Glorious Groans

Glorious Groans

Paul addresses that great future hope that we now have been given in him. Romans 8:14-25. We look to the reading of God’s word if you would join me in prayer. God, indeed, you are our helper. And by your Holy spirit, we ask that you would open our minds so that as scriptures are read, as your word is complained, that we would be led into your truth, that we would be taught your will. And Father, that you would continue to mold and shape and form us into the image and the likeness of Jesus, our Lord, in whose name we now pray. Amen. Beginning of verse 14, For all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you’ve received the spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, Abba, Father. The spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And of children and heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 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. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pain of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the spirit, grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption of sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now, hope that is seen is not hope. For who hoped for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. The word of the Lord. Thank you, God. The good news of Jesus is really good news. Paul has been stating some wonderfully great promises. No condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. We will be raised with Christ. We have life and peace through the spirit. But what happens when it doesn’t really seem like good news?

Why do I still suffer the effects of sin and death if it’s been conquered by Jesus? Now, Paul, he doesn’t tiptoe around the issue at all. He takes it straight on. Suffering is a part of our life of faith because it was a part of Jesus’ life of faith. And far from being abandoned by the Lord, we can draw near to him in all that he has for us, that we are not in a condition of abandonment, but our Father has called us to be with him. And suffering, it brings about God’s good purposes in our lives. And so we must, by faith, continue to trust in him in the midst of it, even as we look forward to the glory that will one day be revealed to us. Paul continues to build on themes he mentioned all the way back in chapter 5. There in verses 1-5, Paul says, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Amazing and wonderful promises. But he goes on, not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings.

And that’s a What? Knowing that suffering produces endurance. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy spirit who’s been given to us. Amazing declaration of truth. And Paul continues then to build on this theme that he mentioned back then. To further expand and explain that we have been adopted by God as children through Jesus. We also have inherited Christ’s suffering with him in this life. And through this suffering, we also now groan. And this will give way to a glorious future, not not only for us, but also for creation. Well, looking at this inherited suffering, for all who are led by the spirit, Paul says, are sons of God. Now, I know in our days, sometimes refer only to a son can for some seem demeaning. But keep in mind that both Jewish and ancient Gentile cultures, inheritance was primarily from father to sons. When Paul says here in verse 14, Sons of God, 15 and 23, adoption as sons. Both men and women are referred to as sons because it speaks of the inheritance that everyone receives in Christ.

They have the same rights. There’s no lesser than by gender in the kingdom. They are not left out. Christianity was thousands of years ahead when it comes to this issue of equality before the Lord and in receiving the benefits of Christ. Now, it is true that That may not have been lived out well by various Christians through the ages, but it is a part of our spiritual DNA. Also in verse 14, being led by the spirit, it’s not speaking about guidance. It’s not being spoken about in leading that way. Should I do this or should I do that? It’s very similar to Galatians 5. It’s saying walk by the spirit. It speaks of a life that’s yielded to the Holy spirit, not to the flesh, which he’s been talking about in the previous verses. Now, to be sure, living Being in step with the spirit will produce guidance in your life. Often we’re worried about making the right choice. Should we go to this school? Should we go to that school? Should we have this job or that job? The far more important question that the Lord is concerned about is, how are you going to live morally in this job or that job, this school or that school?

And so the guidance that takes place is the spirit leading us to live Live out a life submitted to the Lord wherever he puts us. And Paul goes on, verse 15, For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoptions of sons who cry out, ‘Abba, Father.

‘ Now, children walk into a home and they go straight to the fridge for something to eat because they belong to the house.

You don’t do that if you’re not a part of the family in some significant way. Been around long enough, maybe you’re given access as well because you’re now part of the family. Paul is telling us that we are part of the family. In the Roman world, particularly, a man could adopt a non-family member as a son who had full legal status and the rights conferred legally to that person. And Paul borrows from this idea to speak about you and I now being God’s legitimate children through Jesus. We have received Jesus status now as sons and daughters of our Father.

We can enter into the house.

