My guess is that right now, you or someone you care about is going through something difficult. You need healing. You need comfort in the reality of grief and loss. You need provision at work or for work. You need guidance as questions or troubles loom. In one of the most famous passages from the Bible, Romans chapter 8, Paul acknowledges the reality of this saying “I consider that our present sufferings…” (v 18) In his day and in ours, there are sufferings. Yet Paul also tells us that we have hope and we can live with hope. It is more than hopefulness. It is more than a positive feeling. One preacher said Paul’s teaching “is concerned about the glory of the blessed hope. It is taught everywhere in the Bible from beginning to end.” 1
We need hope when troubles come. In fact, troubles seems to be all around us. Paul points out that even nature itself is not what it was meant to be (v 19-22). The created world in nature is an endless cycle of growth followed by death and decay. Creations waits and groans, longing for that day when things will be as they were created to be. Things are not yet what they shall be due to the consequence of sin entering the world. (Gen 3)
We long for that day when things will be made right with us as well. As we wait, there is a way to acknowledge the reality of our troubles and carry on in hope. Paul tells us that there will be a day when “glory will be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:18,25)
He tells us “There is the hope of the people of God - Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27) This hope points to how things were meant to be. We were created in the image of God. We were made to share in the glory of God as His created beings. We were made to be with him. His love for us is so great that though this world may bring troubles and suffering, that will not separate us from God.
After delivering Israel out of slavery in Egypt, we learn “The Lord has his heart set on you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all people, for you were the fewest of all people. But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors, he brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you.” (Deut 7:7-8) God delivered them, not because they were great but because God loved them.
God’s great love for us became even more real when he sent his only son, Jesus. Jesus overcame death and invited us to new life — life with him. We know this now and we will realize it even more in the future, when we will see God face to face; “when the glory will be revealed to us.” (Rom 8:18,23)
C.S. Lewis writes: “[God] will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal, creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) his own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but it is what we are for.” 2
With that kind of reassurance, Paul writes, “The glory to come outweighs the sufferings of the present.” The hope comes from what Jesus has done for us in the past. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes,” Faith comes first, hope goes behind it; faith leads up to hope. Faith gives a certainty about these, hope makes us stand on tiptoe to have a look at them. Hope is stronger than faith, it takes us a step further.”
Let us live in hope.
This article is part of 40 Days in Romans 8
D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Romans: An Exposition of Chapter 8:17-39 The Final Perseverance of the Saints
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. As quoted by Tim Keller in Romans 8-16 For You