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Romans 8:18 (18-25)

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Our present experience as Christians is one of suffering.
Our Lord Jesus Christ led a life of suffering while he was on earth, and we are joined to him.
But suffering will not go on for ever.
Christ is in glory, and in the future we shall be glorified together with him.
Both sufferings and glory are certain.
Our present sufferings are like an ugly porch which leads to the threshold of an unspeakably glorious mansion.
Verse 18 states this point, and the rest of the chapter expands it.
Paul borrows the word translated ‘consider’ (AV, ‘reckon’) from the world of accountancy.
The accountant is adding up the items and figures in two different columns and calculating the totals.
He now compares the two totals.
The sum total in the column headed ‘sufferings of this present time’ bears no resemblance
to the immense total in the column
headed ‘the glory which shall be revealed to us’.
They are not even worth comparing.
One far outweighs the other.
Present sufferings may appear to be incalculably great—and Paul’s were greater than most (see ).
But the future glories are infinitely greater.
Given the context of where we’ve just been with the thoughts of not living according to the flesh but by the Spirit’s power.
A power that leads us to make war with our flesh.
A war that leads to temptations from Satan.
A war that leads to an almost hypnotic spell that the world seeks to place upon some of God’s people.
And the things produced in this war are sufferings.
In now in v18 Paul is going to open up to us as to why we should not dislike this current warfare.
It’s producing something in us that is far greater.
Here’s the main thought that God is communicating to us in v18.
That every considerate believer needs to determine that the joy and happiness of his glorified condition does infinitely outweigh and exceed in the misery of his present afflictions.
I’ve entitled this message: Consider how you get your sufferings right?
I see in v18 three lines of thought before us.
THE COMPARISON in your sufferings. To get your sufferings right you have to make a comparison. “the sufferings of this present time” and “the glory that is going to be revealed to us”
The sufferings of this present time: This is the whole gamut of suffering:
grieving of the death of a loved one.
financial woes,
spoiling of your plans for life,
broken relationships.
• sin and corruption
• disease and pain
• abuse and persecution
• unregulated urges and desires
• weaknesses and shortcomings
• aging and loss
• deterioration and decay
The genuine believer struggles against everything that keeps him from living abundantly and eternally.
Rightly translated, it’s the “sufferings”. They are plural.
His sole passion is to bring everything under the control of Christ and to be conformed to the image of Christ.
Therefore, he suffers...
Compared with the glory that is to be revealed on the other side.
Our future glory will include a glorious resurrection body:
the present mortal body will die,
sown, as it were, in dishonor to be raised in glory (), for
when Christ appears He will ‘transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body’ ().
Our reward is called “glory”. In our sufferings we struggle against many downs and in many ways are put to shame, but whatever honor we lose in this mortal life, shall be abundantly supplied to us in glory with Christ.
Listen to Jesus’ words, "If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, there my servant also will be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. ()
This glory shall be revealed. It doesn’t appear right now which causes some not to believe it. 1 "See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him. 2 "Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is.” ()
And this glory will be revealed to us or in us. When raised up immortal and incorruptible, we shall be highly favored and honored by Christ on the day of judgment.
It’s then this glory is revealed upon us.
What we have by right now, we shall have full possession of then.
THE NON-COMPARISON in your sufferings “”are not worth comparing” says Paul; that is, the
vessel in which the glory has been deposited
outweighs the other one by so much that the heavier vessel drops to the bottom immediately.
Leadership Ministries Worldwide. (1996). Romans (p. 156). Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.
Our present sufferings, be they ever so many and severe, fade into insignificance when compared with our future glory.
NON-COMPARISON “”are not worth comparing”
These two things are not even worthy to compare side-by-side.
THE CONSIDERATION of your sufferings. “For I consider”. These words should not be taken as a mere matter of personal opinion.
There is, to be sure, the thought of a calculation, a mental weighing of the evidence, but the word here expresses strong assurance and not doubt.
This particular glory will be revealed. There’s no doubt about it.
And as far as God’s children are concerned all our sufferings are temporal but the glory will be never-ending.
