Romans 8—Glorious Hope
Paul has implored us to put to death our sins and let the spirit guide our lives; Paul has shared our identity as children of God and that means we will suffer and enjoy. Paul is not going to let us up, he has us pinned down and now, he discloses a glance, a taste, a hint of what is to come. He shares with us where we are going in doing so gives a glorious hope to grab a hold of. He is about to give us the good news that this world, this life, where we are now and who we are matters and God is intent on blessing and gracing this world, this life.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory 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. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, 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 they already have? If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:18-25)
The present condition of creation is not its final one. Like a mother groaning in labor pains, all of creation is groaning for the birth of new creation. The entire creation has a destiny planned by God, and longs to be fulfilled, much as we do. Creation longs for liberation, freedom, and glory. Our salvation has begun, but it will not be consummated until the resurrection until new creation is realized. Inevitably, the Christian life involves patient waiting in hope.
Hope is more than a vague wish that something will happen. It is a sure and confident expectation in God’s future faithfulness and presence. Hope is the present struggle for the future glory. Christian hope extends beyond death into an eternity prepared by God himself, the reality of which is guaranteed by Jesus Christ. Hope is the assurance that whatever we endure now will be blessing and that God is busy blessing and gracing the world including us here and now stretching beyond this life to the next.
Hope that in our darkest hours when everything seems lost and no one seems to be on our side that God is with and for us. Hope that we are groaning towards the freedom and glory of the children of God.
I go to Starbucks and get an Iced Coffee. They put it in a plastic cup. When I put cream in it at first it floats gently at the top, then without me touching it swirls to the bottom throughout the entire coffee. As I stir it in more the coffee lightens from black to a musky brown. That is hope! The black coffee is our despair that things will not be OK that things will never be how we want them that we will not be happy that bondage and decay is our lot in life. The cream is hope. The stirring is prayer. With just a little hope and some prayer, God will increase our spirits and lighten our burdens. God will fully realize all that we are meant to be in Christ.
Hope is dangerous. Just a little hope can drive a man crazy with the assurance that God is good and loves us in spite of ourselves. Just a little hope will alter our lives, always for the better. Hope always has the last word and it says no good thing ever dies. Without hope, one cannot be a Christian. Hope for life the full and eternal life. Hope says God has not abandoned us or this world and means for something good to happen. Hope declares love is stronger than hate.
Hope is important, dangerous, and necessary.
My present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory to be revealed. I wait in eager expectation. I am subject to frustration, my hope is that I will be liberated from bondage to decay and be brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. I know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, I who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as I wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of my body. For in this hope I am saved.
No present suffering compares to the glory to be revealed. Even through frustration wait in eager expectation to be liberated from bondage to decay and be brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. You may be struggling now, but your present struggle is for your future glory!