Summary: In this sermon we see that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because we have the hope of future glory.
The first verse of the greatest chapter in the Bible—Romans 8:1—says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Everything else that follows in the rest of Romans 8 tells us why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The first reason why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because there is no condemnation from the law. That is what the Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 8:1-4.
The second reason why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because we have been delivered from the flesh (or “the sinful nature,” as some versions put it). That is what the Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 8:5-11.
The third reason why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because we are now the children of God. That is what the Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 8:12-17.
Today, we see a fourth reason why there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and it is because there is the hope of future glory. We see this in Romans 8:18-25:
Let’s read Romans 8:18-25:
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing 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 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:18-25)
What do you think about suffering?
Are you a stoic? Do you just grit your teeth and endure it? Are you bitter and cynical? Have you been through so much that your heart has become hardened or bitter? Are you angry with God? Have the circumstances in which you have found yourself left you feeling betrayed, deserted, or let down? Or are you just numb, and you don’t know what you think about suffering because it’s been so intense that you don’t have any feelings left?
What do you think about suffering?
For the Apostle Paul it’s very important that Christians think correctly about suffering. He talks a lot about suffering, not just in Romans, but in all of his writings.
Why does Paul talk about suffering? Because he knows that suffering is an attendant reality to our human experience in this fallen world. And he knows that our response to suffering will, in large measure, indicate the quality of our joy in this fallen world. And so he knows that it’s vital for us to have right views on suffering and to respond to it. That’s what Romans 8:18-25 is about.
Today, I want to look at Romans 8:18-25 and see four truths that Paul wants us to learn about suffering. It’s not a total theology of suffering. He has more to say about suffering elsewhere. But, he gives us four truths concerning suffering that he wants us to learn:
1. We suffer because we live in a fallen world,
2. Our sufferings pale in comparison to glory,
3. The whole creation suffers too, and
4. Christians persevere in confident anticipation.
I. We Suffer Because We Live in a Fallen World (8:18a)
First, we suffer because we live in a fallen world. Paul talks in verse 18a about “the sufferings of this present time.”
When Paul talks about sufferings (pathemata) we need to understand that “suffering takes many forms: physical pain, frustrated hopes, depression, isolation, loneliness, grief, anxiety, spiritual crisis, and more.”
Furthermore, suffering affects everyone. No-one is exempt from suffering. Non-Christians suffer. And Christians suffer too.
Just because we have been justified by God’s grace, just because we are children of God, just because we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are not thereby guaranteed a painless life of bliss.
Paul wants us to pause and contemplate that life in the Spirit does not mean an absence of suffering. Life in the Spirit is accompanied by suffering as we live in this fallen world.