Summary: God takes everything in our life-good and evil, and works it together for good in his purpose for our life.
A. There is a longing in humans that leads them to want something better and to believe there is more to life than experienced on earth.
B. While we don’t necessarily want to die to attain the better experience, believers maintain taking this step is the only way to gain that reality.
C. In these verses, Paul will contrast our present suffering with our future state of existence.
I. God’s Grace Leads Us To Anticipate A Better Day (vv. 18-25)
A. Our present suffering will not compare to our future glory.
1. Believers endure different types of suffering.
2. We can suffer through various types of persecution that come because of our faith stand.
3. We can also suffer emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
4. Much of our suffering comes from living in a world diseased by sin.
5. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the consequences not only affected them and their physical descendants but also the world.
6. Jesus referenced this when he instructed people to store their treasures in heaven where moth and rust could not destroy and where thieves could not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)
7. God also told Adam he had placed a curse on the ground. He would struggle to make a living from it, and it would produce thistles and thorns. By the sweat of his brow, he would produce fruit and then he would die and return to the ground from which he came. (Genesis 3:17-19)
8. It is easy to notice the decay surrounding us. Things don’t last. This results from the effects of sin. We might even lump natural disasters into the group of sin’s effects. Floods, famine, disease, earthquakes, and drought are all parcel to existence on earth.
9. Since believers live in a fallen world, we are subject to the consequences of living here. Yet we look for a future that will be radically different.
10. Our suffering, which is a sharing in what Christ went through, prepares us for our future glory with him.
11. Suffering also refines us. When we respond in the correct manner, suffering will lead us to greater dependence on Christ and help us grow in our spiritual walk. God can and does teach us many important lessons through times of hardship and suffering.
12. God’s Word gives us snippets of what heaven will be like, and there is a stark difference between this description and what we experience here.
13. John describes the new heaven and earth as void of sorrow, death, crying, pain and sin. (Revelation 21:4-8)
B. Creation also groans for deliverance (vv. 19-22)
1. Even the inanimate object of creation groans for deliverance from the curse of sin. Creation refers to all things beneath humanity: animal, plant and mineral.
2. Creation is not what it originally was or what it will eventually be.
3. After God created, he pronounced all things good. A good God could create nothing less. It was perfect for it had been created by him and for his purpose. (Genesis 1)
4. While God is allowing sin to run its course presently, the day will arrive when believers and God’s creation will be delivered from sin’s curse.
5. Knowing God will eventually bring a new heaven and earth gives us reason for optimism.
6. While we do not worship mother earth, we care for her because we worship her creator.
7. Many theologians, myself included, feel God may not totally obliterate this earth but will purge it of all that is evil and renew it as it originally was. The good elements may well survive the purging process which gives us incentive to care for the earth God allows us to live on. This, by the way, was his original instruction to Adam and Eve.
8. Paul compares the groaning to the pains of childbirth (v. 22). The pain can be severe but the joy that comes afterward because of new life more than compensates for the pain. In like manner, our pain and suffering is temporary, and what lies ahead will far outweigh anything we have to face presently.
C. Believers wait patiently and confidently for deliverance. (vv. 23-25)
1. Like the creation, we also groan for deliverance. It will come at death or at the Second Coming, whichever occurs first.
2. We tend to place all our focus on heaven, forgetting there is a new earth involved too. I think we will probably have access to both.
3. We don’t like the pain or suffering we have to endure because of the effects of sin.
4. To assuage us and help us endure, God has given the presence of the Holy Spirit.
5. God’s Spirit comforts in our times of agony and assures us there is a better day coming. He guides in all our life decisions. He is our comforter, teacher, guide and the seal of God’s ownership. Our eternity is secure.