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.”
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.]