In Christ; our eternal place of comfort and hope
During this trying and stressful time, Paul’s writings in the eighth chapter of Romans hold great comfort for us. Who, other than Paul could write so knowingly about suffering? Paul told the Corinthians what he had been through as a missionary. His experiences included prison, lashings, beatings, stoning, perils, hunger, thirst, cold, and nakedness. So ‘knowingly’ he wrote to the Romans – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8: 18)
“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits 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; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs until now.” (Romans 8: 19-22) The earth was not created to be in bondage, but today it is. All creation suffers. Animals and plants get sick and die. Creation is in decay. However, one day it will be delivered and redeemed. It will be made new.
“Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8: 23) After God indwells us with His Spirit, we yearn to be with the Lord – in His presence, to live with Him forever.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8: 26) God’s Spirit groans along with us and feels the burdens of our sufferings. God’s Spirit prays for us as He shares our burdens with us.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8: 28-30) God’s plan is perfect, or complete. The purposes in His plan are our good, and His glory. He makes us like Jesus Christ (sanctify us) through our trials and sufferings.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8: 31-34) Even though it may not seem like it, God is for us. He wants us to trust His provision and care for us, even through dire circumstances.
After we turn to God in repentance and place our faith solely on Him and the price He paid for our full redemption, we are no longer under condemnation because we share the righteousness of God. The law can no longer condemn us. We have His Spirit indwelling us, and He enables us to not walk according to the flesh, but according to His Spirit.
And finally, Paul asks – “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8: 35-37) Nothing Paul went through separated Him from God’s love and care. Nothing we go through in this fallen world can separate us from His love either. We are secure in Christ. There is no other place of eternal security, except in Christ.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39)
Jesus is Lord. He is Lord of all. The grace He offers all of us is amazing! In this world we may go through great heartache, trouble, and distress; but in Christ we are eternally secure in His tender care and love!
Are you in Christ?