Summary: This concept of future glory in relation to present suffering becomes the theme of our present passage. The afflictions which we are call on to endure are not only consistent to being a child of God but may come because we are a child of God. But they co
ROMANS 8: 18-25-27
THE HOPE OF GLORY
The preceding verse introduced the thought of participating in the suffering of Christ so that we may participate in the glory of Christ (8:17). This concept of future glory in relation to present suffering becomes the theme of our present passage. The afflictions which we are call on to endure are not only consistent to being a child of God but may come because we are a child of God. But they come with plan and purpose. For God is using our present sufferings to prepare and fit us for glory.
In Christian suffering the Spirit of God creates hope of this future glory. Hope is the middle ground between the suffering of earth and the promises of God. The hope of God does not deny our present circumstances but engenders confidence that God's purpose and promises will prevail making us not only fit for heaven but fit for heaven's glory.
This hope of glory is so grand that it includes the destiny of the whole created order. And what glory that will be. So wondrous an event that all redeemed creation groans with childbirth pains as it awaits the glorious birth of eternity.
I. SUFFERING'S HOPE, 18.
II. CREATION'S HOPE, 19-22.
III. REDEMPTION'S HOPE, 23-25.
I. SUFFERING'S HOPE - is for Incomparable Glory, 18.
The section begins with a pronouncement that future glory outweighs present suffering in verse 18. "For I am convinced that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed into us.
The opening verb is significant. The Greek word translated "consider" means "a firm conviction reached by rational thought on the basis of the Gospel" [Osborne, Grant. Romans. Downers Grove, IL. InterVarsity Press, 2004. Pp 210] Based on God's truth Paul arrives at a settled conviction. Today let's consider the powerful truth that future glory is found in relation to present suffering for it can change our lives.
If one reads such passages as 2 Cor.1:8-10; 4:7-12; 16-18; 11:23 to 12:10 he can add up some of what Paul suffered in Christ's service. Even while writing this letter he was preparing to leave on a mission to Jerusalem that would endanger his life (Rom 11:31). Yet he insists that the sum total of these trials does not deserved to be even mentioned in the same breath with His coming glory.
It is as if the Apostle has a scale or balance before him. On one side he places "the sufferings of this present time" and on the other "the glory that is to be revealed to us or "into us." When the glory that is to be revealed is place on the scale it makes all our present sufferings, though they be ever so server, insignificant. Future glory is so great that present sufferings are incidental by comparison. For this glory is forever, whereas our suffering is temporary and light (2 Cor. 4:17). Certainly this truth can help believers endure afflictions.
In this context the sufferings include all suffering that has come as a result of the fall. All pain (physical, mental and emotional), sickness, disappointment, unemployment, poverty, frustration, etc.. All that we suffer until Christ comes again.
The glory is that which is to be revealed [apokalúpt ] "into" (eis) us. When Christ comes His glory will come to us and will be revealed in us. We will not only participate in the glory, we will be part of it. The Angels will behold it in us, and will be filled with thanksgiving and praise to God.
Praise be to God, for we will be part of the radiance of the coming glory which properly seen should make our present suffering seem short and light. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (17) For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (18) So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
A wonderful Christian as he was breathing his last, seemed to look out through the shutter as he exclaimed, "Glory! Glory! Glory!" His wife looked out too and commented, "Yes, it is a glorious sunset. Shall I open the shutters wider to see it better" "My dear," he replied, "I have seen far, far beyond the sunset."
Emperor Nero was fascinated by the look of glory on the faces of a small band of Christians going to their death in the coliseum. After prayer they looked up and gazed far out into the beyond. Wondering Nero said to an aide, "They see something." Yes sire" the aide replied, "they see the glory of the resurrection from the dead."