Summary: "Groaning" and suffering are inevitable characteristics for the Christian on the Road to Glory because we are being transformed into the image of Christ.
On the Road to Glory
Intro: Who suffers? SINNERS SUFFER, BUT SO DO SAINTS.
I. Groaning as we Grow (vs. 19-23)
1. The Creation suffers and groans, and waits for its re-creation and OURS.
2. The Saints suffer and groan too: Groaning is the deep inner sigh of the soul.
3. We have the FIRSTFRUIT of the Spirit of God and SHOULD BE “groaning” to receive the FULLNESS of LIFE.
4. We give our Firstfruits and promise to give MUCH MORE because God has given us HIS FIRSTFRUITS, and He promises to give MUCH MORE.
II. Hoping for the UNSEEN (vs.24-25)
1. Hope is the joyful and confident expectation of the fulfillment of God’s promises.
2. Our hope is on a PERSONAL and COMMUNITY level.
3. Our True Hope is Jesus.
III. Depending on the Holy Spirit’s intercession (vs.26-27)
1. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us: He speaks to God on our behalf.
2. The Holy Spirit gives the words to Jesus when we have no words.
3. The Holy Spirit gives strength to the weak, guidance to the lost and frustrated.
How we utilize our time effectively is very important in life. Romans 8 describes the spiritual timeline in the believer’s life, from the time that we are saved by God’s Love and Grace UNTIL the time we will die. For Disciples of Jesus, it is our present life story and struggle.
The setting is Romans 8:16:17: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
Our suffering with CHRIST reminds us that we will also be glorified with CHRIST. We will share in HIS honor, splendor, brightness, magnificence, excellence, dignity, and grace. The eighth beatitude in Matthew 5:11 affirms this characteristic of Kingdom Living : "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Romans 8:18: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
In Christ, the sufferings that we endure NOW, cannot be compared IN ANY WAY to what we WILL RECEIVE in HIM SOMEDAY. Who is Paul’s audience here? The Christians in Rome. He does not tell them that they are going to be free from sufferings (“pathçma” are, first of all, external diseases, calamities, evils, afflictions. Do you know any Christians who are hurting or sick? That’s not abnormal; it’s the norm: SINNERS SUFFER sickness, BUT SO DO SAINTS.
There are Christian doctors and nurses because people in general have to deal with “suffering”. Christians are not called into the medical field to only help unbelieving sinners
“Groaning” as we Grow
Vs.19 “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, (the creation doesn’t suffer on account of its choice to SIN, but because of Man’s sin.Sin brought death & decay to the WHOLE creation) but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”
Vs. 23 “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
The creation (19-22) is personified here as SUFFERING like a woman during Childbirth; As the creation waits for the completion of the Adoption of the Children of God it suffers and groans, and waits for its re-creation and for OURS. According to God’s Timeline, after he has recreated His remnant of true believers, He will recreate the Heavens and Earth.
The earth is not groaning alone: The Saints suffer and groan, too, waiting expectantly for their new bodies. Groaning is not grumbling and mumbling about things and stuff. It is not looking around you and wishing that things were better. Groaning is the inner SIGH of the SOUL that you are not yet complete. (the root word is thought to mean to make straight, be narrow, or to establish.)
2 Corinthians 5:2-4 says: “For indeed in this house (this BODY) we groan, longing (we have the strongest of desires) to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven. Inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.”