Romans 8:18-21 ESV
“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.”
We read in verse 17 of Romans that we are children of God, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, PROVIDED (IF) we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. And, we read in verses 1-16 much of what that suffering entails. For, it necessitates that we die with Christ to sin daily, that we deny self, and that we walk in obedience to our Lord, by the Spirit.
But the suffering also includes being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. For, if truly we live by what is taught here in Romans 8 and in Romans 6, and in other such passages of Scripture in the Bible, we will be hated, and we will be persecuted for our walks of faith and for our obedience to our Lord.
But what suffering we must endure in this life pales by comparison with what life will be like when our Lord comes to take us home to be with him forever and our suffering will be no more. Our tears will be wiped from our eyes. Sin will no longer be a present reality. Wickedness will be no more. We will have no more pain and sorrow, and we will be with our Lord face to face. Amen!
Romans 8:22-25 ESV
“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.”
Groaning doesn’t mean complaining. It doesn’t mean being disgruntled and argumentative. It merely means that we long for the day when all this will be over, when we won’t have to suffer any longer, and when evil will be no more. And, we long for the day when we can be with our Lord for eternity. I can’t even begin to comprehend what that will look like, but I know it will be awesome! A life with our Lord without evil. So awesome!
Romans 8:26-27 ESV
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
But while we still live on this earth, we are going to have pain, sorrow, heartache and sickness. And, we are going to face temptation to sin against God and to be afraid and to doubt God and his sovereignty. And, right now we are getting all this “in spades.”
But sickness is a normal part of life. Every year people get viruses, and every year people die from complications resulting from those viruses or resulting from a combination of health conditions. So, it is not out of the ordinary to have such situations as these we are now facing.
So, what is the big deal with this one? Well, depending upon who you talk with or who you listen to, the answer to that question can vary widely. But now we have the added draconian measures to the mix which then makes it even more painful and even more sorrowful. For, now you have people out of work, and the economy appears to be crashing, and there is talk of food shortages and even more of this yet to come.
And much of this we have no control over, and decisions are being made for our lives which may be harmful to our lives, and our freedoms are being taken away from us, and so many people are afraid and they are living in that fear.
So, the encouragement here for followers of Jesus Christ is that the Holy Spirit is there to help us in our times of weakness. For, in all this craziness in which we are now living, it can be very confusing knowing what is going on, for sometimes it changes several times within one day. And, we truly may not know what to think of the situation or even how to pray about it.
I know there have been times in my own life when all I could pray was “Help!” And, the Lord came to the rescue. And, he healed my broken heart, and he gave me comfort, and he gave me understanding of my situation, so I knew how to respond to it.
For, the Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God, and he helps us when we are weak to be strong in our Lord and in his mighty strength. And, he helps us to not be afraid, but to trust our Lord in all circumstances, and to keep walking in obedience to his word.
Romans 8:28-30 ESV
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
And, this is really the clincher. No matter what we are going through, God is still sovereign. He is still on the throne. And, he is allowing it to take place or it could not happen. So, he has a purpose for it all. And, he is working all things together for the good of us who love (obey) him, and who have been called according to his purpose.
So, we should never be afraid. We have no cause to fear viruses or hornets or draconian measures or whatever they may do to us, for our God is with us, and greater is HE who is within us than he who is in the world.
For, if our Lord wants us to live, we will live, and if he wants us to die, we will die. For, we could sweat greatly over making sure we do all the right things to avoid getting sick and we could still die of something else. So, we need to realize that our lives are in God’s hands, and we need to put them back into his hands and let him lead us in where to go and what to do, and we need to not live in fear of anything!
Let’s get our focus off all these things of this world and all the what ifs of what may or may not happen to us tomorrow or the next day or the next. We need to stop listening to all the fear mongering, and we need to just trust the Lord with our lives and give it all over to him.
And, we need to focus our lives on being conformed to HIS likeness, not on killing ourselves over making certain we conform to all the recommended measures on how to avoid getting a virus. For fear is the opposite of faith, and it is of Satan, not of God. So, we need to refocus on the Lord, and on his will and purpose for our lives, and then we need to be putting our time and efforts into living holy lives, pleasing to him.
For, it is God’s will that we be clean of heart, not necessarily of hands. It is his will that we wear garments of righteousness and that we resist evil, not that we wear protective gear against germs and that we fear people. He wants to change us on the inside, not necessarily on the outside. He wants us sharing his gospel with the world around us, not avoiding contact with people out of fear we might get sick, which we really have no control over.
I am certainly not teaching here that we rebel against authority, but if what the authorities are telling us to do opposes what God tells us to do, then we do resist them. And, we obey God, not man. For, the authorities are promoting fear every day in the news. And, if it isn’t one thing, then it is another. If it isn’t the present reality, then they try to get us to fear the what ifs of the future. They want us living in fear. Do you see that?
But we aren’t to fear men, but we are to walk in the fear of the Lord. And, our lives are to be conformed to the Lord and to his righteousness, not to all these fearful practices being pushed upon us. So, trust God with your life.
The Sands of Time are Sinking
a.k.a. Immanuel’s Land
by Anne R. Cousin, 1857
The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—
The fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted
More deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
The King there in His beauty,
Without a veil is seen:
It were a well spent journey,
Though seven deaths lay between:
The Lamb with His fair army,
Doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory—glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my king of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s land.
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