Consider this: the glory will be ‘revealed’ not created. Meaning that the glory already exists but it’s just not perceived as of yet.
That every considerate believer needs to determine that the joy and happiness of his glorified condition does infinitely outweigh and exceed in the misery of his present afflictions.
Look at what the Scriptures lead us to consider and compare: Sufferings and glory are put side by side in both verses 17 &18.
If we don’t suffering with Christ we won’t be glorified with Christ.
And to help ease us into that, we’re told that there’s no comparison between our temporal sufferings VS the unending glory that is soon to be revealed.
Learning how to counterbalance temporal things with eternal things is one way to prevent succumbing to the delusions of our fallenness or flesh.
Listen to how Paul does this else where:
17 "For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.” ()
This is necessary because all our delusions come from considering sufferings by time and not by eternity.
But looking from the lens of the eternal puts us in the right frame of mind:
18 "So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ()
Our flesh is all about the here and now. It has to be pleased with present satisfactions.
It has to have something to be seen. This actually distorts our renewed minds.
Making that which is the here and now the bulk of what we focus upon but the things to come, almost appear like a dream.
So nothing will scatter away the temporal sufferings until we are able to focus upon eternal realities more.
It’s then we’ll shall see that time compared with eternity is like a drop taken out of the ocean.
What if the lost could just consider for a moment the shortness of their pleasures, and the length of their sorrows to come!
They would not be so devoted to their sin.
It’s just the opposite for us: May we consider the shortness of our afflictions, and the length of our joy
and the thoughts of glory would move and encourage us to carry on more patiently and cheerfully in all our trials.
Let me give you a few ways to do this:
[1.] Comparing temporal good things with eternal good things.
For example compare earthly goods with heavenly goods.
Listen to this: 34 "For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, because you know that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession.” ()
It’s the better and enduring possession of Christ Jesus that would enable us to endure to loss of material things.
Just one glimpse of Him in glory will the toils of life repay!
Consider the eternal and solid joys that will come to pass when the glory of Christ is revealed to us!
11 "You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.” ()
Abundant joy and eternal pleasures! There’s nothing like that here on earth!
Any good thing that we dote upon in this age is merely a painting of reality in comparison to the coming age.
[2.] Think of the temporal bad things with eternal bad things.
All the sufferings for you believer are nothing more than a scratch from a tree branch or a flea bite compared to the woe, wrath, and tribulation that abides on every soul that is apart from Christ and makes a practice of their evil!
There’s no earthly fire like the fires of hell!, nor is there any pain on earth like the pains of hell, like the worm that dies not!
4 "“I say to you, my friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. 5 "But I will show you the one to fear: Fear him who has authority to throw people into hell after death. Yes, I say to you, this is the one to fear!” ()
Men can threaten prison but God threatens hell. Men may cut us into pieces but they cannot get to our souls.
And just like you can use a nail to drive out another nail, it’s the same with fears.
One fear drives out another. Or the temporal thoughts of suffering are driven out be those who are in eternal sufferings.
"...Other people were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection.” ()
No don’t stop my torture, so that I can gain a better resurrection!
[3.] In comparing temporal pleasures of sin with eternal evil becomes a protector to us from slipping into sin.
Many are very proficient in committing sin here and seem to live w/out any remarkable blast or stroke of God’s judgment.
But how’s it going to be in the next world? In sin is described as: “the fleeting pleasure of sin.”.
The pleasure of sin is fleeting but the punishment of sin is forever!
In comparing the pleasures of sin with the pains of hell, this thought may reclaim us from a sensual life.
The fleeting pleasure has a dear price!
Look at v18 again,
18 "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” ()
Olyott, S. (1979). The Gospel as It Really Is: Romans Simply Explained (p. 104). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.
That’s what we’re doing isn’t it? Considering some weighty matters!
Consider this:
[1.] Our sufferings come from man but our glory comes from God.
Man afflicts, as a finite creature, but God rewards us, as an infinite and eternal being.
Think of man and the wrath of man for a moment. “...Who are you that you should fear humans who die, or a son of man who is given up like grass?” ()
Men soon perish and are gone and the effects of their anger vanishes with them.
