Friday, July 2, 2010

Our Christian Patience Will Be Rewarded!

Contemplations on Romans 8:18-25

Practice makes perfect. In the life of a Christian we need both practice and patience. In fact, what we need most of all is practice at being patient! Practice at patience gives us hope, and hope keeps us in the faith until eternal life. Paul reminds us -

Romans 8:18-25 (New American Standard Bible)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly 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 also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Everything in this world is subject to death and destruction. Everything dies. Everything disappears eventually. Oh, it blooms for a short time, but then fades, withers, and dies. Nature often has a very gloomy appearance. There are plagues of sickness and famine, the fury of storms, and the destructive force of creatures, large and small. All this is due to the Fall into Sin. The Fall did not affect only Adam and Eve and all their descendants, it also affected the entire created universe.

We ourselves can see the pain and corruption that has been placed on the world because of sin. No matter where we turn, we realize that all of creation struggles against death and destruction. The trapped animal fights for freedom. Sick and aging creatures and those we kill for food cry out in pain and fear. Everywhere in nature we hear whining, and groaning, and sighing. Thus, we should know that even the creatures of this world long to be delivered from the misery of corruption.

Not only do creatures and all creation groan, but also we Believers, even though we possess the first fruits of the Spirit. We have in our hearts a part of heaven because the Holy Spirit lives there. Yet we too still groan. Why? Because we, like all else in all creation, are under the oppression of sin. Sin causes suffering, and we are not immune just because our sins have been forgiven and we are guaranteed a place in heaven. We aren't immediately whisked away into eternity the instant we are brought to faith. No, the vast majority of us must still live here in this world and carry out God's work. And as we live, the sufferings of our time here will affect us. We are not cold and lifeless stoics unaffected and unconcerned with pain and trouble. We are touched by suffering. We feel the pain of death, and so we groan inwardly - and often cry outwardly - as we too await the completion of our adoption as Sons of God.

We are Children of God, but our move into our heavenly mansion is not yet complete and finalized. It is still hidden in the shadow of the cross. Therefore we wait for that blessed hour when Christ will redeem also our bodies as He has our souls, and make it like His own glorious body!

Make no mistake - we are already saved; we already share in the salvation won for us by Jesus on His Cross. We have His promise that all who believe in Jesus Christ as God's Son and Savior – crucified, died, buried, and risen Lord will be saved. And so we have salvation – but salvation in hope, the hope of faith. Complete and total salvation, including the perfection of our bodies, lies off in the future yet – a week, a month, a year, or a second! Still, we believe it is ours. That, my friends, is hope. We don't yet possess it, but we know we have it!

We Christians are dependent upon hope, and therefore we are dependent on waiting. That's where patience comes in. While we wait we must bear up under the pains and problems, toils and troubles of this world. But because our hope is a sure and certain hope, we can be patient and content with our condition in life. Patience is part of our life of faith. And Paul reminds us that our sufferings here are only for the present short period of time. If we place the suffering of this life onto one side of a scale, and the future glory of heaven on the other side, the glory will far outweigh the suffering.

Yes, practice makes perfect. Paul would remind us that our patience will lead us to complete and eternal perfection. Therefore, let us practice patience. Let us look forward to our future glory even while struggling through our present pains. Rest assured, Our Christian Patience Will Be Rewarded! Amen.

Pastor Spencer

1 comment:

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

Thank you for this message. I feel much better today, now that I have read and heard it. Thank you very much Pastor Spencer.

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