Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 8:18-25 (NLT)
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
Reflection: Romans 8:18-25 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
God’s Spirit in God’s children (8:1–39)
The Christian life is essentially life in the Spirit, that is to say, a life which is animated, sustained, directed and enriched by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit true Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, indeed impossible.
(vs 18–27) The glory of God’s children
‘Suffering and glory’ is the theme throughout this section: first the sufferings and glory of God’s creation (19–22) and then the sufferings and glory of God’s children (23–27).
First, the sufferings and the glory belong together indissolubly. They did in the experience of Christ; they do in the experience of his people also (17)…. Sufferings and the glory are married; they cannot be divorced. They are welded; they cannot be broken apart.
There is therefore going to be both continuity and discontinuity in the regeneration of the world, as in the resurrection of the body. The universe is not going to be destroyed, but rather liberated, transformed and suffused with the glory of God.
Secondly, the sufferings and the glory characterize the two ages or aeons. The contrast between this age and the age to come, and so between the present and the future, between the already and the not yet, is neatly summed up in the two terms…. Moreover, the ‘sufferings’ include not only the opposition of the world, but all our human frailty as well, both physical and moral, which is due to our provisional, half-saved condition. The ‘glory’, however, is the unutterable splendour of God, eternal, immortal and incorruptible.
Thirdly, the sufferings and the glory cannot be compared…. They need to be contrasted, not compared…. The magnificence of God’s revealed glory will greatly surpass the unpleasantness of our [present] sufferings.
Fourthly, the sufferings and the glory concern both God’s creation and God’s children…. The sufferings and glory of the old creation (the material order) and of the new (the people of God) are integrally related to each other. Both creations are suffering and groaning now; both are going to be set free together…. As nature shared in the curse, and now shares in the pain, so it will also share in the glory. Hence the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
May God give us a patient eagerness and an eager patience as we wait for his promises to be fulfilled!
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen