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Groaning in Expectation and Hope

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

For I reckon 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 creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

—Romans 8:17b–25

The joint-heirs with Christ get to share in His sufferings now. Sufferings are not pleasant. We would all rather have comfort and ease with glory now than to suffer. We all would rather not have to suffer for even a short time, let alone know that our entire life will be one of suffering; but on this sin-cursed earth that is what we can expect. This often takes us by surprise, and we will often ask, “Where is God in this?”, while the answer is right here in the Bible.

I suppose that the words sound easier to accept than the realization of them in our lives, but that is where we truly need to take that step and “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). We all look for the glory, and I truly can fault no one for that. But to know the power of His resurrection is to follow a specific road:

Philippians 3:10 — “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death…”

We are joint-heirs with Christ, but we must remember that we are given the privilege to suffer with Him as well. He was despised and rejected of men (Isaiah 53:3), and we should be able to expect the take part in the same. It is, of course, easy to say, but when it hits us like the ton of bricks it is, boy, it does sting!

While it is stinging, that is the time to tap into what we know by the revelation in the word of God to be true. That is walking by faith. Believing what God says in spite of what circumstances tell us. This will let us understand the circumstances.

The sufferings of this present evil world are truly great. They are much greater for some than for others. Sometimes we do need to step back from it all and look through those lenses saying, “Am I suffering or am I spoiled?”. Often the latter is true, but sometimes the former. We are blessed like none other in history as the Lord has allowed mankind to continue long enough to find many cures for ailments and illnesses that in the past were fatal. Now in the big scheme of things they seem like a case of hiccups. But when all is said and done, our days are short, and aging is not pleasant for anyone.

The Bible believing Christian and the climate-change zealot can agree on something: things on this earth are not good. The Christian sees by the Bible. Yes, the creation is groaning. The climate zealot says, “mother earth is dying, and we have to save her”. I think that both can agree that is it the fault of mankind. But our paths diverge here. The Bible tells us the condition of the earth is the result of man’s sin, but it is not (always) a direct result of what man is doing to the earth. It is because of what God did to the earth as judgment on man’s sin. Man has been fighting the curse and trying to get around the curse ever since, but the earth is cursed, and we are stuck with it. For now.

The Bible-believer has hope:

“…the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

God cursed the earth, but He does not plan to leave it that way. We see too, that this curse is not only on the earth, but on the whole creation. How has the curse affected the creation beyond our atmosphere? I don’t know, but the Bible tells us that it too is groaning, and it also will be delivered when the Creator says that it is time. At that time the children of God will be manifest in glory. Our bodies will be redeemed, as we ourselves are now redeemed.

1 Corinthians 15:50–54 — “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Mankind, on his natural state (flesh and blood), is not fit for this. Our corruption must be uncorrupted. Our bodies must be redeemed. The drudgery of our lives in flesh and blood is not all that there is. Christ has redeemed us from many curses. The curse of the law is one. Further back to Adam, we will be redeemed from the curse on creation. The Revelation, looking forward to the time when all things are made new, says plainly:

Revelation 22:3 — “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him…”

Until that day, our part is to live in the hope that we have been told of by God. We fear no condemnation (Romans 8:1). We have the spirit of Christ dwelling in us (Romans 8:9–11). We are redeemed from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). We have received the atonement (Romans 5:11). God is our Father (Romans 8:15). We are justified by God’s grace (Romans 3:24), and there is yet more ahead that we shall soon see as we continue to learn the greatness of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus our Lord.

“We are saved by hope”…saved from despair and misery because the future of the children of God is one of great glory so we wait in hope—looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ! (Titus 2:13).

If you are saved, you have that hope. If you are not saved, come to Christ as you are, the poor helpless sinner that He already knows you to be and put your faith in HIS finished and all-sufficient grace that He showed when He died for your sins on the cross and in power rose from the dead. He is all you need, but you do need Him.

1 Corinthians 15:1–4 — “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scripture…”


Romans Study


Charles Miller View All

Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.

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