The Now, the Then, and the Meanwhile
I. A DESCRIPTION of our REALITY. (4:16-5:4)
A. The TEMPORARY tent of our BODY. (4:16-5:1)
B. The BODY made NEW. (5:1; I Cor. 15; Rev. 21:5)
C. GROANING in the MEANWHILE. (5:2-4; Rom 8:18-25)
Today we circle back to a passage we skipped over because it’s such a good way to wrap up our series on “A Cruciform Life.” Paul gives us a description of the reality for believers. This inspires hope, but also helps give perspective as we wait for the fulfillment of God’s promise.
1. Kid’s Question: Our physical bodies often limit us. If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?
2. Often we are either indifferent toward our body, we view it as a tool, or we view it as a limitation, or even a curse. Which of these fits best with what Paul is saying here?
II. A PURPOSE, a PROMISE and the RESULT. (5:5-10)
A. We were MADE for this PROCESS. (5:5a; Rom. 8:28)
B. We do not TRAVEL ALONE. (5:5b)
C. Living with CONFIDENCE and DIRECTION. (5:6-10)
This description of our reality is followed by some words of comfort and also direction. If what Paul says in 4:16-5:4 is true, then it has a direct impact on the way we live our lives and the way we view the world.
3. If God has made us for this “meanwhile” process, how does that shift the way you view what you are going through presently?
4. How would you describe your own experience of “traveling” with the Holy Spirit?
5. What does spiritual “confidence” look like? Have you experienced that?
III. LIVING in the MEANWHILE.
A. The POWER of PERSPECTIVE. (v.5; Ps. 139:16)
B. The GIFT of GROANING. (v.4; Romans 8:19-22)
C. Kept SECURE by the SPIRIT. (v.5; Eph. 1:13-14; Jn 16:12-15)
Paul’s vision of our currently reality is compelling because it helps us give words to what we feel and experience on a day to day basis. The question is how to let this truth soak deeply enough in our hearts to shape the way we live in the “meanwhile.”
6. When has a glimpse of a bigger perspective helped you deal with your day to day? How did you get that glimpse?
7. What’s it like for you to think of groaning as a gift? And to see creation groaning as an example of what happens due to sin and death?
8. In what areas of life is God calling you to move toward more of a “cruciform” way of living? How will you respond?