Sermon: Future Glory Outweighs Present Suffering (Part 1) Romans 8:16-30

Future Glory Outweighs Present Suffering (Part 1)

Romans 8:16-30

Truth Taught- As believers we must wait in anticipation as we long for our future glory

Introduction

This section of Romans has Paul making a very bold claim. He begins speaking about suffering in this world. He has in mind all types of suffering but especially suffering that is a result of serving Christ; suffering for righteousness sake.

He further states that while we suffer our salvation is made more evident. How we suffer is great proof that our salvation is genuine. So, he makes his bold statement that eternal glory outweighs temporal suffering. Then we will see that he gives us three proofs of this truth and then we will conclude with the results of this truth.

So, beloved it’s important early on that you get this truth fixed in your mind because you are going to need it in this life. Is eternal glory worth present suffering? That’s a question we all must answer for ourselves because this world is full of suffering and pain.

So, we’ll see Paul’s declaration of truth, three proofs of that truth and then the result of believing that truth.

This section is in direct opposition to the health wealth gospel many promote today. Their version comes not from the Bible but from their own evil lusts. To tell someone that they will have no more pain and suffering in this world if they would only a) become a Christian or b) give so much money is a gospel from hell itself not the Good News found in the Bible. False preachers like Joel Olsten who say Come to Jesus and you wont suffer anymore are in direct opposition to what the Bible says.

Romans 8:16–17 (ESV)

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

The truth is more like, come to Jesus and your suffering in this life may, in fact, be worse. Satan may ask to sift you like wheat…and God might let him! Just ask Job or the Apostle Peter.

The true gospel will not fill churches and that’s why its not preached in many circles. It’s not popular, it’s not appealing to the masses, it won’t grow a mega church but it will grow the Kingdom of God. Beloved don’t be disillusioned by other people’s false gospel.

Romans 8:16–30 (ESV)

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

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.

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 the 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.

  1. The Declaration of Truth: Future Glory Outweighs Present Suffering

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

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.

Future glory is worth temporal suffering. When Paul uses the word glory for us he has in mind our future sinless Christlikeness. Becoming and being like Christ in sinless perfection is what Paul refers to as our glory. He is talking about longing and greatly anticipating our future Christlikeness not longing for and anticipating going to heaven. One day all of God’s people will be really like Jesus in righteousness and perfection. This is the glory he speaks of here.

We might wish things were different. We might wish God would remove suffering in our lives and in the world. While it is here it remains to some degree a mystery. God has purpose in our suffering as He had purpose in Job’s suffering. In other words, God is doing something in our pain. Often in pain and suffering, He causes us to rely on Him more, He is showing us that our salvation is genuine because we are persevering through suffering, He is making us more like Christ in every way because even Jesus suffered. Many other things may be going on in our suffering but one thing is clear, God is doing something through it.

We are shown also, that the pathway to eternal glory must come through temporal suffering. This is true for us as it was true for Jesus. What’s very odd is that when we compare the Bible to our thinking and reasoning they especially don’t match up here on this subject.

Suffering is the doorway through which God’s people must walk on their way to eternal glory. Ease and comfort is the doorway Satan has to tempt us with and this door leads to eternal destruction.

We are clearly told in God’s Word that eternal glory is ours IF we suffer along with Christ. He suffered and was glorified so too if we are to someday be glorified it will involve some level of suffering.

The temptation of Jesus was all about Satan offering Jesus ease and comfort as the road to eternal glory instead of God’s way, which included the cross. As we consider this subject we would do well to equate suffering and God’s work on our way to glorification and equate comfort and ease with Satan’s hand leading to eternal destruction. That sounds backwards doesn’t it?

With Paul’s statement, we see even another purpose God has for our suffering at times…

As Christians we must see with eyes of faith the reality that what we have been promised as God’s children so far outweighs temporal suffering that we are more than willing to endure struggles in this world while we wait for our glory to be revealed someday. This, is how God is glorified in our suffering…when we suffer and still remain steadfast we show the world that our heavenly Father is worth it.

That’s the question we must answer…is the Father worth temporal suffering? Is future glory worth temporal suffering? Is Jesus Christ worth temporal suffering? When we speak of suffering we are speaking of significant suffering at times. Suffering that results in groaning and tears.

There was a time when some of Jesus’ early followers saw the cost involved in following Him and weighed their suffering against eternal glory and left Jesus.

For them in one case Jesus’ teaching was too hard for them so they left. Beloved, do you know what the teaching was that caused the mass exodus from Jesus? When He taught on election and God’s sovereignty in salvation…

John 6:64–70 (ESV)

64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”

So for us we must conclude that to wait for eternal glory to be revealed is very much worth it. While we wait we, at times, suffer and even groan while we anticipate the glory that God has for all who are His.

Paul claims that the sum total of all human suffering in this age is like dust in the scales when being weighed against the eternal glory that is to be revealed in the people of God. This claim is so massive that he gives three cosmic proofs to qualify it…

  1. Creation Waits with Eager Longing to Be Set Free From Corruption

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.

