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Romans 8:18-27
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Romans 8:18-27 

Future Glory 

Romans 8:18-27, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of he one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into glorious freedom of the children of God. 

          We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  [Paul should see what’s being done to the earth now!  It’s really groaning!]  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

          In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”


“…Romans chapter 8.  We have finally come to the place where it says “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” and that the Spirit has made us free.  The law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death, that there’s a higher law that’s working within us through the new birth.  And it’s changed us.  Paul is honest and says those who are unsaved—the mind that is continually set on the things of the flesh—the carnal mind is death—those who have no longing, no light, no awakening, no new birth, those who don’t think on spiritual things, but whose minds are continually set on the things of the flesh, that that’s death.  And certainly a passage to encourage us to examine ourselves [cf. 2 Corinthians 13:5].  But that those who are spiritually minded, that have a mind for spiritual things, that that’s life for us.  Not only that, he goes on to tell us that we’re not indebted to the flesh any longer.  It never produced anything in us.  I don’t know all of our stories, I know there are some ingredients that are common to all of our testimony, ‘that I was a sinner and I was going to hell, and I got saved’, that goes for all of us.  And there’s a lot of incidentals that are filled in according to our background.  But we know we owe nothing to that.  When I think of that life, it seems like a different life, like a different person.  And I think of where my life was going.  I can’t imagine living without Christ or without his Word, I can’t imagine watching the news without the Holy Spirit, without the Word of God, I can’t imagine living today without the hope that he’s given me.  I can’t imagine looking at what’s going on around me without Light, without spiritual insight.  I can’t imagine where I’d be, it seems like a different life.  And he says, we owe nothing then, we’re not debtors to the flesh, we’re debtors to the Spirit, because of the incredible thing that is happening in us, not that salvation is that condition where we have been delivered, we are “being delivered” it says in 2 Corinthians 1:10, ‘we shall yet be delivered.’  Salvation is an eternal salvation—we are saved, we’re being saved, we shall yet be saved—in the sense of the fullness of it.  So, today, you and I, debtors, not to the flesh, but to the Spirit.  Not only that, it says ‘The Spirit within our hearts cries Abba, Father.  We talked about this last week.  Abba, the word of emotion, Hebrew.  Not the same Greek word for Father.  Abba was the word of endearment.  In the Hebrew culture, it was against the law for a slave to call the master of the house Abba.  He could use a different word, but couldn’t use that, because it’s the word of emotion, it’s the word of endearment.  Father is the word of recognition, position, and they’re both given to us.  Jesus prayed Abba, Father in Gethsemane.  And the same Spirit is in our hearts now, crying Abba, Father.  I love that, that Abba, you go to Israel and you hear the little two-year-olds walking around the street, and they don’t say “Daddy,” they say “Abba, Abba”.  You hear it.  None of my kids at home call me Father, “Ten bucks, Father.”  No, it’s always “Dad, Hey Dad.”  That’s the way I want it, “Dad.”  Abba, the word of emotion.  And it almost seems to us, sometimes sacrilegious.  I know, before I was saved, I had such a strange perception of God the Father.  I was used to stained-glass windows and incense, it was all a little spooky and I felt kind of, in those days, before I knew better, if I’d have looked to heaven and said “Dad”, I might have got hit by lightning.  But he’s the one where he could have said to us, you call me LORD.  He didn’t say, ‘When you get to heaven [or in the first resurrection to immortality, cf. 1 Cor. 15] and that corruption has put on incorruption, then you can call me Dad.’  He’s the one that put his Spirit in our hearts crying “Abba”, “Dad” and “Father.”  And it says ‘More than that, the Spirit also, verse 16, beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, the born ones, we’re adopted, and by adoption we receive the fullness of inheritance.  But we’re born by the Spirit, the born-ones of God.’  ‘His Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are the born-ones of God, that we’re the children of God.’   It’s a difficult thing, because you talk to unsaved people and you say, ‘Well, you need to be saved.’  And he says, ‘What do you mean, saved?’  ‘Well, the Spirit comes into your heart, you ask him to forgive your sins…’  And they say, ‘How do you know?’  And you say, ‘Well, I just know.’  ‘Well, what do you mean you know?’  ‘I know that I know that I know that I know.  Don’t you understand?’  No, it’s because the Spirit is bearing witness with your Spirit that you are the born-ones of God.  You can’t explain that to an unbeliever, that connection is not there.  They don’t know, that they know, they know, they know like you know and I know.  The Spirit itself bearing witness with our spirit we’re the children of God, and if children—born-ones—then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, if so be—since—we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together—joint heirs with Christ, heirs of God. 

