ROMANS 8:18-25 LET’S CONSIDER THAT THE SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT TIME ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED WITH THE GLORY WHICH SHALL BE REVEALED IN US
A. THE GLORY TO BE REVEALED IN US (18-25)
1. Present sufferings don't even compare (18)
2. 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.
· "consider" 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 they understand.
· "the 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; Heb. 11:35-38.
- "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 Rom. 3:23.
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
2. 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 temporary
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 this context.
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 great
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 future.
· "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 John 4:9).
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 it.
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 consummation.
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 now come.
First, the 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 safe delivery.
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.
2. 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.
Paradoxically, of 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 this life 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 conditions. 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 disappoint you.
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 glorious, too.
No wonder the early Christians prayed, “Maranatha!” Come, Lord Jesus!
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.
My personal application for today is:
1. Paul 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 worth it.
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).
3. Knowing that there is an eternal weight of glory waiting, I will try to do what pleases God and hang on in spite of anything