We have full fridge status. You think about that. When you’re into somebody, an acquaintance house or whatever, you don’t do that. If you go tour the Conrad mansion, it’s, Don’t touch anything. Stay behind the ropes. You’re terrified if you got small children there, if they are interested in something, they want to go for it.

Like, No, it’s not ours.

Nor can we afford to break it. It’s too valuable. It’s not ours. Here, God has given you full access to his house, to the valuable possessions and promises that go with it. In Jesus, you have fridge access. When we call out to him, as Jesus did in his prayers, we call out this affectionate term, Abba. Here’s my dad. Here’s my papa. Abba. Our prayers ought to be an urgent and sincere crying out to God as our Father. Paul goes on.

He says in verse 16, The spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. That’s so important. How easy it is for our sins, the world and the devil, to cause us to doubt that we really belong to God or that we somehow lose our status.

When I’m doing really well, open a fridge and jump right, take whatever I want, but I’m not doing well, it’s like I got to sit there in a real passive way, looking longingly and forlorn, hoping that God will somehow reinstate me to the family.

Say, No, you are in because of Jesus.

You have full status as children children of God.

The Holy spirit gives us this internal witness or testimony telling us, You belong here. You are a legitimate child of your heavenly Father. How important that is because We doubt it. God’s spirit’s been saying, No, it’s not about you. It’s about what God has done for you through his son. You have full rights and privileges, and the spirit within you is telling you that, waging war against everything that would try to make you feel less than. When you’ve done something terrible, your parents don’t stop being your parents.

Probably when it’s seen how to love your children in a greater way in those moments.

And the Holy spirit is saying, You don’t stop being a child of God.

You belong. You are legitimate. And he goes on to say, If you’re children, then heirs, heirs of God and fell heirs with Christ. All of Christ’s privileges and status have become ours because we are in him.

We are united to him. But notice that Paul adds something else here, Provided we suffer with him in order that we also be glorified with him.

What does that mean, to suffer with him? It sounds like a bait and switched. All these benefits are yours by grace. Everything Jesus has is yours by grace as long as you work your hind end off. Well, that doesn’t sound like grace.

That’s not what he’s saying. It’s not conditional in that sense.

I appreciate one New Testament commentator, he put it this way, Participation in Christ’s glory can only come through participation in the suffering. Paul says, For us, an unbreakable law of the Kingdom, according to which glory can only come by way of suffering. For the glory of Kingdom of God is obtained only through participation in Christ. And belonging to Christ cannot but bring about our participation in the sufferings of Christ.

That suffering is a sign of belonging to the family.

Of course, it speaks of persecution, but it includes the anxieties, the stressors, the tensions of living in a fallen and sinful world.

Now, this This doesn’t sell really well in America. There are many churches that teach just the opposite of what Paul is saying here. Come to Jesus and you have no suffering, blessing upon blessing.

That usually means you get the house, the car, and the spouse of your dreams. Name it and claim it or some lighter version of that. No, that’s not what Paul is saying. Suffering is a part of the life of a believer because it’s the of the life of our savior.

Paul has already told us to rejoice in our sufferings. Jesus on the sermon on the mount, blessed are you who are persecuted for For your God, for your righteousness’s sake, for yours is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. And in John 15, telling his disciples, Remember what I told you, a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you. Jesus is upfront about this from the beginning. Paul continues this in Philippians 1, For you have been granted.

To be granted means privilege.

You’ve been granted for the sake of Jesus, you should not only believe in him, but also suffer for his sake. 1 Thessalonians 3, Paul talking to these new believers. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that you would suffer affliction, justice has come to pass, just as you know.

2 Timothy 3, Indeed, all who desire to live a righteous life in Jesus will be persecuted.

1 Peter 3, But even if you should suffer for righteousness, meaning you will, you will be blessed. And all of this Paul connects with future glory. Verse 18, For I consider that the sufferings of this present life are not worth comparing with the glory that’s to be revealed to us. And what this means is we live in this tension of the already but not yet. Like Jesus, we too must pass through pain and suffering in this life in the hope of what God has promised to be fully revealed in the next. When we see that we’re not alone in this suffering. Paul personifies creation here in verse 19, For creation waits eagerly for the longing of the revealing of the sons of God, for creation was subjected to futility or frustration, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope that creation itself would be set free from its bondage to corruption, obtain freedom of the glory of the children of God. Verse 22, For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pangs of childbirth until now. That’s the created world around us. Because of mankind’s sin in Adam and Eve, creation fell under a curse.

