A. THE GLORY TO BE REVEALED IN US
1. Present sufferings don't even compare
The whole creation eagerly waits for the revealing and glorious liberty of the
children of God (19-22)
3. We also eagerly wait with perseverance
for this hope (23-25)
Ro 8:18 For I consider
that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the
glory which shall be revealed in us.
8:18. In one sense this
verse is the conclusion of the preceding paragraph in which believers are
assured of being heirs of Christ’s coming glory. However, Paul reminded his
readers that sharing in the glory of Christ in the future required sharing “in
His sufferings” in this life. But after careful figuring (Logizomai, I consider)
Paul concluded that our present
sufferings are far outweighed by the
glory that will be revealed in (as well as to and through) us. This future glory is so great that
present sufferings are insignificant by comparison. Also the glory is forever,
whereas the suffering is temporary and light (2 Cor. 4:17). Certainly this
truth can help believers endure afflictions. Romans 8:18 also serves as a topic
sentence for the following discussion on the relationship between believers and
the whole Creation, both in their afflictions and in their future glory.
This is literally "add it up." Paul continues to consider the
implications of Christian suffering. This was an accounting term for arriving
at a carefully researched conclusion. This is a recurrent theme in Romans (see
note at Rom. 2:3). Believers must live in the light of the spiritual truths
sufferings" We get some idea of the sufferings
involved in serving Christ from 1 Cor. 4:9-12; 2 Cor. 4:7-12; 6:4-10; 11:24-27;
- "worthy. . .glory" Both of these terms are related
to the OT concept of weight-heavy was valuable. "Worthy" was
from a commercial term that meant "to weigh as much as." The
Hebrew term "glory" was also from a root "to be
heavy," in the sense of being valuable, like gold. See full note at
Its basic meaning is
that which is heavy. It was a commercial term used in transacting purchases
(i.e., scales). It came to have a wide semantic field where the concept of
heavy developed into the weight, worth of persons, places, and things.
II. The Reality of all Suffering V19-21
The whole creation eagerly waits for the revealing and glorious liberty of the
children of God (19-22)
Ro 8:19 For the earnest
expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God
Suffering is only
8:19 "the anxious
longing of the creation waits eagerly" The physical creation is
personified as a person with an outstretched neck searching the horizon.
Creation was negatively affected when Adam and Eve rebelled (cf. Gen. 3:17-19).
All creation will ultimately be redeemed (except for rebellious angels,
unbelieving humans, and their prepared place of isolation,
The verb "waits
eagerly" (present middle [deponent] indicative) appears three times in
1. Rom. 8:19 - creation
waits eagerly for the new age
2. Rom. 8:23 -
believers wait eagerly for new bodies
3. Rom. 8:25 -
believers wait eagerly in hope of the new age
Now, this is the man who has suffered so greatly and this
is the individual who says, "I want you to know that the sufferings of this
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be
revealed in us." If here the greatest suffers says this, what must the
glory be? This same individual is the person who said, "For our light
affliction, which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory." So Paul,
yes, you are the greatest of suffers, and if the greatest of suffers can say,
the glory is not worthy to be even mentioned in this, the glory must be surely
He said, in effect suffering is a drop. Glory is an ocean
Ro 8:20 For the
creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who
subjected it in hope;
Suffering is a
result of the fall
This is not the world
that God intended it to be!
We stand by the Grand
Canyon, and we are awed by what we see, or we for the first time, see the
Atlantic, or Pacific oceans, as we are awed by that great body of water, or
we're in the Alps, and we look and we see one of these magnificent peaks, and
we are awed by that. Well, I want you to know, those great manifestations of
the glory of God stand under the curse. That's what they look like, when they
are under the curse. The creation is longing to be delivered from the curse. It
brings forth thorns and thistles now, but it is truly to be beautiful in the
sons of God" This was a common familial metaphor
used to describe Christians (cf. Rom. 8:14,16). It speaks of God as Father and
Jesus as His unique son (cf. John 1:18; 3:16,18; Heb. 1:2; 3:6; 5:8; 7:28; 1
In the OT Israel was
God's son (cf. Hosea 11:1), but also the King was God's son (cf. 2 Sam. 7).
This concept was first mentioned in the NT in Matt. 5:9 (also cf. John 1:12; 2
Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26; 1 John 3:1,10; Rev. 21:7).
III. A Comparison of Suffering
8:20 in hope.
Ro 8:21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of
corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
What a thrilling
salvation we have: free from the penalty of sin because Christ died for us
(chap. 5); free from the power of sin because we died with Christ to the flesh
(chap. 6) and to the Law (chap. 7); and someday we shall be free from the very
presence of sin when nature is delivered from bondage.
