Romans 8: 18-39

More Than Conqueros 

Spider man: this kid go on a field trip and accidentally gets bitten by a genetically engineered spider that gives him spider like super powers. He wakes up stronger, hearing every little thing, can see perfectly, can even run up walls. At lunch he accidentally drops a tray of food on another student and when that guy get mad and wants to fight, Peter’s new abilities are no match. The student throws punches at which Peter dodges without any hesitation or struggle. When the student charges him Peter nonchalantly flips over him safely. And when the student tries to punch him, Peter grabs his arm and sends him flying down the hall. It is a classic scene of a superhero recognizing he now has something that gives him a leg up on others. Things that used to intimidate him no longer intimidate him. He has been given a new power, and that has given him confidence and security that this big thug cannot hurt him.

There are many hard things we go through in life: hardship and adversity,  opposition and persecution, even sickness and death. Scripture never says that these will go away. They are real and we will face them and we will feel them, but we also know that in Christ Jesus 

Prop: In Jesus, the worst and most painful circumstances we face will result in our good, and he empowers us to overcome them. 

Those enemies will not hurt us. They cannot overpower what Christ has done for us. And so that means that as long as we are in Christ, we will more than overcome. We don't just overcome in the sense of making it through, we will thrive. 

The Groanings of the Present Time

[22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 

[23 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. 

One of the most repeated words in this passage is groaning. To groan or sigh as the result of deep concern or stress - 'to groan, to sigh, groan, sigh.'  

We are not delivered from hardship. We will experience it. We will feel it. 

The reason for this is that this word has been subjected to futility. It is under a curse because of the fall and sin. 

We have talked about some great things in Romans 8. There is no condemnation. The Spirit set us free. The mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace. Mind of flesh is death. We are set free of that. We can call on God as Father! But tucked away that is also verse 17.

[17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

We will share in the glory of Christ, but now is the time that we share in his sufferings. In fact, sharing in his glory later is contingent on sharing in his suffering now! HOw about that for a book title! If our savior suffered. Then we will certainly suffer too. If we are to be like him. 

Quotes psalm in verse 36, “We are being killed all day long. As sheep to be slaughtered.” What happened to Jesus will happen to us. Subject to corruption: decay. 

all creation is groaning. v22.  

[20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 

Do you feel this? Groaning? Open mouth aching. If you don’t, or if you haven’t just wait. “If you live long enough you will suffer.” DA Carson. How long O Lord, p69.

We were cursed with futility. We feel it in so many ways. Me having a hard time. Matt L. Noble. No one escapes the curse. We all feel it. We all long for restoration. And this passage speaks to great truths on that restoration. But just know there will be pain and suffering. Loss. Hurt. Loneliness. If you are suffering dont think something is wrong. If you are being persecuted for your faith, don't think you have missed something. 

He told us it would be this way. But there is hope. Three things in this passage that fill us with hope.

  • The Glory to To Come

[21 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.

Scripture is clear about the hardships that we will encounter in this life. People miss that too often. But also, don't miss the hope that is in Christ. All the hardships are to lift our eyes beyond what we see. We are in bondage of sin. And this pain is to lift us beyond these that we might find freedom from this world and find the glory God has for his children. 

Imagine if nothing went wrong in the world. Then you would be content with this. This is not the end. It would also indicate that there is nothing wrong for a world that rejects God. Purpose to suffering that goes beyond improving you for this world. 

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

We need saving. SAving from all the problems in the world. I frequently hear people at funerals say things like, “Well, he is in a better place now.” I know it's not the time, but I want to ask why you believe that. What is the basis of your belief? No assurance of that. 

God in his word tells us that while there is suffering now it will one day end. 

Why does evil happen? I don’t fully know. We are not given a nice neat concise answer to that in Scripture, but we are given something else: God is greater than evil and he can redeem any situation we find ourselves. This helps us in our struggles. This changes our struggles. 

Suffering of present time  not worth comparing to the glory that is to come. Compare and contrast. Spreadsheet. Add everything up. Weigh it on a balance. Not even worth listing those next to each other. Green beans or mushrooms. The corolla or the porsche. 

Often tell people when we see things from the perspective of eternity it will all make sense. It doesn’t make sense right now. Car was wrecked. I feel injustice now. If that person then comes to me and says I will pay for your car. I feel a sense of justice. If that person then comes and says I'll pay you ten times what your car is worth, we rejoice with a sense of advantage. The gain outweighs the loss. And this is what God says he will do for his people. God will make it right, more than right. Whatever you are thinking, it cannot compare. 

Present sufferings cannot outweigh what is in store. 

You have to know this. Yes, when you are struggling and some one tells you this, it may not be what you most want. You just want the thing fixed. But you have to consider it. 

  • The Help of the Spirit. 

You are not alone in your suffering. God has not left you. Times he removes things so that we have to depend on him more fully. 

[V26 Spirit helps us in our weakness.

We are weak. When you are weak he is strong. 

