us to something infinitely more glorious and important. It gives meaning to suffering by showing that suffering points to something else. It should be obvious to every Christian that all tears are not yet wiped away, that physical and mental pain are still very much part of our existence, and that the full realization of our salvation has not yet arrived. We live in the time of “not yet.” This is why we wait for it “patiently and confidently” (Romans 8:25). Such a testimony is not easy since the pain experienced in this chaotic world is real for everybody. But our faith in the resurrected Lord gives us hope for the resurrection. “The creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Romans 8:21). Having faith in God matters for it provides us the hope and purpose that give meaning in our life experiences as we await for the glorious day of His coming.