Sometimes in traversing the wilderness, we feel its groans (see Romans 8:18-22). We see its oppression to sin, to evil, to the slavery that came when Adam and Eve sinned. It is a reality that creation is not living in line with the Kingdom of God.
We have three choices when we see this oppression and bondage. We can ignore it, moving on to something more pleasant. Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s not a very effective method for dealing with oppression.
Sometimes ignoring is impossible, or not where our hearts will go at this present time. So we often choose to cry out for judgement; for God to come and bring judgement on the world so that creation will be freed from its bondage.
The problem with crying for judgement is that judgement is an Old Covenant perspective. Under the Mosaic Law, the only means of achieving purity was through judgement, or possibly a scapegoat. This was the reason for the sacrifices – something had to die, to be judged, to cleanse from sin.
Under the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood, there is another, superior way to achieve purity – through the blood of Jesus. “For what the law was powerless to do… God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.” (Romans 8:3, NIV)
Under the New Covenant, judgement is replaced with grace and mercy to those who receive Christ. As new creations in Christ, we no longer live under judgement, but under mercy and grace. This means that we no longer live our lives by the rules of judgement, but rather live life under the “law” of grace and mercy.
So when we encounter the oppression that creation is groaning beneath, our response should be New Covenant-based – and response under the New Covenant is not judgement. Rather, we live out that mercy and grace, and thereby set creation free as we are revealed as Christ in us; the New Covenant alive and active. By simply being who Christ is in us, we actually possess the power to set creation free.
“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed…creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19, 21)