It's God who cursed the creation, but he did it in
hope." Paul says, and the hope is the deliverance, and the he explains
what that means in the 21st verse. "Because the creation itself also shall
be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the
children of God." This creation about us is subjected to the bondage of
decay because it is closely united with the history and destiny of man, and so
when man fell, his creation is cursed. When man finally enters into the
blessing of the Kingdom of God upon the earth, the whole creation shall enter
into that blessing too, shall be renewed. We speak of this as the golden age
Ro 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and
labors with birth pangs together until now.
8:22–23. In one sense
verse 22 is an appropriate conclusion to the preceding paragraph, summing up
the present cursed state of the physical creation. Paul said, We know (oidamen, continuing state of knowledge that grows out of
perception) that the whole Creation has
been groaning as in the pains of childbirth (lit., “keeps on groaning
together and keeps on travailing together”) right up to the present time. The emphasis on “together” in these
verbs does not include believers in Christ, who are specifically mentioned in
verse 23, but involves the various parts of the natural Creation. At the same
time verse 22 introduces this new paragraph, which sets forth the hope of
future deliverance from suffering under the curse of sin.
Since God’s program of salvation for people is one
of a new Creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), the physical world also will be
re-created (Rev. 21:5). This will take place in two stages. First will be the
renovation of the present cosmos in conjunction with the return to earth of the
Lord Jesus and the establishment of the messianic kingdom on earth (Isa.
11:5–9; 35:1–2, 5–7; 65:20, 25; Amos 9:13). The second stage will be creation
of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1; cf. 2 Peter 3:7–13).
IV. The Answer to Suffering V23-25
Ro 8:23 Not only that,
but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the
adoption, the redemption of our body.
We have the Spirit of
adoption, but we are “waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of the
body” (v. 23). The soul has been
redeemed, but not the body. We wait in hope, however, because the indwelling
Spirit is given as “the first fruits” of the deliverance God has for us in the
future. Even if we die, the Spirit who has sealed us unto the day of redemption
(Eph. 1:13–14) will raise our body to life (v. 11).
Isa 11:6-9 Isa
Now, the Lord Jesus is called in his resurrection the
first fruits of the resurrection. That means that there are others that are
going to be resurrected. You remember he says, "First Jesus Christ, then
they who are Christ's at his coming." That is you and I.
A farmer’s “first fruits” were the initial harvesting
of his first-ripened crops. This first installment was a foretaste and promise
that more harvest was to come. Similarly God the Holy Spirit, indwelling
believers, is a foretaste that they will enjoy many more blessings, including
living in God’s presence forever.
You can never
be satisfied with earth if you are a Christian reading the word of God.
But that is a problem, as we saw when we studied that
verse. Sufferings? We would think that it would be the absence of sufferings,
not their presence, that would prove we belong to Christ. If God loves us,
shouldn’t he keep us from suffering? Or isn’t he able to? When things get hard
it is natural that we begin to doubt God’s favor rather than being assured of
That, of course, is why Paul has digressed to talk about
suffering and why he is talking about our groanings now. It is why he has
explained the involvement of creation in our present distress. What he is
saying is that the sufferings we and “the whole creation” endure are the
sufferings of childbirth and are therefore proof that the new age is coming. And
it is why, although we do groan, we do not groan hopelessly. On the contrary,
our groanings intensify our hope and enable us to wait patiently for the
Paul says, not
only does the creation groan, but the children groan too.
we need to see two
things about this human groaning if we are to understand the verses to which we
groaning mentioned in verse 23 is that of believers in Jesus Christ and not
that of all people generally.
Second, the groaning of Christians is not mere grief over the
things. It is expectant grief, that
is, grief that looks forward to a time when all that is causing pain will be
removed and salvation will be consummated. Christian groaning is a joyful grief
that gives birth to a sure hope and patient endurance.
Paul is saying that our
griefs as Christians are like that. We groan, but we do so in expectation of a
24 For we were
saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still
hope for what he sees?
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we
eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
What is striking about
the Christian attitude of hopefulness is that it is a “sure and certain hope”
and not mere wishful thinking. What makes it sure and certain is the content.
The specific content is the return of Jesus Christ together with the things we
have been mentioning in these verses: the resurrection of the body, the
adoption of God’s children, and the gathering of God’s harvest. These things
are all promised to us by God. Hence, the Christian hopes in confidence, a
confidence grounded not in the strength of one’s emotional outlook but on the
sure Word of God, who cannot lie. If God says that these things are coming, it
is reasonable and safe for us to hope confidently in them.
We wait. More specifically, we wait
for them, which is the second verb Paul uses. Verse 23 says, “We wait eagerly.”