Spirit helps us in our weakness. v26. help: o help by joining in an activity or effort - 'to join in helping.' The spirit helps us in our weakness. Great force in this word. Spirit takes on himself part of burden, lifts us up under the burden with us. Some say this verb is take metaphorically from assistance afforded infants who are not able to support themselves. 

To see God’s goodness and glory wash over your sufferings. Helped by truth. Helped by Spirit

Times I have prayed to God, I can't do this any more. I was bartering with God to get my way. I found that he sustained me when I couldn't go on anymore. I clung to him. I m not going to go to the right or left. I'm going to stand firm. I dont have the strength. A times he carries you. He makes a way. 

Footsteps. Pray for that. Pray to see it. Pray to open our eyes to it. Awareness of him and not other things. 

[28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 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. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

We?? Brings everyone else into this. We, remember it is written to a church. He is calling all to testify to this. 

There is a progression here. A progression that is unstoppable. Foreknew, predestined, called, justified, glorified. Completed action in the past. It is said and done. God is doing something and we rest in him. It is not our hold on Christ that gives us confidence, it is his hold on us. 

Its one thing to know something theoretically. Its another thing to know experientially. 

All will work for our good. Will be hard. Will be painful. Will producing something greater than you can imagine. The imagery of child birthis used here. Deeply painful. Deeply intense. Hard. and something amazing comes from all of that groaning. 

Can I also point out the “We know.” Who is the we?? It is the church. The people of God. The people who can testify.

Trevin Wax, The Danger of Self Soothing. TGC article.

Many social media feeds are now crowded with “therapy influencers who tell us to be more aware of our anxiety, our trauma, our distress. Instagram is full of anxious confessions and therapy-speak. The TikTok hashtag #Trauma has more than 6 billion views. . . . More than 5,500 podcasts have the word trauma in their title.”

Recent studies show it’s possible for people to “consume so much information about anxiety disorders that they begin to process normal problems of living as signs of a decline in mental health.” … We cannot live together in harmony if all we have is “my truth” and “your truth” as synonyms for experience or personal fortitude.

Unless we appeal to Scripture, unless we heed the wisdom and experience of other believers, unless we find ways to be formed by deeper truth than today’s therapy-speak, unless we maintain categories of sin and repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation, acceptance and aspiration, we’ll get sucked into the superficial online world that promises community but delivers isolation.”

We know all creation has been subjected to futility. We know all creation is groaning. We know the work of the Spirit. We know the work of Christ and that all things are working together for our good. The spirit helps us, but we also have to make a decision to put ourselves in position for the Spirit to work in us. The spirit helps us. 

  • The Security of Jesus.

[32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 

Argument greater to the lesser. If the greater has been granted why would the lesser be withheld. 

If he sent his son to die for our sins. What will he now withhold? Certainly he will not let these things overcome us. He will cause even the worst things in life to bring about our good. 

[35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 

[ 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John Chrysostom. Wrote a sermon, No one can injure the man who doesn't injure himself. We stay near to Christ and it's going to be ok. It may be hard. And it is often hard because I have to rethink my circumstances, realign my dream for my life, rethink how his ways are greater than my ways. 

When John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407) was brought before the empress Eudoxia, she threatened him with banishment if he insisted on his Christian independence as a preacher.This would be his second banishment, and it would be permanent. 

“You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father’s house.”

“But I will kill you,” said the empress.

“No, you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God,” said John.

“I will take away your treasures.”

“No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.”

“But I will drive you away from your friends and you will have no one left.”

“No, you cannot, for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me.

I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to harm me.”

If i can tell you one thing. Go through your suffering knowing its going to end more gloriously than you can imagine. Lymes. Corporate world. 

It's interesting how overwhelming mental health disorders are right now. We live in the most affluent society in the history of the world. And much of this coincides with a turning from God. Turning from a confidence that he is working all things for the good of those who love him. People have no sense of that. 

More than conquerors. 37-39

You will likely go through things that are harder than you could ever have imagined. People will often say things like God wont let us fail. Thats not true. Read your Bible. Some of Paul’s missions trips ended with beatings, imprisonment, stonings, shipwreck. It could have been game over, but Paul kept going. Why? Because he knew as long as God had him here it was not the end. Our hope is that even if the worst doest happen to us, we will still be OK. 

[38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:18-39 ESV)

Sure. confident. Convinced. Means an utterly unshakable conviction based on passed experience.

In Jesus there is security. Security that nothing, nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of God. We have our first kid out of the house. It’s exciting because you see your kids growing stronger in their gifting. It’s hard because you just don’t see them as much. So our son came home for Christmas, and often made a joke about having massive house projects for him to get done … I got a scowl from momma. Wasn't nothing going to keep her from seeing her baby. That kid is going to get some good food, get some pampering. 

God loves his children. We feel the weight of sin and corruption all around us. But he has set a time in which he will call us home and into the bosom of his love. 

Rest in the assurance of his work and his love.

[28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 

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

[38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.