Sermon: Future Glory Outweighs Present Suffering (Part 3) Romans 8:18-30

Future Glory Outweighs Present Suffering (Part 3)

Romans 8:18-30

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

Introduction

Last time we saw some amazing truths that Paul gives us as believers that show us the steadfast love of God toward all believers. He has already given us an amazing assessment of many ways God loves His children.

In Chapter 5 he wrote to us about our peace with God through Jesus Christ. In 5 and 6 we were told of our union with Christ by faith. In chapter 7 we are taught that we are no longer under the Law but are made partakers of Grace through Christ. Last time we looked at the truth that for believers all things bring about God’s eternal decree, which is to make us like Christ in every aspect. Now, we are given a very crucial large sweep of the scheme of salvation from start to finish.

We saw the reality of suffering and the promise Paul gives us that for those who love God suffering is not meaningless and not random. God causes everything that comes our way and He does so with our ultimate good in mind.

We learned that when we read that everything works together for good, it is good from God’s perspective. The good He has in mind is to make us more like Jesus Christ. We looked at God’s purpose in suffering in great detail as we sample various passages that explain the purpose of God ordained suffering…

If you remember, we saw things like…bringing us to repentance, stronger commitment, stronger obedience, cause us to rely more on Christ, become more Christ-like, to bring us comfort, and to allow us to comfort others so that they may be saved.

Today, we are going to be looking at Romans 8:29-30 in the proper context of the entire passage. Lord willing we will see five undeniable affirmations of God’s love expressed to all believers.

We know we are children of God because we, like Paul, creation, the Church, and God the Holy Spirit are waiting with great anticipation our final future glorification, which again is the day when we will be sinless like Jesus.

So, it’s in light of these promises we too can say with Paul that future glory outweighs present suffering.

As believers, we can endure present suffering because it’s making us like Jesus. We see all the examples of others who are waiting for our glory to be revealed. We can endure because we are seeing progress in sanctification; we see that we are, in fact, making headway. We’re not like those who left Jesus when things got hard. We’re not those who sprung up but then withered away. We have been planted in good soil and are persevering toward eternal glorification.

Today, I want us to look at all this from God’s perspective. Once He begins to save us He continues working until the day we are glorified.

Future glory outweighs present suffering because God has secured our glorification. He promises to see us through to the end. Beloved if you have trusted Christ and have believed all He said in His Word your eternal future is secure. You cannot be lost because God has made you this promise…

Human Need- In this text we must fight against what we might think or what we’ve been taught that’s man centered and contrary to God’s Word. Here we must allow God to influence us.

Romans 8:18–30 (ESV)

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.

Future glory outweighs present suffering because God has secured our glorification. He promises to see us through to the end. Beloved if you have trusted Christ and have believed all He said in His Word your eternal future is secure. You cannot be lost because God has made you this promise…

We can never be in danger of losing the spiritual life given to us by God through Jesus Christ. Romans 8:29–30 is perhaps the clearest and most explicit presentation of that truth in all of God’s Word. In these two verses Paul reveals the unbroken pattern of God’s sovereign redemption, from His eternal foreknowledge of a believer’s salvation to its ultimate completion in glorification.[1]

We can be secure in our salvation because it depends on God alone. If salvation was dependent on us then we could never find security or assurance in it.

Beloved, your salvation is so secure that it’s like a divine chain that cannot be broken. God’s promise to glorify you is so secure that it began even before you were born. In God’s mind, He had decreed to save you before the foundation of the world. Before anything existed your salvation existed in God’s mind. He is so determined to save you that He has worked it out in your life.

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.

Let’s look at this five link unbreakable chain, link by link.

  1. Foreknowledge-

29 For those whom he foreknew

Redemption begins with God. When we say salvation is of the Lord there would, no doubt be many amens in our churches. What does that general statement really mean? God does what is necessary to save the sinner. So, the Apostle Paul wanting to assure us that present suffering is worth it takes us into the mind of God to show us just what was taking place behind the scene to bring about our current salvation and our future glorification.

Where we are today as Christians is an in between state. We are saved but we are not yet glorified. To go the other direction is to see that we are on the road to it because something has taken place already.

Here the Apostle uses the Greek word, προέγνω (proegno).

This Greek verb means that God before we were created already PRO knew us in an intimate way. Very literally, He set His saving love upon us before we were ever created.

John Murray the great reformed theologian writes, Know…is used in a sense practically synonymous with love…Whom He foreknew…is therefore virtually equivalent with Whom He foreloved.[2]

So, Paul is telling us that our salvation is secure because God in eternity past had already set His love on us. Present suffering is worth it because God has set His eternal love upon you before you were born.

Most people even most Christians don’t believe this. However, the reality is very clearly stated in the Bible. To not believe what God is telling us in this passage is to create God in our image. To make a palatable deity that does what we think he should do. The reality is God tells us through Paul that you are saved today because in eternity past I’ve set my love upon you. Know then that present suffering is worth it because your glorification is eternally secure.

