Romans 8:18-30 – From Groans to Glory

Is it possible to know the victorious life that is promised to those who are in Christ without suffering and pain? Some would have us believe it is. Yet, we all know that we will at some point, endure a season (or two) of suffering. And it is in those seasons that we have the word of God to bring us comfort and to direct us towards hope.

Would you please open your bibles to the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is going to be revealed to us.

Beloved, we must seek God where he has revealed himself, that is, in Jesus and we must seek Jesus where he is most revealed, and that is on the cross. We must have what Martin Luther called a theologia crucisor a theology of the cross.

Writing on this Carl Truemann says, “At the heart of this new theology was the notion that God reveals himself under his exact opposite; or, to express this another way, God achieves his intended purposes by doing the exact opposite of that which humans might expect.”

The greatest example of this is the cross. God beats sin and evil by allowing sin and evil to (seemingly) beat him. This is a theology of the cross. Let me put it another way, I do not believe it was hard for God to walk out of a cave early on a Sunday morning, God climbing onto a cross was the hard part. That is where we see the full force of gospel power most brilliantly on display.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon once preached that, “There will be no crown wearers in heaven that have not been cross bearers on earth.”

I ask again,is it possible to know the victorious life that is promised to those who are in Christ without suffering and pain? Now some, to their shame, would have us believe it is. Yet, we all know that we will at some point, endure a season (or two) of suffering. And it is in those seasons that we have the word of God to bring us comfort and to direct us towards hope.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is going to be revealed to us.

Beloved, the road to glory is paved with groans. And because God is mercy, we don’t have to go down that road without the Ghost. The Holy Spirit is with us and keeps us.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in our suffering and, the power of the Holy Spirit in securing our status as children, is itself the liberating work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

Now, in our text, the apostle Paul moves us from glory to glory starting in v. 18 then walks us down the road where we are met by 3 groans.

·     Creation groans (vv.18-22).

o  Vance Havner once said that, “We live in a ruined and wrecked world, still pretty in spots, but groaning in pain.” What does he mean? Well, I believe he means that once sin entered into our lives to destroy that which was made good, everything was, in a way, destroyed. Humans live in solidarity with the world itself. The apostle Paul doesn’t seem to be able to think about humans apart from their environment. So in that way, sin and salvation don’t just affect the bodies of humans but also the environment they live in. as a result of human sin, the world is subjected to futility and decay. Charles H. Talbert in his commentary on Romans writes, “The ultimate destiny of the physical world is not annihilation but transformation.” Creation groans.

·     We groan (vv.23-25).

o  Not only does the physical world groan but we groan also. Look at this first fruits thing a little closer. What does that mean? Well, it means that the holy Spirit works to keep us, as a deposit of sorts, a guarantee. Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “In him you also-when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you also believed- were sealed in him with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.”

·     The Holy Spirit groans (vv.26-30).

o  Not only does He keep us, but also he groans for us! This is so much more than a prayer. You see it isn’t about the Holy Spirit praying for us more than it is about what the Holy Spirit is praying would be true of us…  The Holy Spirit groans so that we would know the will of God!

I was asking Frances about the bond between a brand new infant and its mother. Meaning, I was asking what the experts had to say about how a brand new human being who is crying and screaming, calms down the moment it lays on top of its mother. It seems that the sound of a mother’s heartbeat is enough to soothe a child. There is something of a primal tone that we all know, when we hear it.

It is a sound that says, “You are safe.” It is a familiar sound, it is something we know even when, at times, everything else feels unknowable. In verse 26, this sound, this groan, this primal tone, becomes a song of intercession. And, we don’t need to know what is being sung, because all we need to know, is that it is being sung on our behalf.

God is concerned about the trials of your people. We are never alone and, listen to this, we are never left without a voice, even when we can’t utter a knowable word, the Holy Spirit sings a song of intercession on our behalf. Beloved, please find comfort in that. Find safety in that.

Verse 28 says this:

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. There is a place for you, there is a room for you, there is rest for you, in God’s home.