Did you know that not only will we someday be glorified and freed eternally from corruption and sin but also all of God’s creation, on that day, will experience glorification? All of creation, which includes this world and everything in it, will someday be a partaker of Glory. In a very real sense the entire planet will someday be freed from the curse and corruption.

When God spoke the curse to Adam and Eve, it included the entire earth.

Genesis 3:17–19 (ESV)

17 And to Adam he said,

       “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife

and have eaten of the tree

       of which I commanded you,

‘You shall not eat of it,’

       cursed is the ground because of you;

in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

18    thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;

and you shall eat the plants of the field.

19    By the sweat of your face

you shall eat bread,

       till you return to the ground,

for out of it you were taken;

       for you are dust,

and to dust you shall return.”

No more Garden of Eden, now the earth will be cursed because of man’s sin. One day, however, the earth will be released from its bondage to corruption and it will once again be the Garden of Eden…the entire earth will be a garden remade and glorified.

Paul says that even the world waits in anticipation…

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

How do we know eternal glory outweighs temporal suffering? Creation is currently waiting eagerly anticipating the day. The language is that it is looking about searching for the day. When Paul uses creation he means the entire lower order of things, the subhuman creation. Why is creation so eager for this?

Because it is subjected to futility…pointlessness. Because of the curse, creation has lost much of its purpose. What’s the point? What’s the point of Spring when a few months later winter appears? What’s the point of life when death is shortly to follow?

It waits in anticipation even while groaning because the sons of God will be revealed one day, glorification one day, and the earth will be remade one day and this is worth temporal suffering. Creation groans as it suffers. These are not groans of death but groans anticipating glory.

22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. We see that Paul uses the example of a mother giving birth…these groans are not death groans but groans that are about to bring forth life.

Creation waits and groans in corruption and futility eagerly anticipating the day…

Revelation 21:5 (ESV)

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

  1. Believers Wait with Eager Longing to Be Set Free From Corruption

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.

Within a groaning creation is a groaning church. We also wait. Our groaning comes from the fact that like creation we have promises of future glory while we are in the middle of our sinful corrupt flesh. The source of our groaning is the Holy Spirit that indwells us. We are the firstfuits of the Spirit.

We wait for the promise of our resurrected glorified bodies. The Holy Spirit bears witness to our Spirit that we are the sons of God but it hasn’t happened yet. So we still live in a corrupt body and a corrupt world waiting for the glory to be revealed.

The Holy Spirit seals us until the day of our completed salvation. He is the pledge of our inheritance. We have all the promises of God and we wait. While we wait often times we suffer to the point of groaning. We wait for our adoption and resurrection. We know it will happen and in God’s mind it already has happened but we are still waiting; still here in the sinful world. So, is this temporal suffering worth putting up with while we wait for eternal glory?

This is the hope he speaks of. We wait in hope. This is not like I hope it happens but an eternal hope. It will happen but hasn’t happened yet.

The pledge of the Holy Spirit is the foretaste we need to keep waiting with anticipation. He is the sample, theater preview, and the down payment, just a small taste of what’s coming. So, we long for the promised future when we will be with Christ, in a perfect place in a sinless glorified body. Even though we wait and sometimes groan as we suffer we not only wait but also we wait with hope.

Revelation 22:20 (ESV)

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

  1. God Waits with Eager Longing for the Day His Children are Set Free

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.

In this third example that eternal glory does outweigh temporal suffering we see God the Holy Spirit who is indwelling us prays for us the things God would have us pray. Here is an amazing truth. God the Holy Spirit is also groaning while eagerly waiting for our final redemption and prays to that end.

The spirit of the believer is God oriented but our corrupt flesh is self-oriented and sinful. When we pray all too often, our flesh takes control and we pray for selfish things. The Holy Spirit as it were, pushes our flesh out of the way and voices a proper prayer to God on our behalf. His prayers revolve around the coming of God’s Kingdom, the final redemption of God’s people, and our glorification. He too is groaning as He reprays our selfish fleshly prayers. He also knows that all of the promises are coming and ready to be revealed but as for right now God prays to God for us.

The Holy Spirit praying for us is a deep godly prayer. Who best to know what prayer God wants His people to pray than God, Himself. If God prays for us God’s prayer to God the answer will be forthcoming.

Does future glory outweigh temporal suffering? God thinks so. So, we see creation suffering and groaning waiting with eager anticipation for the day of glory, we see a suffering church groaning and waiting with eager anticipation for the future day of glory and we see God the Holy Spirit waiting and groaning in prayer for the saints also waiting eagerly for the final day of redemption.

Application-

When we suffer we are being made fit for glory. When we suffer we are making God’s glory know to others. When we suffer our salvation is being proven real to us and others. When we suffer we are preaching to the world that this present suffering in not to be compared with the eternal glory that is coming. Preach this truth hard as you suffer.

Next time, Lord willing, we will see how these truths affect how we live in this current time of suffering. Knowing that God has a purpose in it is how we endure and persevere through it.

 

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