          He’s going to move into a passage now where he begins to talk about that.  What does that mean to you, to be joint-heirs with Christ?  [For me personally, I love astronomy, and earth science, and the earth.  I’m a Trekky (Star Trek fan).  Jesus, Yeshua owns the earth and the whole vast universe—that means it’s mine too—Yippee!!!  Maybe we each get a galaxy of our own, our own personal one.  Now that’s a piece of real estate!  That’s just a physical view of our potential inheritance.]  What does it mean to you?  I mean, it’s unimaginable in one sense, to be fellow heirs with Jesus Christ, those things that are ahead of us, heirs of God.  Very important for our affections to be set on things above and not on things of the earth.  I think that, in proportion to how we have embraced these things and understood these things, it gives great strength to us in this present world.  Paul will say to us in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, we’ll probably look at that this evening, that the inner man is renewed day by day.  Sometimes we think Paul was like the Energizer Bunny when he got saved on the Road to Damascus, he just kept going and going and going.  No, Paul says he and Silas despaired of life itself, they were pressed beyond measure when they came into Asia.  But he says that we’re renewed in the inner man day by day.  That’s how he needed renewing from God, same way we do, continual dependence.  And he said it happened while we look, scopio, while we scope out, microscope, telescope, bring into view—while we look—not at the things that are seen, because the things that are seen are temporal, but at the things that are not seen, because the things that are not seen are eternal.  [the new heavens and earth will be eternal, in that sense.  We haven’t seen them yet either.]  Paul says, ‘I brought before the view of my spiritual part of my new birth of what God has given me, of the light he has given me, of the spiritual perception he’s given me, he’s brought me out of darkness into the kingdom of light, and I keep before the eyes of my heart that kingdom.  I keep before the eyes of my heart that Day when we’ll stand on that Sea of Glass and the fire around the throne with the cherubim, with the Lord before our eyes.  I keep before my eyes that Day, that’s the thing that I long for when we’re finally set free, when we’ll be given rewards, crowns to cast at his feet because he rightly owns them.’  Paul says, ‘In that, I’m renewed day by day.’  Here he says to us, joint-heirs, heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ.  What do we owe to the flesh when he goes through this?  No we’re debtors to the Spirit when he talks about the remarkable things that have been accomplished.  And he says this, “If so be”, the King James says, “that we suffer with him”—and the idea is ‘we do, we suffer with him’—“that we may also be glorified together.”  Now the only other time it uses this particular voicing of this word “suffer” is in 1st Corinthians chapter 12 verse 26, where it says “when one member suffers, all of the body of Christ suffers.”  Now that’s a funny thing that happens isn’t it?  I think before we were saved, I think of how often, when you look back, we had a heart of stone.  You were just kind of immune to your surroundings in so many ways.  But when you come into the body of Christ, all of a sudden, you see someone in the fellowship you love, you see them with cancer, you see them with hardship, you see things going on, and it says “when one member suffers, all of us suffer.”  It doesn’t just say that it’s blessed to suffer, it’s not just talking about suffering, it’s talking about suffering with Christ.  It’s talking about something that happens to us, because the Spirit has come into our hearts.  Jesus in John said this, he said, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, that your fruit should remain.  And whatsoever you shall ask of the father in my name, that he may give it to you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.  If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love his own.  But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore it hateth you.”  All of us have experienced that.  How many of us after our conversion come back to a family or come back to friends, and we’re saved and we’re excited, and we’re telling them about the Bible, we’re giving them tracts—and they want us to move out.  They want us out of the house, we’re driving them completely out of their mind.  And there’s a level of suffering there.  Jesus wasn’t received, he says, a prophet is not without honor except in his own home and his own town.  How many of us have experienced that?  How many of us have experienced further for the cause of Christ?—rejection, mockery, sometimes even persecution.  And when it says we suffer with him, it says [in the Greek], “we do” and “we will”.  And I wonder, depending on how long we’re here before he comes what suffering we may see, what persecution we may see here in this country?  But slowly, maturely, incrementally, this world and its system is taking away from us the rights that we have to believe in Christ as the only way of salvation, to believe that sin sends people to hell, embrace the morality that we embrace because it goes along with God’s Word and God’s Scripture—slowly but surely those things are being eroded.  And we look at it all and we say ‘Well, OK Lord, the law of the Spirit of life has made me free from the law of sin and death, now I’m your kid, not just you’re my Father, you’re my Dad, my heart cries out to you.  You’ve told me that all things are mine in Christ, I’m joint-heirs with Christ, of God, and Lord we’re enduring what we endure, but Lord, so much is out of kilter, Lord I don’t understand—if you’re my Dad, if you want that endearing relationship, if you’ve made yourself that vulnerable—Lord, why the difficulty, why the suffering, why is this going on?’  And as he moves into this passage he’s going to tell us that there’s a groaning that’s connected to all of this.  Not a whining, and not a griping and not a grumbling [which 1 Corinthians 10 and Numbers warns us against doing] but a groaning, something that goes on.  And he’ll say to us that creation itself is groaning.  It isn’t just us.  There’s something wrong in the world.  What’s wrong?  We look at the tidal waves and the earthquakes and the typhoons, and the death and the things that are going on, creation itself is groaning. [Be sure to read my soon-coming article on Global Warming, which will help explain all of this from a legitimate scientific point of view.]    Then he says, “We groan within ourselves.”  You think you don’t?  Turn on the news, and look at the injustice, look at the deaths—in Chechnya, look at what’s going on, we talked about that today.  We did a funeral here yesterday.  People were groaning in themselves because ‘What does death have to do with all of this Lord?’  And I don’t think God ever gave us the capacity to deal with death.  I don’t think when he wired us in the Garden of Eden, he gave us that ability because death was not part of his original plan.   And when he brings us to the eternal state, in Revelation 21 is says ‘Death will not be there.’  So I don’t think in his original intent he ever made us to deal with death, and you watch people groan, they go through these emotions trying to deal with it, and trying to understand what to do with it—and it’s been a loved one or a friend, and they never really find, as they  dredge themselves, the right emotion.  We look at Columbine, we look at Fort Worth, we look at H.I.V., something’s wrong.  We look at the world, we hear of the nuclear threat, we see everything that’s going on around us, there’s groaning within us because we’ve been given more light than that.  It’s wrong, we’re able to look at something now and say ‘This is not right!’  ‘This is wrong!’  ‘This should be different.’  ‘Why can’t our children be safe?’  ‘Why can’t we let them play without worrying about someone taking them?—why is there all this injustice and bigotry?’  We look at all of that and see we’re groaning.  And then he goes on finally to say, “that the Spirit itself groaneth within us.”  There’s a lot of groaning about all of this.  Not griping.  When you’re griping and whining that’s not the Spirit, that’s you.  And I’m good at that.  Groaning.  He says this about the present difficulty, he’s brought us to this remarkable place where we’re God’s kids, where we’re joint-heirs with Christ, we’re set free from the law of sin and death that surrounds us in this world, and we’re set free from that by the law of the Spirit of life.  Why the difficulty?

