SUBJECTED THE SAME IN HOPE
By John C. Carpenter
 
The apostle Paul wrote the beloved saints in Rome: The [Holy] Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject [subjected, made obedient] to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same [creature] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it (Rom 8:16-25). In these subject verses, who is the creature, who subjected to creature unwillingly, and what hope was the creature subjected to?
 
THE CREATURE
 
In each of the verses 19-21, Paul describes someone or something as a "creature." Who is this "creature" that Paul is referring to here? "Creature" is the English word translated from the Greek word "ktisis," which means "original formation, building, creation, creature, or ordinance." In our subject verses, ktisis is also translated in verse 22 as "creation." In some new testament verses, tsisis is translated as "creature." For example, Christ instructed His disciples to Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature [ktisis] (Mark 16:15), while the author of the epistle to the Hebrews wrote Neither is there any creature[ktisis] that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Heb 4:13). In other new testament verses, "ktisis" is translated as "creation." Christ said, But from the beginning of the creation [ktisis] God made them male and female (Mark 10:6), whereas the apostle Peter wrote Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation [ktisis] (2 Pet 3:4). In other verses, "ktisis" is translated as "building" [Heb 9:11] and "ordinance" [1 Pet 2:13]. There are many opinions as to who or what the "creature" refers to. Various scholars believe that "ktisis" refers to the physical creation, the Jewish people, the godly, or the Gentiles. Other scholars believe "ktisis" refers to good angels, or even fallen spirits [human or angelic]. It is easier to determine who the "creature" is if we determine who Paul was writing to, the primary point of Paul's letter, and the characteristics of the "creature." Paul was writing to saints (Rom 1:1) who not only had faith (Rom 1:8), but who had the mutual faith of Paul (Rom 1:12). These saints were clearly believers in Christ. From other verses in the letter, it is also clear that Paul's letter is written to both "Gentile" believers (Rom 1:13) and "Jewish" believers (Rom 2:17). Then we examine the primary point of Paul's letter. Paul writes, So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from [to those of the Jewish] faith to [those of the Greek; i.e., Gentile] faith: as it is written, The just [whether Jew, or Greek] shall live by faith [in Christ] (Rom 1:15-17). Paul's point in his letter to the Roman believers is that the gospel is the power and message of salvation [eternal life] that is available to everyone who believes on Christ, Jew and Greek [Gentile] alike. Finally, in our subject passages, we find three characteristics of the creature: the creature "was waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God," was "unwillingly made subject to vanity so that he could be subjected to hope," and "shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption." Those who are waiting for the manifestation of the sons [better translation is child, foal, or son] of God, who are subjected to vanity so that they may develop hope, and who shall be delivered from corruption [decay, ruin, perish] are believers in Christ. The "creature" is clearly a reference to believers, and in the context of our subject verses, both Jewish and Greek [Gentile] believers.
 
MADE SUBJECT TO VANITY
 
In describing the second characteristic of the "creature," Paul wrote, the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope (Rom 8:20). In this verse, Paul clarifies what happened to the creature [was subjected], what the creature was subjected to [subjected to vanity], the reaction of the creature to this subjection [the creature was unwilling], and the reason or purpose of the subjection [to bring the creature hope]. The English words "made subject" are translated from the Greek word " hupotasso, which means "be under obedience, put under, subdue unto, make subject to, put in subjection to, or submit self unto." The English word "vanity" is translated from the Greek word "mataiotes," which means "inutility, transientness, moral depravity, or vanity." Although it is difficult to know with total confidence what this vanity refers to, we get a better idea if we examine the context of Paul's words found in Romans chapters 7 and 8. In making his point to the Roman believers, Paul initially uses himself as an example. He wrote, For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me (Rom 7:14-20). Paul wrote that what he hated to do, he did, and that the evil which he knew he should not do, he did. The apostle described this as "sin that dwelleth in me." Paul, just a few verses later, continued his theme. He added, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after [according to the desires of] the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Rom 8:2-13). This "vanity" that the creature was subjected to is possibly a reference to what Paul describes as sinful flesh, sin, or being carnally minded, or "moral depravity," which has no seemingly productive purpose or result, is vain, and which leads to and results only in death. The English word "willingly" is translated from the Greek word "hekon," which means voluntary, or willingly." The creature was subjected to "vanity" not according to his own will, neither by his own choice or consent. The English word "hope" is translated from the Greek word "elpis," which means "to anticipate, usually with pleasure, expectation, confidence, faith, or hope." When the apostle Paul wrote the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, one translation could easily read "man was subdued, made obedient to, made subject to, and put in subjection to the inutility and transientness of moral depravity, or sin, and it's consequences, not according to his own will, neither by his own choice or consent for the purpose of eliciting anticipation with pleasure, confidence, faith, and hope." But what was the creature to anticipate with pleasure, confidence, faith, and hope. Paul soon tells us.
 
DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION
 
After the apostle Paul wrote that the creature was made subject to vanity for the purpose of bringing hope, he immediately told us why the creature should have hope and what the creature should anticipate with pleasure, confidence, faith, and hope. Paul wrote, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation [both Jews and Gentiles alike] groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they [of Gentile descent], but ourselves [who are of Jewish descent] also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved [as reflected] by hope [regarding the eternal and unseen Kingdom of Heaven]: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (Rom 8:21-24). The English word "delivered" is translated from the Greek word "eleutheroo," which means "to liberate, to exempt from mortal liability, deliver, or make free." The English word "bondage" is translated from the Greek word "douleia," which means "slavery, or bondage." The English word "corruption" is translated from the Greek word "phthora," which means "decay, ruin, corruption, destroy, or perish." Elsewhere in the Scriptures, Paul referred to the resurrection of Christ from the dead as “no more to return to corruption”, and regarding the resurrection of David, he said, For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he,whom God raised again, saw no corruption (Acts 13:36-37). Corruption is symbolic of the decay of the physical body which occurs after death, and to no longer experience decay of the physical body is what follows death for the believer in Christ. The English word "glorious" is translated from the Greek word "doxa," which means "glory (as very apparent), dignity, honour, praise, or worship." The English word "liberty" is translated from the Greek word "eleutheria," which means "freedom, or liberty." Paul explains to Roman believers that the creature is to have hope because he or she has been exempted from moral [and mortal] liability from slavery to death and decay to complete freedom and exemption from death and it's resulting decay. Paul explained this same concept to Timothy when he wrote,Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality [incorruption] to light through the gospel:(2 Tim 1:8-10).
 
WE ARE SAVED BY HOPE
 
When Paul wrote, “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God,” he was preaching and teaching that all creatures, or all believers, both Jewish and Gentile alike, have been unwillingly, and without their permission, subjected to the seeming vanity of sin [and its consequences; i.e., death] for one purpose: to bring hope of deliverance from the inevitability of death and its resultant bodily decay into the apparent, dignified and honorable freedom and liberation from this death and decay. The reason God the Father subjected the believer in Christ to this vanity of sin was to elicit hope, hope in the deliverance from death and decay, a deliverance that only God the Father can deliver. Paul added, For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they [Gentile believers], but ourselves [Jewish believers] also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved [as reflected] by [our] hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it (Rom 8:22-25). The believer is not saved by hope, of course, but by faith (Eph 2:8). Hope in deliverance from the decay of death is simply a reflection of the believer's faith, a hope for and and a faith in the unseen. As the author of the book of Hebrews verified, Now faith is the substance [proof, conviction] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1).  AMEN.
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"If ye then,
being evil, know
how to give
good gifts unto
 your children:
how much more
shall your
heavenly Father
give the Holy
Spirit to
them that
ask him?"
(Luk 11:13)



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