Being identified with Christ, comes with a price. For some, the price has been hard. We are blessed to live in an age where our persecution doesn’t come in death. Martyrs are not as commonplace as they once were. Today, in our look at Romans 8:16-25, we are going to look at how we go from suffering to glory.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:16-25 ESV)
What kind of persecutions do we endure? For the first century Christian- the suffering was real. Economic and social persecution and even death were all real possibilities. Today however, we do suffer some of the same. We live in a world where being a Christian isn’t “cool” – where we either have to hide our faith or we might not go as far. There is a price to pay to know Jesus. In many parts of the world today, the price is even higher. Some still face losing family and economic stability. We have brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world who truly had to count the cost before they got saved. They knew it would cost them. They were not simply “adding” Jesus to their lives – they knew by surrendering, they were giving up their lives for his. However, nothing we suffer – not even death- can compare with the great price that Jesus paid in order to redeem us.
However, Paul didn’t count his present suffering worthy to be compared to what God was going to be able to do, and the glory that God would receive, because of our lives lived out in complete surrender to Christ. When we give our life to Him – we give it all. However, as Christ does a transforming work in us, He gets the honor and the glory due his name. Through our suffering, He is glorified.
That may come across as unloving. Why would God seek to magnify himself at the sake of our suffering. I think it is beautifully displayed in 2 Corinthians 12:9-
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
When we suffer, when we are at our weakest, people know that it isn’t us that is getting by. When cancer strikes and a family member is taken early- people know it isn’t by our strength we are able to move forward- it is only through the grace of God. When we watch children lose a parent- or a parent a child – we see God’s perfect strength in the storm. Through infertility, loss of finances, miscarriage, divorce – through every life facing storm, God can get glory if we allow Him to use our weaknesses and sufferings as a place where He can be strong, and He can get the glory.
Worshiping With My Life,