Romans 8:20-24 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. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails 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 sees, why doth he yet hope for?
‘Vanity’ [Greek: mataiotes] disappointing misery. People became vain willingly but became subject to misery unwillingly.
‘Delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God’ this refers to the renovation of the heavens and earth by fire when creation will be rid of all bondage of corruption and made new for the eternal perfect state (2Pet. 3:10-13; Heb. 1:10-12; 12:25-28; Isa. 65:17; 66:22-24; Rev. 21-22).
‘Corruption’ [Greek: phthora] moral corruption, decay, ruin, depravity, wickedness (8:21; 1Cor. 15:42, 50; Gal. 6:8; 2Pet. 1:4; 2:12, 19). Also translated “perish” (Col. 2:22) and “be destroyed” (2Pet. 2:12).
‘The glorious liberty of the children of God’ literally, “freedom of the glory of the children of God – the glory of eternity” (8:18; 1Cor. 2:9).
‘Groans and travails in pain’ Groans and toils in labour and hardship.
‘Not only they, but ourselves also’ – not only the corrupt, depraved creations but we who are redeemed also suffer and wait for the final redemption of the body (1Cor. 15:51-58; Php. 3:21).
‘The firstfruits of the Spirit’ – the first blessings of the outpoured Spirit upon all flesh. Greek: aparche used of the first of several kinds of blessings (8:23; 11:16; 16:5; 1Cor. 15:20, 23; 16:15; Jas. 1:18; Rev. 14:4).
‘Groan’ [Greek: stenazo] to sigh deeply, bewail (8:23; Mark 7:34; 2Cor. 5:2, 4; Heb. 13:17; Jas. 5:9).
‘Adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body’ this adoption refers to the change of our bodies from mortality to immortality. Just like one is adopted from one family to another, saints are to be adopted physically into the family of immortal beings (Php. 3:21; 1Cor. 15:51-58).
‘For we are saved by hope’ in the final analysis, present salvation is a hope. Many things can happen before the final change to immortality and eternal life.