What the Lord had originally intended creation to be is now marred by our sin. The Lord’s original design was for people to work in harmony with creation, a hand-in-glove relationship. It’s broken. And we entered into a state of sin and misery. The very design and purpose of creation was frustrated. A state of futility all the while as God’s agents have remained contrary to him. It’s God’s people, humans in rebellion against God and everything we were meant to be hand in love with creation now is out of sorts. And that inner groaning of a spirit that Paul speaks of in 23 is our living intention of this already, but not yet, of what Christ has done. You’ve done this. If you try to take two magnets and put them together and they’re the same pole.

It just it just keeps moving around.

You can’t get it there. It’s got to be flipped around to where it attracts. We’re living in in that part. It doesn’t connect. You know it’s supposed to, but it keeps getting pushed away. Start a garden with the weeds. The things you don’t want to grow, grow, and the things you want to grow, die. And that’s in everything that we do.

In a way, we live this polarity, and the spirit of life now resides in us who are dying.

And we’re waiting for this enormous flip at the world’s end, to flip it around, to bring it back together. But we’re not there yet. Until then, this tension remains and this groan of renewal for the world because the death and decay is present. Things are not the way that we’re supposed to be, and we feel this. Our very best moments in this life are only temporary, and yet eternity is written in our hearts. Think about this. When people live without this biblical understanding, this is just normal. This is what they call nature.

It’s awful.

We all feel the tension, and then people are honest. They’re like, something’s not right. And we know it’s not right. And the Bible tells us It gives us a great hope because of what Jesus has done and what is coming. And we need that hope. Because even as we make great strides forward in some areas, we have setbacks in others. How many diseases we now have cures and treatments for. It’s amazing. Pain relief for ailments that past generations suffered so greatly with. And yet our advancements have also made it so that our common drinking water has got plastics in it. We have a floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean that’s four Montanas in size of garbage floating around. Pfass, forever chemicals in our water here. Natural disasters that caused so much death and destruction. Manmade disasters that caused so much death and destruction. Paul is saying that just as a man has been the cause of creation’s fall, our redemption and our resurrection will be the means of creation’s renewal. Don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like, but it’s going to be wonderful. As he personifies creation, longing for that day when we will be perfected to be able to hand in glove once more.

That creation will actually work with Our future glory will include the glory of renewed creation. We also see then a very hopeful groaning.

Verse 23, And not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the spirits grown inwardly as we eagerly wait adoption as sons, 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. Well, what’s this inward groaning? It’s this combination of great anticipation, what we will one day fully be, combined with the present loss and frustration of what’s not perfected. The magnets, again, the world and ourselves are not right. They will one day be restored, but not yet. Notice that Paul tells us to do something about this. He said to wait with patience. This patience is not just passively sitting there letting things happen to you. Biblical patience is active. Like the Psalm, we cry out, How long, O Lord? We actively bring our fears, our frustrations, and we lay them before the Lord as we take up a heart in a posture of worship. That is work. By no means is this passive. It’s extraordinary work. And this is where we see the great strengthening of the Holy spirit, his work within us for this very task. We’re going to look at this more next week, but verse 26 says the Holy spirit also groans.

Likewise, the spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the spirit intercedes for us, groaning with words too deep for understanding. It means in our prayers that we are now directed by the Holy spirit for the things that we really need, not necessarily for the things that we want.

I’ve said this before, Saint Augustine’s mother, Monica, prayed so fervently that her son would not lead and head off to Rome.

