Summary: This is the 15th of 30 studies on the Book of Romans and talks about the amazing love God has for us.
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. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now.
Paul had just said that if we are willing to suffer with Christ, then we will also share in His glory – referring to us sharing heaven with Him. Now he goes on to say that the sufferings (whatever shape or form they take in our lives) are in no way comparable with the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven. He seems to tell us to endure these sufferings with the expectation of our eternal glories in mind. When we have this eternal perspective in mind, it helps us endure the daily struggles we face. It’s like an athlete taking every step in a race better when he has the finish line in mind than if he were to only have the next few steps in mind.
He goes on to say that not only are we, as believers looking forward to the glory to be revealed, but that the whole of creation seems to be eagerly waiting for the sons of God to be revealed.
When God cursed the ground, he subjected it to man’s destructive ways where man has, and continues to ravage the earth for his own selfish ends, and therefore the earth seems to fulfil no noble purpose except to be destroyed by man. But God caused this to happen only after Adam sinned. He did this in the hope that one day it would be delivered from decay and the misuse of man, when the children of God are revealed.
All of the elements of nature seem to be working in ways that are not as predictable as they used to be, and though man may blame himself for this climate change, there seems to be a divine reason for this occurrence. It seems like nature itself is in birth pangs, waiting to give birth to a new earth.
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. 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.
Not only is nature groaning waiting for a rebirth, but we who are saved by God and have been born again by the Holy Spirit, are also groaning within ourselves, waiting for this final step of adoption as children of God, to take place. At this time, our bodies too will be redeemed, when we receive a new and glorious body. It is with this hope that we were saved in the first place.
But if we see what we hope for, then we can’t really call it hope, can we? But, when we hope for something that we do not see, that’s true hope, and in that case, we wait for it with patience and perseverance. We won’t give up, but will eagerly expect it to happen one day.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Not only is nature groaning waiting for the revelation of the children of God; not only are we groaning within ourselves waiting for the same thing, but the Holy Spirit is also groaning on our behalf as He intercedes to God on our behalf. For there are times of weakness in our lives, when we do not know how we are to pray. We may not even find words to pray, and it’s in those times that the Holy Spirit prays to the Father on our behalf, with groanings that cannot be uttered.
Now God, who searches the hearts of all people, also knows the mind of the Holy Spirit who is making intercession on behalf of us, whose hearts may be broken, and disturbed, because of the situations they are in. These intercessions are based on the will (desire) of God. So even when there are times that we do not know what, and how to pray, we can be assured that the Holy Spirit is praying on our behalf, and praying according to the will of God at that. The best prayers one can pray are those that are in accordance with the will of God, and when we don’t know that will, it’s really comforting to know that we have an Intercessor that is praying accordingly for us.