Romans 8:18 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.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 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.
24 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?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
In verse 18 the apostle Paul acknowledged that the sufferings that he faced in his life were nothing compared to the glory that was promised to him in heaven. It is important for saints to understand that God does not make empty promises. Every promise He makes is sure.
As people we do not always keep our word. Sometimes we do not think before we make a promise. We are not able to keep the promise and we should not have made it. Sometimes we make promises we have no intention of keeping. If you are someone who makes promises you do not intend to keep, people will soon realize that you cannot be trusted. It is important to be careful not to make promises we cannot keep or will not keep.
God is not like we are. He never makes an empty promise. He never makes a promise He cannot keep. Thus Paul knew that he could trust what God had promised. There is a cost in serving the Lord. There is no cost to Biblical salvation. That is a gift of God. However, those who are saved must understand that not everyone will be happy with them after they are saved. If you talk to a person about their need to be saved, they may take offence to that. They may think you are judging them and they might not like that. They do not understand that God is the Judge and those who are saved are simply serving the true God.
The apostle Paul suffered more than most of us will ever suffer. He did not shy away from the suffering. He knew that he had a message that was very needful for the people. He also knew he had a hope that he wanted others to have as well. He had the privilege of helping others to know where they could find help. He knew what true forgiveness was and he knew there were many people who wanted to be forgiven for their sin. They needed to be taught that trying to ignore sin does to remove it. However, turning to God and being saved forgives sin. After salvation, when a Christian sins, he can be forgiven and restored to fellowship with the Lord and with other saints. A true child of God does not want to live in sin and he does not take sinning lightly.
In verses 19-21 we are reminded that the earnest, or true expectation of the creature is looking forward to the manifestation of the sons of God. There are many lost people who have no interest in spiritual things. They live only for the here and now. However, there are others who are looking for the day when our faith shall be sight. There are people, those who are saved, who are awaiting the time when we will be with Jesus Christ in heaven. There will be others in heaven as well. Our focus will be on Jesus Christ, but we will also see all the other saints there. We will see them in a different way than we see them now. It is difficult for us to fully grasp what heaven will be like. We know we will not be concerned about the things that we have been trained to be so concerned about now.
In my lifetime, evolution has been the way that people are taught about origins. In evolution there is a hierarchy among people. Since evolution teaches that man came from the monkey, the darker skinned people are considered to be less human than whiter skinned people. That is a lie that born again Christians need to reject.
In heaven we will not look at people based on their skin colour or their height. We will look at each person as one who has been saved by God’s grace. There is a different expectation for those who are saved, than for those who are lost.
We see that the creature was made subject to vanity. The word translated as “vanity”, speaks of the frailty of life. Adam chose to sin, but the trees and the birds did not choose to sin. However, all of creation is under the curse at this time.
The entire world is under the curse at this time. However, God will fix this as we read in II Peter 3. He will destroy this entire world with fire at the end of the Millennium. He will create a new heaven and a new earth. All the lost will be cast into the lake of fire and only the saved will be on this new heaven and earth. Those who are saved are looking forward to living in that promised place.
In verse 22 we are reminded that the sin of Adam affected all of creation. There was a major change that took place when Adam sinned. God shows us again the effects of sin. Adam committed one sin and that sin plunged all of creation into a difficult place. Paul described it as a groaning and travail in pain. There is the physical pain that we as human’s face, as well as the pain within the animal kingdom where now there is the hunting and the hunted. Even within the angelic realm, there is the observation by the godly angels, of the struggles placed upon God’s “very good” creation by the sin of Adam.
In verse 23 we are further reminded that our hope is not in some amazing plan by some world leader. The antichrist will be the final human leader and he will be the worst of all the human leaders. Those who “have the firstfruits of the Spirit”, those who are saved groan within ourselves. Those who are saved are not expecting things to get better on this earth. We are not looking for some great spiritual revival. We see an increasing in false religion in these days. Lost people are growing wearing of the oppression that our governments have put us under. More people are turning to yoga and other ungodly forms of meditation to try to connect with their “inner self”, which is paganism.
Those who are saved are waiting for the adoption, which is the redemption of our body. The hope of the saved is the coming of the Lord in power and in glory. It is the creation of the new heaven and the new earth. It is the fulfilment of the promises of God that will see the true saints living in that place of absolute righteousness.
In verse 24 we are reminded that we are saved by hope. This precludes the fact that we are not saved by experience. We believe the Word of God and we have been saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. God tells us that this hope is not that which is seen. Those who claim to receive visions of Jesus Christ and thus claim salvation, are contradicting what God says.
We spent some time addressing the question of the claim that Muslims are receiving visions of Jesus and are getting saved. According to what the Bible declares, they are not seeing the true Jesus. They are lost and the devil is giving them an image of a false Jesus and they are satisfied with that.
Paul asked the question: “for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” This is God’s question to man. If you have already seen Jesus, then why would you be hoping to see Him? Man can make many claims, but God helps us to analyze what man says. We are not left grasping at straws. We can know the truth and we can be blessed by believing the truth.
In verse 25 we see the reward of walking by faith. We accept God’s promises by faith and we live in the true hope of seeing them fulfilled in His time. We know His promises are sure and we place our hope in a God Who cannot lie. It is important to believe what God says. The devil will try to get us off track. He will do whatever he can to distract from the truth. We need to remember the Words of Jesus:
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Strong words, but necessary words to keep those who are saved on the right track and to warn the ungodly of the need to turn to the true God.