In her mind, it was like going to Las Vegas with a full paycheck. Nothing good is going to happen here. So she’s pleading with the Lord, Don’t let him go. Don’t let him go. He went. God got a hold of him there because her real prayer was, God, save my son. The Lord answered her real prayer, not the one that she prayed. Because the spirit within her, interceding for what she truly needs. And notice that the spirit helps by not removing our weakness, but through our weakness. That’s troubling for us. I thought my life would be better if I came to Jesus. In these moments of suffering is where we grow the most. We are to have a present endurance in light of a future glory. When you go through the labor of childbirth, at least from a male perspective, you wonder why we just all have one child families. Why would any woman want to do that again? Because the baby was worth the labor pains. All that agony and then the delight of holding this child. And soon after that, it’s like, I’d be okay with another one. Because of the momentary affliction is small in light of the joy and the wonder of what comes.

Right now, we are in labor, in a sense, without the baby present. And notice it says it’s a we, it’s communal. We pray. We ask. We’re not alone. And that’s super important for us to know that as the body of Christ. We together. And we see creation is groaning. We’re groaning. The spirit is groaning. And all of this points us to someone else who has groaned. In the Our Nation. God became one of us. He came in vulnerability, weakness, hunger, humiliation. He has experienced what we experience. How often is the case? God, you don’t know what it’s like. How could you let me go through this? Oh, he knows what it’s like. His son, his only begotten son, comes in the midst of this pain and this suffering to bring it to an end. In Mark 7, A deaf and mute man is brought to Jesus, and there’s this very curious statement. Jesus, looking up to heaven, he sighed. And he said, be opened. He sighed. It’s the same Greek word here that Paul uses for groaning. You’d be groaning or sigh. Jesus groaned, he sighed. The same tension that we feel, the devastation of sin, disease, He’s before him.

He feels the weight of it even as he releases this person into healing. And on the cross, familiar words to us, Psalm 22, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus quotes that. The rest of the verse, Why are you so far from saving me from the words of my groaning? Jesus took that on himself, willingly came in order to be abandoned by the Father on the cross that we would not experience the punishment we deserve. He took our sentence of death into himself, that we would have life in him. He groaned for us to the Father, that our groans to the Father would be heard.

Now, as our Abba Father, That’s the relationship that we have to our dad, to be able to come to him.

Just as he heard Jesus as his son, Paul is telling us We are now heard in the same way because we have the same status. We have full access to the house of our Father. The fridge is open. We can come into all of God’s promises. Even as we now face struggles, doubts, temptations, all the things of living in this world, our sin, the flesh, the devil, warring against us. But the hope of future glory awaits. And we are to live now in light of what’s to come. The labor pain, sure, but there’s a baby coming that makes it Of course, in this life, it in this life. It changes everything for us. Nothing is beyond God’s reach for our lives, for his purposes. Everything can be endured because it’s temporary and the spirit is within you, praying for you, even in your own weakness, that through your weakness, Jesus would be glorified in your life. That is really, really good news. That is worth communicating to people because everybody is in this futility, in this frustration. Everybody has this His tension of the magnet’s not coming together. And you say, You know what? They’re not going to come together without Jesus.

He’s got to flip it around to bring it there. He’s got to change what you cannot change. And the good news is that he has done that. And in this, we have access to our heavenly Father as his sons and his daughters. And every This time, something in life comes against that or the devil whispering in your ear that you’re illegitimate, the spirit is there saying, You belong here. You belong here because of what my beloved son has done, you now belong. And yes, you will suffer in this life for bearing his name. But just as this birth brought forth through the offering of Christ, so too the glory that’s yet to be revealed for us is going to give birth into the sure and certain hope that God has given to us. That’s worth rejoicing in. Pray with me. Father, as we come before you this day, we thank you. We thank you that we belong. We thank you that you indeed are our Abba, our dad. Father, we ask that you, by your spirit, that he would continue to strengthen us. Lord, that we would reflect the image and the likeness of our savior Jesus.

Lord, let us be life and light to those around us that you would be pleased to use us in drawing men, women, and children to the good news of Jesus. And Father, I pray for those who are struggling with suffering right now. I pray, Father, that we, as your people, could not only come around them, but Lord, that you would sustain them by the power of your spirit residing in them for the hope of glory that awaits us. Lord, all these things we pray and ask through Jesus are risen and mighty Lord. Amen.

Discaimer: This sermon text was generated by an automated transcription service.