Rom 8:18-30


God’s promises are not all positive

in the Christian life


Paul said these comforting words in an uncomfortable time as we go through this life of suffering in Christ. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” 2 Cor 1:2-7


We need to understand that the sovereign God of the universe sends trials our way according to His perfect plan. That is going to look drastically different for each and every one of us, but the end game is to strengthen our love and hope in His eternal promises. Our trials are to transform us into the image of Christ, but also to encourage those around us to endure for His glory. “Life is short and eternity is forever.” James said “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” James 4:14. Job 14:1 says "Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble.”


One of the most important things we must do when

we suffer is to give thanks.


I don’t say this lightly! And I know many believers who have endured unimaginable pain and tragedy find this very hard to do. Giving thanks in the midst of agony and affliction is certainly not easy to do. Yet Ephesians 5:20 tells us we should give thanks “always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” Paul said even in our suffering that we… “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thess 5:18. Giving thanks helps us focus on God in our affliction, and a greater appreciation for our heavenly home. Giving thanks steers us away from complaining, strengthens our faith and brings glory to Godhead. The gospel is a great reminder of the hope that is to come for the believer that goes through terrible times. We are to be looking Heavenward to the hope of God and His sovereign delivering power over our enduring sufferings. This is where you need to rest, and focus on, when you go through the storms of life; whether they are little storms or big stormsWe rest in His providential care of grace as He will see the believer though whatever storm they incur. Isaiah 4:6 says “There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.” This is where the believer rests their weary heads as they go through seasons of unrest; we rest in His sovereign arms of grace. There is a story about a Russian man who was a political prisoner in Russia for many years. “It is told that he became an icon of perseverance though suffering for the cause of freedom. Forced to work twelve hours a day at hard labor while existing on a starvation diet, he became gravely ill. The doctor predicted his imminent death. One afternoon he stopped working, even though he knew the guards would beat him severely. He just could not go on any longer. At that precise moment another prisoner a fellow Christian, approached him. With his cane the man drew a cross in the sand and erased it quickly. In the midst of his despair, that emblem of hope where Christ fought to win the victory over sin and this gave him the courage to endure that difficult day and the grueling months of imprisonment that lay before him.”

We can learn a great deal from this story…… because our present suffering doesn’t have to have victory over our lives. Paul says in this text of Scripture this morning “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (v18). Let that portion of Scripture sink in for a moment; because Paul knows a lot about suffering when it comes to the Christian life. In Galatians 6:17 Paul said, “From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church he gives a list of his sufferings for Christ. “……far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” 2 Cor 11:23-28


What does this suffering produce?


Hardship, persecutions, discomforts, distresses, hunger and suffering have produced some of the greatest saints in historyFrom the Apostle Paul to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The glory the believer receives transcends our suffering, discomfort, distresses and so on. Paul says, “Consider” which literally means “to bring to numerical calculation.” Figuratively referring to “reaching a settled conclusion by careful study and reasoning” In other words I have done the math and the answer to our suffering is “the glory that we wait for outweighs the suffering we endure in this life.”


The statement that Paul makes is accompanied by the promise of a future home which outweighs our suffering. This is where the problem begins for some. I truly believe this eternal truth is absent in many believer’s lives because they are drawn by its false beauty and what it has to offer. It’s the idea is that so many are focused on this earthly life and it clouds their vision of our eternal home.


Suffering has a way of revealing one’s heart

as it pertains to Christ.


The implication that Paul is making here is that, “This is not our home” and many Christians have a hard time realizing this on a day by day basis. Leonard Ravenhill asked the church in one of his messages “Is the world crucified to you or does it fascinate you?” J C Ryle said, “Look at the cross, think of the cross, meditate on the cross, and then go and set your affections on the world if you can.” We are strangers, in a strange and broken land, and Paul is saying our present suffering is too viewed as a backdrop of future gloryA backdrop that that demotes today’s difficulties to being insignificant by comparison. If the child of God puts all their suffering on the one side of the scale, and the glory that awaits the sons and daughters of the King on the other side.


