18For 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 othe 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.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be mthe firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. – (Romans 8:18-30 ESV)
In this section of the book of Romans Paul is describing the happiness that believers can inherit from the future glory. By being adopted into such great fortune. Just like the children of Rockefeller or Trump, the children did not have a choice to be in the family, and they did not do anything to create the wealth of their fathers, but they were greatly blessed financially just by being his kids. That is the same way with us and God. He has created the fortune and we just get to receive it.
These sufferings and trials…
We have all gone through trials in our life. Some more dramatic than others, and we will all face more in our future. There may have been some really bad times in your life. If you are honest, you have probably even declared in the mess of it all, “I will never make it” or “It can’t get any worse than this” or the inevitable: “why is this happening to me?”.
Verse 18 sets us straight. It is almost too raw. Many times we even know this truth but we do not want to remind ourselves of it. We would rather wallow around and focus on our struggles than push through them and learn, grow and mature.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – (Romans 8:18, ESV)
We don’t need to go into all the details, but by now we know that Paul went through way more sufferings than all of us put together. He is so passionate about the reward in heaven that he reiterates it in multiple places through the new testament writings.
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! – (2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT)
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. – (Colossians 3:4 ESV)
God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. – (2 Thessalonians 1:7 NLT)
Peter reminds us of this same fact when he writes:
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. – (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV)
Then if that was not enough from first hand witnesses of the Christ, how about Jesus himself in the Beatitudes…
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – (Matthew 5:11-12 NASB)
Have you ever been in bad situations and used any of these truths to get you through your emotional trauma? If so, how? If not, would it be something to try? Or were you challenged not to?
Paul goes on to describe once again how the things we are going through will be dissolved and how our inheritance as “children of God” pulls us through all our calamity. To help us understand the dynamics of this section more, we can review the three types of “groans” that are referenced in this section.
Creation Groans (v. 18-22)
When God finished His creation, it was a good creation (Gen. 1:31), but today it is a groaning creation. There is suffering and death; there is pain, all of which is, of course, the result of Adam’s sin. It is not the fault of creation. Note the words that Paul used to describe the plight of creation: suffering (Rom. 8:18), futility (Rom. 8:20), bondage (Rom. 8:21), corruption (Rom. 8:21), and pain (Rom. 8:22). However, this groaning is not a useless thing: Paul compares it to like a pregnant woman delivering a child.
There is pain, but the pain will end when the child is delivered. One day creation will be delivered, and the groaning cre- ation will become a glorious creation! The believer does not focus on today’s sufferings; he looks forward to tomorrow’s glory (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:15–18). Today’s groaning bondage will be exchanged for tomorrow’s glorious liberty!
Believers groan (v. 23 -25)
Believers groan because they have tasted the first fruits of the Spirit and can only anticipate what more is to come. We have been set free from some bondage in this life and we anticipate so much more.
Can you share about the freedom that you have already experienced from Christ being Lord of your life?
Paul describes it in more detail in Titus chapter 2:
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. – (Titus 2:11-14 NASB)
Holy Spirit Groans (v 25-30)
God is con- cerned about the trials of His people. When He was ministering on earth, Jesus groaned when He saw what sin was doing to mankind (Mark 7:34; John 11:33, 38). Today the Holy Spirit groans with us and feels the burdens of our weaknesses and suffering. But the Spirit does more than groan. He prays for us in His groaning so that we might be led into the will of God. We do not always know God’s will. We do not always know how to pray, but the Spirit intercedes so that we might live in the will of God in spite of suffering. The Spirit “shares the burden.”
God has two purposes in that plan: our good and His glory. Ultimately, He will make us like Jesus Christ! Best of all, God’s plan is going to succeed!
4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will – (Ephesians 1:4-5 ESV)
It started in eternity past when He chose us in Christ. He predetermined that one day we would be like His Son. Predestination applies only to saved people. Nowhere are we taught that God predestines people to be eternally condemned. If they are condemned, it is because of their refusal to trust Christ.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. – (John 3:18-21 ESV)
Those whom He chose, He called; when they responded to His call, He justified them, and He also glorified them.
God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ESV)
This means that the believer has already been glorified in Christ; the revelation of this glory awaits the coming of the Lord. How can we Christians ever be discouraged and frustrated when we already share the glory of God? Our suffering today only guarantees that much more glory when Jesus Christ returns!