          He says, verse 18, “For I reckon that the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  The first thing he tells us is ‘I have come to this conclusion.’  “Reckon” is a word from the market place, it means “to calculate” or “to compute.”  He says ‘There’s a work of our mind here.’  Paul says ‘I’ve reckoned, I’ve weighed this out, thought about it, I’ve measured it out, I’ve come to the conclusion that the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’  Again, ‘not worthy,’ also from the market place, it means ‘not weighing as much as’.  The present sufferings do not weigh as much as—when you put them on the scale—against the glory that’s going to be revealed in us in eternity, they don’t even measure up.  When you calculate those things out, when you think about those things—and Paul, no doubt had a different perspective than we do, he said that “our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory.”   Paul said “our light affliction”, and then he wrote this [in another place, about his “light afflictions” and what they were], “in labours more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prison more frequent, in deaths often, of the Jews five times received I forty stripes, save one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck.”—we know about one—“A night and a day I spent in the deep”—Lord, don’t ever let that happen to me, I’ll just hear that music [Jaws], don’t let me float out there in the ocean—“In journeyings often, in perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils by the city, in perils of the wilderness, in perils by the sea, in perils amongst false brethren, in dreariness and painfulness and watchings often and hunger, thirst, fastings often, cold and nakedness”—he says, “This light affliction.”  That’s not in my “light” category.  That’s like in the really way bad stuff in my list.  Paul says “This light affliction which is but for a moment.”  But he’s gone through that process where he says “I reckon, I have calculated, I have weighed it against some other thing.”  Now no doubt, he says that he had been caught up to the third heaven, he saw things there that were unspeakable, they were so remarkable that God gave him a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble.  And besides that a messenger from Satan buffeted him about that, trying to cause him to doubt God’s love.  “I reckon” he says, “that the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us, for—now, he builds his thought—“the earnest expectation of the”—now the King James says “creature” in these verses, it’s “creation” (same Greek word), “the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creation was made subject to vanity [emptiness], not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (verses 18-21) 

