Romans 8:24 – 25
Fundamental for Paul’s concept of hope is the differentiation between justification and salvation; justification marks the beginning of the new life in Christ and sustains it to the end; salvation is the consummation of the gifts already experienced as a foretaste in baptism and in the living of the new life in Christ. This is precisely the point in Rom. 5:1-3, a most crucial text. What the Christian has obtained in this life is ‘access,’ not completed entrance, to God’s grace, and the apostle rejoices in the ‘hope of sharing the glory of God’ at the future consummation. The sign that the believer has access to this grace now is that ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.’ Thus Paul can assert that the ones in Christ who have ‘the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved’ (Rom. 8:23-24). Rom. 8:18-25 is also an important text, for it shows, as all the authentic Pauline references to salvation do, that salvation has a future orientation and is not yet complete (see Rom. 5:9-10; Phil. 3:7-14). It further shows that God’s revelation in Jesus Christ affects not only individuals, but creation itself, which God has subjected in hope ‘because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Rom. 8:19-21).
Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible Dictionary. San Francisco: Harper & Row.