Summary: A STUDY OF ROMANS 8:16-23 WHERE PAUL COMPARES THE SUFFERINGS OF THIS LIFE WITH THE ETERNAL GLORY THEY BRING
Romans 8:16-23 – The Groaning & The Glory
16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18. For I reckon 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 creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Charlie Brown illustration. Charlie was about to kick a field goal and Lucy held the ball. When Charlie kicked, she moved the ball. He kicked so hard that he flew into the air and landed flat on his back with a groan, "Aaaaargh."
We all groan while in this body for a variety of reasons.
In the Scripture, three things are groaning: The whole creation, we ourselves, and the Holy Spirit. Today we will consider the first two. Next week we will look at the groanings of the Holy Spirit.
I. The suffering is not worth comparing with the glory:
a. Paul knew a lot about suffering.
i. II Cor. 11:23-28 “23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”
b. One of three things he wanted to know
i. Phil. 3:7-11 “7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
c. Acts 16:16ff records an event the Philippians would have remembered from the time Paul was in their town.
i. The Church was composed completely of women. V. 13. Every congregation needs some men. God gave Paul and Silas an opportunity to evangelize a jailor.
ii. But they paid a great price in suffering to do it. 22-24. They endured the kind of beating Jesus went through in the movie, "The Passion."
iii. He could say it was worth it because the groaning is not worth comparing with the glory.
d. There will come an end to all suffering. Things are not now as they will be.
i. I Jn. 3:2 “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
ii. Think about this verse when you are aching in body and groaning in spirit because of sickness or injury.
iii. Think of it when you visit someone in the hospital or nursing home.
iv. When some brother or sister in Christ breaks your heart, slanders you, betrays you.