The Idea of foreknowledge is not unique with Paul…

Peter- address his epistle to those elect, foreknown by God…

1 Peter 1:1–2 (ESV)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Acts 2:23 (ESV)

23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

It’s seen in the OT Book of Jeremiah…

Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV)

   “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

       and before you were born I consecrated you;

       I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

So we see God pre-knows us and pre-loves us…

He also predestines us…

  1. Predestination-

he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,

Foreknowledge looks to the very beginning when God sets His absolute love on us, predestination looks at our ultimate end. It means to mark out, appoint or determine beforehand. Like with foreknow, Paul uses a combination word, προώρισεν.
means to be chosen beforehand.

The natural man wants to push back against this because it takes mankind out of the drivers seat. God determines our eternal destiny. God has done this before we were created. So, current suffering is worth it because God has chosen us for His very own.

We see this dynamic at work in our Lord’s crucifixion…

Acts 4:27–28 (ESV)

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Jesus was predestined to be crucified. That was the predetermined plan of God for Him.

Ephesians 1:3–6 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Much contemporary evangelism gives the impression that salvation is predicated on a person’s decision for Christ. But we are not Christians first of all because of what we decided about Christ but because of what God decided about us before the foundation of the world. We were able to choose Him only because He had first chosen us, “according to the kind intention of His will.” Paul expresses the same truth a few verses later when he says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him” (Eph. 1:7–9, emphasis added). He then says that “we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” (v. 11).[3]

What we must not overlook is that we are not here predestined for salvation specifically, although that is part of it, we are predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,

This is the very definition of our glorification, we will someday be sinless like Jesus.

We are predestined to this end so that Christ is honored… in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Jesus had to be made like us in order for God’s people to be made like Him. He took on flesh like us so that we could take on perfection like Him.

Hebrews 2:17 (ESV)

17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

  1. Calling

30 And those whom he predestined he also called

God’s foreknowledge and predestination of in eternity past. We were not around for these two. Now we are entering time and space, as it were, now God’s foreknowledge and predestination intersect with our lives in real time. Our calling is the point where our lives intersect with our predestined status.

What is the call? The call is the Gospel going forth.

Romans 10:14 (ESV)

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

2 Timothy 1:8–9 (ESV)

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

2 Thessalonians 2:13–14 (ESV)

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God does not choose believers for salvation on the basis of who they are or of what they have done but on the basis of His sovereign grace. For His own reasons alone, God chose Jacob above Esau (Rom. 9:13). For His own reasons alone, He chose Israel to be His covenant people (Deut. 7:7–8).[4]

The reality is that all whom God foreknew and predestined to be conformed to Christ will at some point hear the Gospel and believe. That’s why our evangelism is so important because it is the part we play in God’s plan to bring His people to Christ likeness.

  1. Justification

those whom he called he also justified

God’s call enables those who hear it to believe. All who hear and believe are justified. This subject has been Paul’s overarching theme so far. Justification is not just forgiveness of sin but it is the legal declaration that all believers are righteous in God’s sight. God alone has foreknown us, has predestined us, called us and now declares us righteous as we have faith in Christ and His work for us.

Romans 3:24–25 (ESV)

24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

  1. Glorification

those whom he justified he also glorified.

The Apostle has multiple times already used the noun, glory. When he used it for us it is the glory of being made into the image of Christ. Here is the end of our salvation. It is the destiny which has already been determined for all whom God foreknew in love. This is what we are waiting for in hope. This is what all creation waits for. This is what even God is anticipation as He also waits while working all things together for our good.

Our glorification takes place when in the fullness of time God will give all His children new bodies that will be like Christ’s body. Our bodies one day will be free from the corruption of sin, free to love and serve Christ unhindered by sin.

Notice with me something Paul does here…So certain is this divine reality of our glorification that Paul speaks of it in the same aorist tense as he did the others. He uses what many call the prophetic past tense. You see, even though it hasn’t happened yet God wants us to know that its as good as done. To be accurate would also say that in a small way, since our glory is to be made into the image of Christ, as we are being sanctified we are also stepping closer to glorification.

Here is the punch line of this passage…

Future Glory Outweighs Present Suffering because future glory is absolutely promised and guaranteed by God for all whom He foreknew He will every time and in every case with no exceptions bring to glorification. So, if you think glorification is a reality to be anticipated and to intently wait for in hope then we must suffer well.

Application

You can endure present suffering because of what God is accomplishing through it in you. You can endure it because glory is as good as here. Hang in there, persevere because God has set His love upon you and causes all things to work for your glory.

This week we saw five affirmations of God’s eternal love, Lord willing next week we’ll look at five unanswerable amazing questions confirming all Paul has taught us in Chapter 8.

 

**Resources used-

John Stott’s commentary on Romans

John MacArthur on Romans

Christopher Ash Teaching Romans

Steele and Thomas on Romans

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (p. 489). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Murray, vol 1, 317

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (pp. 497–498). Chicago: Moody Press.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (p. 499). Chicago: Moody Press.

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