“Wrestling With Romans”
Incomparable Glory (Chapter 8 Verses 18 – 27)
We continue to study this chapter in detail because it is so important for us, and weighted with so many precious things. The final consequences of our justification are considered now in this section. The world-view we are given here is both sublime and penetrating it leaves the world-view of modernity, with its reliance on science, technology and reason standing. Or post-modernity’s skepticism with no certainties is the only certainty it gives, truth is taken apart, and we all melt into the age of consumerism. No thank you very much! The whole of creation is dependent upon what God does with it, and particularly with his children. The fall plunged the world into the darkness of sin, meaninglessness and corruption. In the midst of this alienated and painful world, we pray, and God’s Holy Spirit makes those prayers what they should be, and God brings good out of this deranged world, for us, his Church, yes, even out of our suffering. Amazing? It is what Paul considers here (v18). We are instructed here to get our eyes off our individual suffering, which is only a tiny little part of the whole. Rather see the whole of creation groaning along with us, and grasp this, all its attention is focused upon us, the Church, the family of God, waiting expectantly for our deliverance. Why? Because of the magnitude of what God is doing, and is going to do, and it’s all tied up with us, his own children (v19).
Paul encompasses all our suffering now (v18), in verse seventeen he referred to our suffering for Christ’s sake, but now it is all our suffering, some due to our own sin, some not, some due to actions of evil people, and some to God’s loving discipline (Hebrews 12.4-11). In all these sufferings we need comfort and assurance we need to have this Biblical world-view if we are to make any sense out of this suffering world. We leave God and his plans out and we are left with meaninglessness, meaninglessness (Ecclesiastes 1.1). The atheists, the unbelievers have no such comfort, no assurance in their sufferings, it is destructive for them, no good in it, that’s why it ends so often in bitterness and further hardening with them. There is no glory in suffering for them. But for us the Church, incomparable glory awaits. In contrast to the suffering, it’s not worth comparing. This glory is our inheritance, and it shall be revealed in us, we do not know exactly what that means, we are not told (1John 3.2). But it will be a share of the glory of Jesus (v17), and that will be worth lovingly enduring all the world’s pain.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)