Paul had just described in v. 23 that all of creation is groaning for deliverance. Now he brings that down home: “And not only they, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23).
Having received the “first fruits” [there will be many more to follow], we also are doing the same groaning in our inner selves as we struggle with our own deaths, failures, and unfairness. Life just isn’t fair.
Those of us who have the Spirit already have received the first stage of our redemption, having our sins and offenses washed away by Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross. I’m now free from my past!
The second stage of our redemption is when we were adopted into the family of God, where we become insiders with all the saints across all denominational lines. We’re in this journey together and we need each other.
But the third stage of our redemption is the redemption of our bodies, also called the resurrection. There is a day in the future when our souls will leave this life of vanity and enter the presence of the Lord. Or, hopefully, the rapture of the church occurs before that. But Revelation 20 describes a day when the righteous shall have new, glorified bodies. All tears shall be wiped away and all physical ailments will be gone.
In the meanwhile, we patiently wait with optimistic hope for that day.