A Future Hope Secured – Sermon Recap
After discussing the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian, Paul now uses this portion of the text to talk about a future hope that is secured by the Spirit. A hope that doesn’t simply remove us from suffering, but helps us preserve through them. In times of uncertainty, it’s not enough to just blindly place your hope on something that won’t last. We need to have the assurance that this hope that God has given us is not only present but active enough to guide us into eternity with God.
Paul tells us in this section of the text that:
- God’s Glory Outshines Our Present Sufferings (We can endure now because we will later spend eternity in heaven)
- All Creation Groans (We live in a broken reality longing for restoration)
- The Spirit Groans for Us (The Holy Spirit helps us communicate with God)
- God works all things for good and secures it for us (All things work together for our good and God’s glory)
It’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can believe in a future hope that keeps us secure in the midst of suffering.
God’s Glory Outshines Our Present Sufferings (Romans 8:18)
At first glance, this verse can seem a bit dismissive. It’s as if Paul is writing from a place of ignorance or privilege, unaffected by all that is going on in the world. But Paul was not immune to trials and tribulations. If anyone knew what it was like to suffer, it would be Paul. The audience that he is writing to is undergoing terrible persecution. What Paul is actually doing with this verse is reminding us of what the Christian life is truly about: suffering for the sake of the gospel.
Paul encourages us to have a higher perspective on life. Or rather, an eternal perspective. There’s a future glory that we will one day get to experience in its entire fullness. This coming reality is approaching and he is reassuring believers to not faint or grow weary. Yes, there will be times of trouble and hardship. But in the light of eternity, it will be like a “light momentary affliction.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
All Creation Groans (Romans 8:19-25)
Paul uses the interesting metaphor of childbirth to describe the current state of creation. A pregnant mother, anticipating the arrival of her child, has to go through a time of pain. Creation, since the arrival of sin, has been in a state of frustration. Yet through the groaning, there is an anticipation for relief. Just as we long for the birth of the child, we should also long for the restoration of creation. Paul’s purpose behind this metaphor is to remind us of the future hope that is coming. Let’s not lose sight of the truth that God will restore creation to how it was before the disruption of sin.
The Spirit Groans for Us (Romans 8:26-27)
The wait can be exhausting, but we don’t have to do it alone. We have the Holy Spirit to help us. If we struggle with prayer, the Holy Spirit is able to speak to God for us. Often times, we get discouraged by the idea that God isn’t listening to our prayers. We think that we have to say the right words or follow a specific formula. But all we need is the Holy Spirit to guide us. Since He is in direct communion with God and knows our hearts, all of our prayers and groaning are given to God. This section of the text comforts the reader to wait with expectancy because God is always listening and will walk alongside you through the sufferings of the present age.
God works all things for good and secures it for us (Romans 8:28-30)
Here is the good news of the gospel. God’s sovereignty is demonstrated in His ability to work everything (including our sufferings) towards a greater good. This good news is secured for us because God predestined us into His family. American preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards puts it like this: “you contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” God, in His wisdom and holiness, planned out our salvation from beginning to end. The suffering we will encounter in this life doesn’t compare to what God has prepared for us in the next. So take heart in the future hope that is secured for you because Christ has overcome the world. (John 16:33)