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The Agony and the Ecstasy

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Romans 8:18-25


            Review (McClain)

Paul moves on from the present ministry of God’s Spirit to the future glory of God’s children.

I.                    The sufferings and glory of God’s creation (19-22)

(Creation – the earth and all it contains, animate and inanimate, man excepted)

                -the sum-total of subhuman nature

1.      The creation was subjected to frustration (20a)

                        Emptiness, futility, purposelessness, transitoriness

                        “…by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope…”

2.      The creation will be liberated (21a)

-         from its bondage to decay (phthora) it is running down and enslaved

                        creation is out of joint because it is under judgment

                        + into the glorious freedom of the children of God (21c)

            Isaiah – God will create a new heavens and a new earth including a new Jerusalem

The desert will blossom like the crocus.  The wild and domestic animals will co-exist in peace, and the most ferocious and poisonous creatures will neither harm nor destroy throughout God'’ new world.

Jesus -  new birth of the world at His coming. (Mt. 19:28)

Peter – “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:9,21)

Paul – “ liberation; reconciliation (Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:20)

John – “new heaven and new earth”  (Rev. 21,22;  II Pet. 3:13; Heb. 12:26)

II.        The sufferings and glory of God’s children (23-28)

This passage puts together two things that we probably would not put together: sufferings and glory: agony and ecstasy. These are welded together indissolubly.

1.      we have the firstfruits of the Spirit (23a)

2.      we groan inwardly (23b)

3.      we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (23c)

4.      in this hope we were saved (24a)

5.      we wait patiently for it. (25b)

rewards is a "subject written large in the Scriptures"


            Imperishable Crown (I Cor. 9:24-27)

            Crown of Exultation (Phil. 4:1; I Thess. 2:19-20)

            Crown of Righteousness (II Tim. 4:7,8)

            Crown of Life (James 1:12)

            Crown of Glory (I Pet. 5:1-4)

Crowns are not to be understood as literal wreaths that will be worn on one's glorified head. (helmet of salvation)

ill. frisbee toss at Jesus' feet \Imperial margarine

They are figurative expressions of great spiritual realities.

Rosscup-"There is one crown, not five.  The crown has various component characteristics, such as life, glory, exultation, and imperishability.  It is not literal but a figure for spiritual realities more wonderful than we can imagine.  The crown in every instance is the outlook for a faithful life.  We never merit it, for our life is a gift of grace, but where that grace is genuinely at work it shows its dynamic in certain life-shaping characteristics . And so, 'you have your fruit with respect to sanctification, and the end (or outcome) eternal life."


Rev. 19:8 " And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." (p.40)

(a very concrete term referring to specific things done)


Romans 8:18 "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

eis- "in" us as in KJV and NIV

A similar thought is in II Cor. 4:17 "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison."

Jesus associates this blessedness with a radiance of appearance. Matthew 13:43- "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."


"Inasmuch as reward is associated with brightness and shining in many passages of Scripture, it may be that the reward given to the believer is a capacity to manifest the glory of Christ throughout eternity.  The greater the reward, the greater the bestowed capacity to bring glory to God.

C.S.Lewis in the Weight of Glory

            It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor.  The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory; should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.  It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.  All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.  It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.  There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts civilizations- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, word with, marry, snub, and exploit-immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

            “We are to shine as the sun.  We are to be given the morning star.  I think I begin to see what it means.  In one way, of course, god has given us the morning star already.  You can go and enjoy the gift on many fine mornings, if you get up early enough.  “What more,” you may ask, “do we want?” Ah, but we want so much more.  Something the books on aesthetics take little notice of.  But the poets and mythologies know all about it.  We do not want merely to see  eauty, though God knows even that is bounty enough – we want something else which can hardly be put into words – to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.  That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods.  They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul.  But it can’t. They tell us that beauty, born of murmuring sound, will pass into a human face.  But it won’t – or not yet, at least.

            The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”[1]


[1] C.S.Lewis, The Weight of Glory (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), pp. 12,13.

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