18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not to be compared with the future glory, which shall be revealed in us.
19. For the expectation of creation looks for the revelation of the sons of God.
20. For the creation was subjected to vanity not willingly, but on account of him who has made it subject in hope.
21. Because the creation itself also shall be set free from the servitude of corruption, into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.
The consideration just mentioned, of sharing the sufferings of Christ, need not alarm any who would share his glory. All the sufferings of this life are not worthy of comparison for a moment, are a feather in the balance, compared with the immensity of the inheritance of glory, which shall be revealed to us at the last day. Even the irrational, and the inanimate creation longs in expectation for the revelation of the sons of God. This creation is subject to death and decay, corruption and change, not for its own sake, but on account of man, whose needs it subserves; but this is not for ever. At the resurrection it shall be delivered from this condition of perpetual change, corruption, and renewal, and have its part, according to its measure and degree, in the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.
18. Revealed in us. The Greek text has to us. Revealed from heaven, in our sight. But the worthless glory of this world is wholly external, a lightning flash, a breath of fame. The glory of God will be inherent in us, in soul and body, coexistent and superexistent. In us, but not from us, or of us, but of God.
19. By a personification the Apostle figures the inferior creation as longing earnestly for the day of the revelation of the sons of God. The Greek word αποκαραδοκια (apokaradokia) signifies the attitude of a listener in earnest expectation. This statement must be considered in some degree poetical and figurative, at least as regards the inanimate creation.
It is not now always apparent who are the sons of God. Many appear so, who are not so in reality; others are so, but are not known to be. That day shall be the revelation of the sons of God.
Why should the Christian fear that for which all creation ardently longs?
21. The creature itself also shall be set free. Change, generation, corruption, the movements of the heavenly bodies, will all cease. The elements will be endowed with new qualities and powers. There will be new heavens, a new earth. As the nurse of a young king participate in the regal splendour at the coronation; or as slaves are magnificently arrayed for their master’s glory.
22. For we know that all creation groans and labours as in travail until now.
23. And not only these things, but we ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves, looking out for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.
22. Heaven and earth, all the elements and all the creatures, from the beginning of the world till now, groan and cry, as if in the pains of labour, earnestly longing for the reign of their Creator, and the redemption into freedom of the sons of God, for whose service they were made. And yet we, those very sons of God, love our own slavery, fear the coming of our liberator, tremble at his approach, recoil in terror from the thought of that
kingdom, for the coming of which we daily pray.
Be not lowered below the level of the inferior creation. Do not acquiesce in, and be satisfied with things present:but longing for the kingdom of God, groan for the delay of our departure from this world. Saint Chrysostom.
23. Not the lower creation only, but we also, the Apostles, the first believers, who have received first and most abundantly the gifts of the Holy Spirit, faith, hope, charity, all Christian graces and supernatural gifts, and the miraculous powers then frequent in the early church, yet weighed down by the body of this death, groan within ourselves, panting for the full completion of our adoption, when, by the immortality of the body, we shall be set free from mortality, concupiscence, and all the ills and miseries of life. Not satisfied with what we have received, but rather allured to the desire of a more perfect promise. The gifts given us in this life are first fruits, the beginnings of complete redemption, urging the Saints of God to look forward to the full harvest.