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. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 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. 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? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Romans 8:18-25)
When counting the cost of following Christ, one must consider what it means to suffer with Him. Will we do it … are we willing to suffer according to the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2)? Can we do it … shall we stand in suffering’s face, or will we stumble and fall?
Answering our own self-doubts is easier when we look at things from the perspective of future, eternal glory. When present sufferings are compared with what God has in mind for His sons and daughters, any and all present sufferings seem like nothing. They vanish in the light of what God has promised to us. Yes, it is true … a future glory beyond all description awaits faithful believers, therefore we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
This hope is the key in dealing with life as it is in this fallen world. Hope is confident expectation. The believer confidently expects God to fulfill His promises. Why even the material creation hopes for a far better day, even though it suffers the futility and groaning of the present bondage which resulted from the curse of sin (Genesis 3:17-19).
The groaning of the believer is due to the weakness of the flesh. He longs to be delivered, to receive his new body. When this happens, the redemption of the believer is complete (1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 2 Corinthians 5:1-4). Right now, the only unredeemed part of his existence has to do with the body.
Our confident expectation of our future redemption came to us when we were saved. We were born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1:3), a hope which is invisible to us now, and for which we patiently wait with complete expectation. Like a child waiting for the family trip to Disneyland, there is no doubt that it will happen. It is just a matter of time.
For Further Review
1. In your own life, have you considered the cost of suffering with Christ? How does God motivate us to go through with it?
2. Think about and briefly describe some of the ways the creation groans, and then the reason believers groan within themselves. What does creation and believers have in common re: the way this groaning occurs?
3. What is hope, Biblically speaking? How does Biblical hope differ from mere wishful thinking? What is your hope based upon?
4. What are some benefits of hope? How does Biblical hope help us in our present lives here on earth?
Subscribe by Email
- 58,287 hits