Their time is limited. That’s how a man shows himself.
But how God shows Himself as God. For example consider these words of comfort and grace dear believer, “I will be your God”.
Before death, He’s your God. After death…He’s still your God!
None can be so good as the infinite eternal power, hence you read words like this:
32 "I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”” ()
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who were make alive to God on earth are still alive to God in heaven!
What a difference between the wrath of man and the everlasting goodness of our God both in this age and in the age to come!
[2.] Our sufferings are earthly, but our glory is heavenly.
Our sufferings are short but our glory eternal. "You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials” ()
"The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while.” ()
God considers the truth that we are but dust and knows that our spirits are very apt to fail us.
In the body, some undergo short trials. Some undergo longer trials. Some many trials some have only few trials!
But they are all for His purposes.
Even if a trial began today and lasted the rest of your life, it’s still only momentary when compared to eternity.
Think of your most dreaded enemy death. Think of your most cruel adversaries in this world:
world, flesh, and the devil.
One moment after death, neither the world, the flesh, nor the devil cannot touch you!
And death itself is only going to last a moment. In the twinkling of an eye you’ll be in eternity.
Death comes upon you swiftly and is gone just as swiftly!
Since trials and sufferings are in the path way of every pilgrim, and some may have to endure the harshest of trials,
yet since they are but short and momentary (again, in comparison), we should submit to them so that we might enjoy God always!
[3.] As trials are short, so they are light. Biblically these two are joined together. Remember the verse we read earlier?
"For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.” ()
They way that Paul could call it a light affliction is because the word, “momentary” is used.
When any one of us considers the unspeakable riches in glory in the age to come, anyone’s afflictions will seem light.
Listen to the apostle Peter: "Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy,” ()
If the foretaste be so sweet and the hope and expectation be so ravishing, what will the enjoyment be!!??
God completely moderates our trials as well: 13 "No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.” ()
If the trial be heavy, God fortifies us by the comfort and support of His Spirit.
To a strong back a burden is light.
To a weak and faint back, that same burden would be crushed and cause them to sink under the burden.
God is faithful in that He provides a way of escape.
Also our sufferings (many times) bring us shame and dishonor in the sight of the world but this glory causes us to be lovable in the sight of God.
By sufferings people have lost property, their freedom, a comfortable ease in this world among friends and family.
In being joined to Christ by faith and made in His perfect likeness, we are qualified (again because of Christ alone) for a perfect reception of His love to us.
Listen to how the principles of the kingdom work:
22 "But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him—” ()
But what’s God going to do to the wicked? He will turn their glory into everlasting shame.
In in a like fashion for the believer, God will turn their shame into everlasting glory!
It’s good to have the best for last.
It’s a terrible thing to have been happy and experience the finer things and then to become miserable.
Listen to Jesus "But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your comfort.” ()
24 "‘Father Abraham!’ he called out, ‘Have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this flame!’ 25 "“ ‘Son,’ Abraham said, ‘remember that during your life you received your good things, just as Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, while you are in agony.” ()
Lazarus had more temporal evils in the world but now was in possession of eternal good things in heaven.
Many who do well here will fare ill in the world to come. What did Jesus say? 20 "Truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” ()
A believer is best at his last!
So what’s the sense of thinking on these things this way?
First of all one day, you’re going to be ill. Sick perhaps unto death!
You’ll roll back and forth on that bed like a door on the hinges, as your flesh grows weary.
In glory, you’ll have an everlasting rest.
Here we tend to focus on the pain that we’re presently experiencing.
It will help to focus upon the greatness of the comfort, peace, and glory that will follow!
The severe pain that may befall you, or that sickness may linger heavy on you, yet comparatively speaking,
the pain will end soon enough.
But eternity shall have no end!
So you may get sick and ill.
Or you may not… but you will die one day.
As an old homeowner, moving out of his old house.
1 "For we know that if our earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands.” ()
All that happens for the believe is he leaves his old shed behind and goes to live in a palace with Christ!
He forsakes this topsy turby world and enjoys everlasting rest with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
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