Gracious Lord, I’m grateful that You see what I’ve been, You know what I am, and You see what I will become. I want Your future for me.
Read Romans 8:18–30
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 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. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[b] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
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Reflect‘Patience is a virtue’ goes the common saying; what are you like when you are waiting or queueing (for something you care about)?
There’s a lot of groaning in today’s reading: creation (v 22); God’s children (v 23); the Holy Spirit (v 26). But Paul is not picturing a bunch of people moaning in a queue! He is talking about longing in confident hope.
Creation longs to be ‘liberated’ from the cycle of ‘decay’ (v 21). In these days of climate emergency, this is more obvious than ever – how do you pray for creation? Do you pray for what Paul says it wants?
God’s children long to be adopted (v 23) – but what about verse 15? Aren’t we already adopted? Yes, but we have not yet received it in full. The Holy Spirit is the ‘firstfruits’ of that promise, a taste and guarantee of the fullness to come.
The Holy Spirit longs for God’s will to be done in us (vs 26,27). Even when you are not interceding, the Holy Spirit is – for you. This is a precious truth, sometimes overlooked. We’ll find out more about God’s will for us tomorrow… (although notice the answer today in verse 29!).
We must wait eagerly (v 23) yet patiently (v 25). Write a sentence that might help you maintain that difficult balance. You may even want to include a ‘groan’ – but make sure it is a longing groan rather than a moan!
Lord Jesus, as Your Word reminds me, the thought of Your return should motivate me to live a holy and godly life. Today, lead me further along on this journey.