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Summary: “If the suffering we presently endure brings great hardship, cruel and unusual punishment, severe persecution, or even death itself, none of these evils can compare with the heavenly bliss that is awaiting those who are in Christ Jesus.”

(27) The Blessing of Hope

Romans 8:18-25

Scripture

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.

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits 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.

The Blessing of Hope

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.

The verse can be restated this way: “If the suffering we presently endure brings great hardship, cruel and unusual punishment, severe persecution, or even death itself, none of these evils can compare with the heavenly bliss that is awaiting those who are in Christ Jesus.”

The greatest shame we may endure for Christ here on earth will be a mere trifle when He calls us forth and publicly acknowledges us before the hosts of heaven. Even the excruciating pain of the martyrs will seem like pinpricks when the Savior graces their brows with the crown of life. Elsewhere Paul speaks of our present sufferings as light afflictions which are only for a moment, but he describes the glory as an exceeding and eternal weight—“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). If we could only appreciate the glory that is going to be ours, we could consider the sufferings along the way as trivia! I suppose no person, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, ever suffered as Paul suffered. Paul was beaten, he was stoned, and he was dragged outside the city and left for dead. That was only a part of what he went through. After reading about the terrible afflictions, which the Apostle Paul endured, it may seem hard for us to understand how he could speak of them as light affliction. In one sense, they were not at all light. They were bitter and cruel. However, the explanation lies in the comparison, which Paul makes. The afflictions viewed by themselves might be heavy, but when compared with the eternal weight of glory that lies ahead, they are light. Our sufferings and glory are closely identified with Christ’s sufferings and glory. If we suffer with Him, we will be glorified with Him; but if we deny Him, He will deny us. “If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Tim. 2:12). In addition, the light affliction lasts only a moment, whereas the glory is eternal. The lessons we learn through afflictions in this world will yield rich fruit for us in the world to come.

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Paul personifies the whole creation (that is, all that God has created) as eagerly looking forward to the time when we will be revealed to a wondering world as the sons of God. This will be when the Lord Jesus returns to reign and we return with Him. That will take place at the beginning of the Millennium (Christ’s thousand-year earthly reign). At that time, the curse will be lifted and the earth will be restored to how it was before sin entered the world.

When He comes, He will be revealed in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. There will be no doubt that it is He, for according to Revelation 1:7, “and every eye shall see Him…and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” He will come in the clouds and great glory; and we (the bride of Christ, the true church) will come with Him. I am not referring here to the Rapture, but to the Second Coming (the Revelation). Jesus comes first for His church, in the Rapture; then He will come in great glory in the Revelation, with His church, “and every eye shall see Him.” Jude speaks of His coming with ten thousands of His saints (Jude 14). Paul says that creation eagerly waits for this event to happen. The word creation means all of God’s creation below the human level. Creation must be restored, because sin brought distortion, not only to humankind but also to the universe in which he lives.

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