Verse 25 says, “We wait … patiently.” It is important to take the two adverbs
together, because biblical “patience” is not passivity. This is an active,
though patient waiting. It expresses itself in vigorous service for Christ even
while we wait for his appearing.
course, it is only these heavenly-minded people who are able to make any real
or lasting difference in the world.
Looking to Jesus
What I am recommending to you is a Christian perspective on
and all we know in it, what the theologians call a world-and-life view. And I
am suggesting, as Paul does, that adopting it will rearrange your values and
change your approach to suffering and the disappointments of life. If you learn
to reason as Paul does, you will experience the following:
1. You will not be
surprised when things go wrong in this life. This world is not a
good place. We live in a fallen environment. Your plans will misfire, you will
often fail, others will destroy what you have spent long years and much toil to
accomplish. This will be true even if you are a Christian and are trying to
follow Jesus. But your successes are not what life is all about. What matters
is your love for God and your faithfulness.
2. You will not place
your ultimate hope in anything human beings can do to improve this world’s
This does not mean that you will fail to do what good you can do in this life
as well as encourage others in their efforts to do good. As a Christian, you
will. But you will not delude yourself into thinking that the salvation of the
world’s ills will be brought about by mere human efforts. You will feed the
poor, but you will know that Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with
you” (Matt. 26:11a). You will pray for your leaders, but you will know that
they are but sinful men and women like yourself and that they will always
3. You will keep your
eyes on Jesus.
Where else can you look? All others are disappointing, and everything is
crumbling about you. Only he is worthy of your trust. He has promised to return
in his glory, and we know that when he does return and we see him in his glory,
we will be like him (1 John 3:2). Moreover, when we are made like him in his
glory, the creation that is also straining forward to that day will become
No wonder the early
Christians prayed, “Maranatha!” Come,
Heb 12:1 Therefore we
also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay
aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run
with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author
and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the
cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of
God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against
Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
personal application for today is:
is personifying nature, of course, but he does not mean that inanimate nature
has personal feelings that correspond to ours. He means only that nature is not
yet all that God has predestined it to be. It is waiting for its true
fulfillment. But if nature is waiting, we should be willing to wait in hope,
too, knowing that a glorious outcome is certain. This is why Christianity is
2. We need to really consider the fact
that this is a drop, the ocean is eternity
“Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an
eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17).
that there is an eternal weight of glory waiting, I will try to do what pleases
God and hang on in spite of anything
Romans 8:17 and
if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we
suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Verses 14–17 contain four proofs of our being sons and daughters of
God, if the Holy Spirit has indeed brought us into God’s family. First,
we are led by God’s Spirit. This refers to our conduct. If we are following
after Christ in true and obedient discipleship, then we are Christ’s and can be
assured of salvation. Second, we have the internal witness of our
spirits by which we cry “Abba, Father.” We know that we have a new
family relationship to God. Third, the Holy Spirit witnesses to us. I
described this as an overwhelming sense of God’s presence, something most
Christians have experienced, though they may not understand it or know how to
describe it. Fourth, we participate in Christ’s sufferings.
We have a heavenly home. The first thing that
comes to mind here is the promise of a heavenly home that Jesus made to his
disciples just before his arrest and crucifixion. He said, “Do not let your
hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are
many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to
prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come
back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1–3
2. We participate in a heavenly banquet. In several of his
parables the Lord spoke of a heavenly banquet to which his own are invited. In
one story he told of a great wedding supper to which many were invited who
later refused to come, and of how the master sent to unexpected places to find
guests (Matt. 22:1–14; cf. Luke 14:15–24). In another parable it is a banquet
prepared for the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32). In still another it is a wedding
feast to which five wise women are admitted and five foolish women are shut out
(Matt. 25:1–13). There are similar but passing references to other occasions of
present our inheritance as joy and secure fellowship. We have a foretaste of
these things in our observance of the Lord’s Supper, which looks forward to the
coming great marriage supper of the Lamb.
3. We Rule with Christ. Another feature of our inheritance is that we
will rule with Jesus in his kingdom. There is some difference among Bible
scholars as to whether this refers to an earthly rule with Christ in some
future age or to a heavenly rule only. But whatever its full meaning, there is
no doubt that some important ruling authority is promised. Paul told Timothy,
“If we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Tim. 2:12). In one of his
parables, Jesus spoke of servants who had shown their faithfulness during their
master’s absence being awarded cities over which to reign in the master’s
kingdom (Luke 19:11–27).
4. We become Like Christ. One of the promised
blessings, which means a great deal to me, is that we will be made like Jesus
himself. John writes about it in his first letter, using language similar to
Paul’s in Romans 8. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will
be has not been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like
him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:1–2). It is hard to imagine a
greater inheritance than to be made like the Lord Jesus Christ in all his
the OT every tribe except Levi received a land inheritance (cf. Joshua 14-22).