The glory outweighs all of our past, present and

future sufferings in this life.

Without our suffering we couldn’t experience the hope, and life we have in Christ. It would only leave us walking aimlessly; life would be meaningless and flavorless. Without this spiritual battle of suffering for Christ, life would be insurmountable. Our suffering is nothing if you do the math according to our eternal inheritance. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:6-10


We know this is true because of all of creation is eagerly waiting to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. (v19) According to Paul creation is frustratingly waiting for this glory day to happen. Why? Creation stands in “futility” this is referring to the inability to “achieve a goal or purpose”. All mankind, as well as all creation, animate and inanimate was affected by the fall in the GardenBecause of man’s sin God cursed the physical universe. “And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Gen 3:17-19


The gospel of Christ is our only hope 

for every generation.


Where do we see the future hope of the saints of past and present? 

Noah had this hope

Abraham had this hope

David had this hope

The Prophets had this hope

The Shepherds had this hope

Simeon had this hope

The Disciples had this hope

The Church has this hope

I have hope


Do you? As you suffer for Him in this life.


Paul saidBut our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.” Phil 3:20-21. Our hearts should always reveal our deep seated joy and hope that we have in the gospel because it’s because of Christ that we have a hope at all. In your present suffering! What is your hope? What does your heart reveal about you and your present circumstances as it lines up with the gospel? As you suffer for Christ and wait for His eternal Kingdom, remember….


That God Is Sovereign And In Complete Control Of The Intensity And The Duration Of Your Affliction. “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose  Is 46:9-10


That God’s Love And Mercies Never Cease.The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lam 3:22-23

God Is With You In Your Present & Future Afflictions. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2


That God Is Using This Affliction To Make You Like Christ. “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.” Romans 8:28-29


That This Affliction Is Momentary And Light Compared To The Eternal Reward It Is Producing In For Eternity. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” 2 Cor 4:17


That God Is Near You In Your Pain And Anguish Of Life Circumstances.The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18


That God Has Saved You, Washed Away Your Sins, And Adopted You As His Own Child.Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” 

Romans 4:7


One Day Jesus Will Wipe Away Every Tear From Your Eyes And You Will See His Glorious Face. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev 21:4

The only way to make sense of our suffering and trials

is to look to the Cross.


This is where our hope and foundation lies in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord.

The One who gives us an eternal hope for this present life, to a glorious future to live with Him for all eternity. One day God will remove our trials and suffering. No trial is without an end, at least for the child of God who is saved by sovereign grace. Steve Lawson said “Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. There will eventually come a break in the storm. According to God’s perfect timing, this present trial will pass. It may be soon, or it may be later. It may be in this life, or it may be in the life to come. But this trial will pass. So we should have hope in God. He will eventually clear out this turbulence in our lives.” May we pray….”Lord God, strengthen and increase our hope in You as we suffer for Christ.” As we go through trials and sufferings we are reminding ourselves of His great love that we have in the gospel and our future home.


May we say with Job, Paul and the saints of past and present “Come what may and may my suffering never deter me from doubting you, but that it strengthens my hope in You.”


Paul encourages our heart to continue in the midst of sorrow and pain “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Cor 4:8-10


He goes on to say “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:16-18


What is Paul saying? This “light affliction” is real and it could be fatal for some. But cheer up its “just for a moment” meaning it will pass, so believe that it will, and trusting in the promises of the gospel. Why? There is a promise at the end of it……..eternal glory“Look to which is not seen” Keep your eyes here Christian, keep your eyes focused on Christ, not on what is seen, but what is unseen and yet to come for those who love His appearing. The eternal Heaven where His glory fills every corner of it with His unmerited love through the finishing work of the Cross.


Charles Spurgeon said "When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.”


Remember God never wastes 

a suffering


It’s preparing for us something that is far greater than what you are enduring right now, and tomorrow……it’s preparing you for eternity! Our suffering is earthly, where our glory is heavenly. Our suffering is short; where our glory is endless and eternal. Our suffering is in our mortal bodies, where our glory will be perfected and imperishable in Heaven. As Paul said “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (v18)


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