We all go through challenging situations. Sometimes we question what God is up to or we think that He has abandoned us. It is virtually impossible to live in this world and not endure some kind of hardships. I hope this message will encourage you now if you are enduring any hardships or will help you when you encounter hardships in the future.
Paul has been laying down a solid foundation on living in the power of the Spirit and not our flesh. He gives critical information for us in verses 15-17 to understand the Spirit we walk in.
Romans 8:15-17: So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
If we are not walking in the power of the Spirit, we will be held as slaves to fear as we endure hardships. God’s Spirit affirms that we are adopted as His own children, that we are His heirs. We have a strong and intimate relationship with the Father - that's what Abba refers to.
God’s Spirit affirms that we are adopted as His own children, that we are His heirs. We have a strong and intimate relationship with the Father - that's what Abba refers to. This is a key verse to the text today.
If are going to share in God’s glory, we also have to share in His sufferings. We like to experience the mountaintop moments, but we forget about the valleys and the climbing before reaching the top.
Every Olympic and professional athlete endures pain and hardship to celebrate those epic moments of victory. Every church planter will tell you hardship they endured before they saw great fruit in ministry.
I. The Future Glory
Romans 8:18-25: Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
The Fall messed everything up. Man now not only has endure death, but even creation is decaying and fading as each years passes. We are groaning for Jesus to return to us. We don’t like the effect sin has on life in this world: sickness, death, violence, and abandonment.
We are eagerly awaiting, hoping for that day, but we do get a foretaste through the Spirit that is in us. We have the kingdom of God in us! The more we experience Holy Spirit working in our lives and the more we encounter the presence of God in our worship, the more we get excited for the return of Jesus! One day we will get to experience everything Jesus has for us, including new bodies.
II. The Holy Spirit - our Helper
Romans 8:26-30: And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
We all have moments of weakness. There are days that the struggle is real and we don’t know how we are going to get through. There are times when situations in life hit us hard, knock us down, and we don’t know if we can get up again. Our faith is spent and we are exhausted. We have a helper who help us in our weakness. He partners with us and when we pray in the Spirit He intercedes on our behalf to see God’s will accomplished in our lives.
God causes everything to work together on our behalf as we pray in partnership with the Holy Spirit and birth His will into action. Those who love God - these are people that say the words, “I love you, God.” They display their trust and constant obedience to do God’s will. They are waiting for God's work and know that God is always faithful to His promises, no matter how bleak it looks.
III. More than conquerors
Romans 8:31-39: What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Here are some powerful truths that we need to understand.
If God is for us who can be against us? God is for us is all that we need. God is greater than anything that can come against us. This does not mean nothing will come against us. It means that those things will not defeat us! God has nothing else to prove to us that He is for us. He already gave his life as a ransom for us. Why would we ever come to the conclusion that God doesn’t love us or that He abandoned us. No one can condemn us because we are in right standing due to the work of the cross.
Then he throws out this question: Can anything separate us from God’s love?
Why did He ask this question? He asked this because people think hardship and trials are a form of God’s punishment when we are missing the mark. We have this notion that believers are not supposed to endure hardships.
Does God no longer loves us when we face troubles or calamity, persecution threats of death?
Paul quotes a verse from Psalms 44:22 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) What a depressing psalm! The people were faithful to God and they were going through all these challenges. Their enemies are defeating them. They're in retreat. Their belongings are being plundered. People are dying. They are mocked and humiliated. They feel abandoned by God.
Paul had something on us: He experienced Heaven while on earth. He understood that to die was gain. We view death as loss. God keeps giving us glimpses of His glory and the more we understand this future glory, the less we will be pulled down by challenges. God wants us to experience His glory, but this comes with us experiencing His suffering as well.
Like it or not we are not Indiana Jones and there is no Holy grail that is going to give us eternal life on earth. Our earthly bodies are wearing out. We will all face death at some point (unless Jesus returns soon).
Romans 8:37: No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
There is no trial or hardship that can defeat us. Even if we lose our life, we still gain! We are more than conquerors. It's an overwhelming victory. It's not even close. Jesus showed His love for us by dying on the cross - there is nothing left to prove.
Paul answers his own question - does God love us when we endure hardships? And the answer is a definite yes!
Romans 8:38-39: And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If something didn’t go the way that you thought it would, it’s okay. God loves you. These things that you are going through are not a result of something you did or did not do. What you are experiencing is a result of a fallen world and you are now a partaker in the the suffering of Christ.
You will be sharing in His glories as well. God's nature is pure goodness and His love for us is bigger than we can wrap our minds around. Keep loving and pursuing Him and you will experience the richness of his love like never before!