The Levites, as the tribe of priests, temple servants, and local teachers, were
seen as having YHWH Himself as their inheritance (cf. Ps. 16:5; 73:23-26;
119:57; 142:5; Lam. 3:24). NT writers often took the rights and privileges of
the Levites and applied them to all believers. This was their way of asserting
that the followers of Jesus were the true people of God and that now all
believers were called to serve as priests to God (cf. 1 Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6),
as the OT asserts of all Israel (cf. Exod. 19:4-6)
They had no inheritance
because, as it was said of them, “the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as
he promised them”
Joshua 13:33 But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.
If the earnest of our inheritance is the Holy Spirit and the
Holy Spirit is God—as he is, being the third person of the Trinity—then the
full inheritance must be God himself.
wonderful words by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. They were
written for preachers to encourage them to keep on in tough times, but the
message is equally good for anyone. It goes like this:
Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a failing world.
Never count upon immutability in man: inconstancy you
may reckon upon without fear of disappointment. The disciples of Jesus forsook
him; be not amazed if your adherents wander away to other teachers: as they
were not your all when with you, all is not gone from you with their departure.
Serve God with all your might while the candle is
burning, and then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to
Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are.
When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide
yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord.
Set small store by present rewards; be grateful for
earnests by the way, but look for recompensing joy hereafter.
Continue with double earnestness to serve your Lord
when no visible result is before you. Any simpleton can follow the narrow path
in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with
infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide.
Between this and heaven there may be rougher weather yet, but it is all
provided for by our covenant Head. In nothing let us be turned aside from the
path which the divine call has urged us to pursue. Come fair or come foul, the
pulpit is our watch-tower, and the ministry our warfare; be it ours, when we
cannot see the face of our God, to trust under the shadow of his wings.
But why should
Paul introduce the idea of suffering,
of all things—and at this point? None of us would do it. If we were trying to
assure Christians that they really are Christians and their salvation is
secure, suffering is probably the last thing we would mention.
So why does Paul
drag the subject in here?
One reason is that he was a realist.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says,
“True evangelism does not offer some panacea for all the ills in our life in
this world; it does not promise to make us perfect in a moment or set the whole
world right. It says rather, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation; but fear
not, I have overcome the world.’ ”
second reason Paul probably introduced the subject is that he must have been
aware of the many non-Christian approaches to suffering that were around. They
were around then, and they are around today. 
1. Anger. One response to suffering is anger. This is common with
unbelievers, who blame or even curse God for their misfortunes. But it is also
sadly true of some Christians. They blame God because he has not done something
for them that they wanted—He has called us to discipleship. The glory is
2. Avoidance. A second approach is avoidance. If the path before them
looks hard or even undesirable, some people turn from it and try to find
something easier or more rewarding. Or, if the path cannot be avoided, they try
to balance it with other things that are more attractive. The Christian form of
it is to ask God to remove the undesirable thing—sickness, for example,
particularly a terminal illness. Christians who take this approach think the
correct way is to ask God to remove the sickness so that afterward they might
praise him for the healing. Of course, it sometimes is God’s will to heal, so
it is not wrong to ask for healing.
3. Apathy. The third non-Christian approach is apathy, detachment from
the problem. It is the attitude that says, “It just doesn’t matter,” and then
tries to think about something else. One form of apathy is stoicism, the
philosophy of the stiff upper lip. Stoicism may help you get by, but it is
joyless and far removed from Christianity.
are two basic things to remember about suffering.
suffering is necessary.
Jesus taught that it was necessary for himself
when he said to the Emmaus disciples, “Did not the Christ have to suffer these
things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24:26). Then he proved that this was
necessary by showing it to them in the Scriptures, beginning with Moses and all
the prophets. Jesus taught that suffering is necessary for us when he said, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you
also” (John 15:20b) and “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33a,
Second, although suffering is necessary
(and has value), suffering is not the end of the story for Christians. Glory
is! If suffering were the end, Christianity would be a form of masochism,
suffering for suffering’s sake. Since it is not the end, since suffering is the
path to glory, Christianity is a religion of genuine hope and effective
The Christian who needs to worry about
suffering is not the one who is suffering, particularly if it is for the sake
of Jesus Christ. The person who should worry is the one who is not suffering, since suffering is a
proof of our sonship, a means for the spread of the gospel, and the path to
let’s hang in there! And let’s encourage one another as we run the race and
fight the long battles.
We need each other, but we have each
other. That is what we are given to each other for. Thus, by the grace of God,
we may actually come to the end of the warfare and be able to say as Paul did
to his young protégé Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished
the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that
day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2
Tim. 4:7–8). May it be so for all God’s people.
2Co 4:8-11, 17-18, 1peter 4:12-14,
1peter 2:20-23, 2cor 11