Groaning and Glory

romansAn exposition of Romans 8:18-27. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, February 14, 2010.

It is not the sort of thing we think about.  We prefer to push it out of our minds and put off dealing with it as long as possible.  But I’ll tell you when I think about it.  I think about it when I’m standing in the hospital hallway at 2:30 in the morning.  Or when sitting in an ICU waiting room anticipating the doctor’s morning report.  I think about it when I’m pulling up to the house of that total stranger who has no idea I’m about to knock on their door and change their life forever by announcing the death of their loved one.  “What’s next?”  “What is there after this life?”  “What are we to make of eternity?”

Now, death is not the only thing that causes me to consider eternity.  I also think about it when I’ve had enough!  You know what I mean.  When I’ve had it up to here.  When it’s been a rotten day on top of a rotten month and I just want to slap the next face I see.  When I think, “I just want all of this to be over.”  You have to admit there is something about tragedy and heartache that simplifies life.  Pain has the unique ability to clarify issues.  You would gladly trade it all – the house, the car, the job just for some peace.  When all hell breaks loose in your life and you are toss about by the winds of pain and sorrow – you look up and you give thought to the world to come.

But here is the thing, as the people of God we are to be different from the world around us.  Part of the work of the Spirit in us is that we have a new mindset, a new life, a new dynamic at work in us and we see the world differently.  We are possessed of a joy beyond understanding.  We have a hope that is steadfast and sure.  That hope, that joy makes a difference now and forever.

As we continue our walk through the 8th chapter of Romans I want to show you that…

Part of what it means to live by the Spirit is to live expectantly in anticipation of our future glory.
Our text this morning is found in Romans 8 beginning at verse 18.

Text: Romans 8:18-27
As we move through this text note the connection between groaning and glory.
We live in a fallen world.  Sin has brought devastation and that devastation affects all of the creation.  As Christians we are not immune.  We are not given a free pass.  We do suffer.  We experience genuine heartache.  But look at what Paul says in the opening verse of our text.

8:18 – that is an extraordinary statement.

Picture an account ledger – in one column “the sufferings of this present world” in the other “the glory that is to be revealed”.  Paul says the glory far outweighs the sufferings of this life to the point that there is no comparison between the two!

We must lift our eyes and look to the glory yet to come.

Let me point out three things.

  1. Even the creation longs for that glorious day.  (8:19-22)
  2. We, as the adopted heirs of that glory, long for its fulfillment in the resurrection.  (8:23-25)
  3. The Holy Spirit enters into our burden and expresses our hope and longing.  (8:26-27)

A glory awaits us that exceeds our wildest imagination.  You and I are going to be creatures so glorious that if we saw such ones today we would be tempted to fall down and worship them!  Because of the greatness of such a glory and because of our weakness we groan.  But we’re not alone.  The whole of creation groans awaiting that day.  The Spirit himself groans.  And one day our groaning will be replaced with glory.

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