Romans 8:18-25 (NKJV)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits 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; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Paul backs up his exhortations in the previous passage with a spectacular view of the end times. Not only do we eagerly wait for it, but the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption.
So, this is bigger than just us getting into heaven. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. And this is all part of God’s plan. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope.
Wait. Him who subjected it in hope? What’s that all about?
Genesis Chapter 3.
Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.” — Genesis 3:17b–18 (NKJV)
This plan has been unfolding from the beginning. It’s a big plan. That’s why the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Don’t forget how great the sufferings of this present time were in Paul’s day. Martyrdom was common back then. And Paul isn’t just saying that the future glory dwarfs that suffering; he’s saying the suffering isn’t even worthy to be compared to that glory.
This isn’t just abstract theology. Paul is setting his readers up for something.
Most modern Christians don’t face the kind of trials that the recipients of this letter faced—but some do. The rest of us should be praying for them with the intensity of a thousand suns.
We often honor the servicemen and women who protect our freedoms. We should. This is that on steroids. Our debt to the Christian martyrs who went before us is immeasurable. Praying for the ones of our day is the least we can do.
And it’s OK if you find yourself asking God, “Why do you allow their persecution?”
That means your heart’s in it.
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