          So he says, he moves into this now, after his reckoning.  “We know for the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.”  Now he uses this very interesting phrase where it says “earnest expectation”, it’s a Greek phrase that means “with outstretched neck”, like you’re looking around the corner waiting for something to come around the bend.  He says “the creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, our redemption to be complete, and the creation is waiting expectantly, eagerly, with an outstretched head looking around the corner, waiting for that day.”  You think you’re excited about it?  You think when you have a bad day and say ‘Lord, Jesus, just come, take me out of hear, blow the Trumpet, I’m ready, get me outa here.’  He says the creation is doing the same thing.  Now that’s interesting.  Because what does that mean?  What link is there between us and the creation?  Isn’t that funny?  The destiny of the creation is linked to us!—not to the tree huggers.  Those guys that are out there with their Green Peace and Save the Whales and all the nonsense they got going on, and Save the Spotted Owl’s, those Spotted Owl’s don’t want nothing to do with them.  The Spotted Owl’s sitting in a tree saying ‘Hoo, hoo, come Lord Jesus.’  [laughter]  The Spotted Owl’s future is connected to us, not to them.  The whales are not gonna be saved until God comes and changes us into the glory that is ready for us.  The creation is directly related to us.  I can’t imagine what it was like in Eden, I know this, it always tickles me, just something in me when I follow God through the days of creation.  And he creates the fruit trees after their kind.  And when he’s done he says ‘This is good.’  Come on God, you’ve been waiting to eat a grape for eternity?  You want to bite into a Georgia peach or something?  No, no, what he’s saying is ‘Wait until they taste one of these.  Wait until Adam bites into one of these, this is good.  He’s gonna like this.’  And the creation is related to us.  It’s subject to vanity, which means it has not yet lived up to its purpose.  And it will not until we are released in regards to the redemption of our bodies from the situation that we’re in.  You know, it’s interesting.  Scientists are finding out all kinds of things about light, how important light is.  Sometimes now, people who get depressed in the winter, they make them get up at five and turn on a sun-light, a sun-lamp because they’ve realized through this light therapy that it changes our whole attitude, just being in more sunlight.  They’ve discovered things now about aroma therapy, how about that.  Flora-sense.  Now isn’t it interesting, because they have discovered fifty foot ferns, fossils.  Now I have to imagine if we’ve got a fifty foot fern in Eden, we’ve got a six foot rose.  My wife likes it when we bring in one of those little roses from out front with the thorns on it.  What were roses like before the fall?  Just a big old six-foot rose, you’d smell it all the way across the neighborhood.  What was creation like?  I don’t think we have any idea.  I think it has fallen the way we have fallen.  I’m convince that we were clothed with light.  I’m convinced we had an entirely different drive system, it wasn’t blood drive, I think that’s part of the fall.  [Now he’s gotten entirely out on a speculative limb.]  I think that we could step in and out of the presence of God, that he had open fellowship with God.  That means that we were more than one dimensional.  [not necessarily, God could have been the One stepping in and out of our dimension whenever Adam called.  We don’t know for sure, Scripture doesn’t tell us.]  I know that when Moses was forty days and forty nights on the mountain, came down, broke the Ten Commandments, went back up again, second forty days and forty nights, forty days and forty nights without food or water—that’s 80 days—and when he came down he was glowing.  Because where we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to be experiencing, life is sustained there on an entirely different level, it has nothing to do with eating and a blood-drive system.  Book of Revelation, we’re clothed with white garments, pure and white, which are the righteousness of the saints, it says.  Well, that’s the righteousness we were clothed in when we were created in his image and likeness, with white garments that were not material, they were something else that disappeared when Adam fell, because he says he knew he was naked and he was ashamed.  Well, all of that, and unimaginably more is waiting.  Paul has weighed so much of that against his present sufferings that he was a driven man.  I don’t know what he saw in Paradise, the third heaven, but he was driven.  You couldn’t stop this guy.  And he’s trying to encourage us, saying, ‘Look, if these things which are not, if you put them on the scales with our present sufferings, they’re not even worthy to be compared, they [our present sufferings] don’t even weigh as much.  They so outweigh any difficulty we have in the present, that’s it not even worthy to be compared.  “And the whole creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.”  Now that is not a lot of things—“the manifestation of the sons of God.”  There was a whole doctrine that came through the church in this century, the manifest sons of God doctrine.  Which basically says that you and I are going to come to some realization and spirituality in this world, and that is going to set a lot of other things free.  [Wasn’t that what Timothy Leary was looking for with LSD?]  Well first of all, that is depressing, and secondly it’s nonsense.  “The manifestation of the sons of God” is when we are set free from this corruption and put on incorruption, and when we are set free from this mortal and put on immortality—when we shine like the stars of the firmament in their glory—when we stand on the sea of glass and the fire and look into the face of our Lord.  [cf. 1 Corinthians 15:49-56; Daniel 12:1-3 and Revelation 4:5-6.]

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