We Overwhelmingly Conquer
18 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. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 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. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 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. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
A glory to be revealed to us.
Creation longs for the revealing of the sons of God
Creation itself will be set free from its slavery to corruption and into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
The WHOLE CREATION groans and suffers the pains of childbirth
We, who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan and wait eagerly for our adoption as sons
We eagerly wait for the redemption of our body
This is a glimpse into our future as believers. There is something out there in our future that the WHOLE of Creation is waiting for. I used to think of this as just the earth where fallen man lives. But the whole of Creation would involve everything that God has created in this world or any other; in this physical world or in the world of angels and cheribim and seraphim. The WHOLE of Creation is waiting expectantly for God's plan to be fulfilled. We are part of that plan if we have the first fruits of the Spirit. I think what Paul meant by first fruits of the Spirit, is our new birth, that is, that we are born of the Spirit, we are born again. If we are born again we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us.
We are part of this future if we have the first fruits of the Spirit. Paul is giving us just a glimpse of the fabulous future that awaits us as we continue to live in relationship with God. I do not claim to fully understand what this means. But I, with you, await what Our Father has planned for us with great expectation.
Let us read on:
26 And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
“In the same way” - It took me a while to come up with how these verses related to the previous ones. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness”. “In the same way” and “also” both point us back to what precedes these verses. How does this passage that is familiar to many about the Spirit Himself interceding for us, praying for us according to the will of God, have to do with the groaning within us as we await the fabulous future God has planned for us and for the WHOLE of CREATION?
I begin to see a connection here between the Spirit's groaning and our groaning. We may not understand all that God is doing in our lives, all that the Spirit is praying for us, but we wait with perseverance. Perseverance - that means we hold on. We wait holding on to our trust in God to carry out what He intends to do in our lives. We eagerly look forward to and hold on to the belief that there is some great experience awaiting us. We do not see it yet. So Paul calls it hope. Hope is faith for the future. One day all of creation will see it. All of creation will participate in the freedom from corruption and the glory of the children of God.
We have hope for a future. There are other passages that speak further of the future God has planned for us. For now, we see through a glass darkly. We do not fully know the great things God has in store for those who have put their faith and trust in Him.
In the meantime, we sense the working of God in our own lives, not always understanding what God is doing. To us, there is a groaning within us as God works in our lives. But we can trust Him that what He is doing is for our good. We trust that He causes ALL THINGS to work together for our good. What a grand statement! Do you believe that God causes all things to work together for your good? He does not say he causes all things. HE does not make anyone sin. But he can bring beauty from ashes. He can cause all things to work together in such a way that it brings about good for us.
Are you trusting God like this? Faith in God like this will keep us hopeful. We all need hope. We need to believe in the future. God loves us and wants us to trust Him for our future. He causes all things to work together for our benefit.
Are you one of the called ones? Are you called according to God's purpose? Do you believe God has called you to follow Him as Lord of your life? Have you heard and accepted the truth that God loves you and has a great plan for you? It is a plan for good and not for evil. He wants to bless you, not make you miserable. He wants to set you free from the corruption of rebellion against the Creator. He wants to make you into the glorious follower of God that He created you to be. He wants you to know that He loves you and wants to be with you in every part of your life.
Pick up with me again in verse 31:
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
"For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NASB
If God is for us, who is against us? It does not matter who is against us. We overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loves us.
Who will bring a charge against God's elect? It does not matter who will bring a charge against us. God has justified us. His Son was delivered up for us and He will answer any accuser with the blood of Jesus Christ on our behalf. We are forgiven and free to walk in the presence of the Most Holy God. He delivers us from sin and gives us what we need to follow Him and be His children.
No one condemns us! Or rather, no one is ultimately successful in condemning us, because we are accepted and loved by God Almighty, who is over all things and all beings. God does convict us. He guides us and points out to us when we go astray, but He never condemns us. The difference between condemnation and conviction is just that. God, as our loving Heavenly Father points out to us our sin and expects us to return to our commitment to follow Him as Lord. He will not condemn us and write us off as useless and hopeless and unloved. We can trust Him to forgive us.
If we refuse to listen and persist in rebellion, we will at some point be unable to hold to our faith in His gift of salvation. When we can no longer believe we will be cut off, but it will be our choice.
We are safe in Christ. We persevere in our faith, not in ourselves, but in Him. He will lead us and help us to learn to follow Him and continue to bless our coming in and going out. He will help us to grow and learn. He will perfect us and make us into people who can enjoy fellowship with God and others for all of eternity.
In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior. Whatever fabulous future God has planned for us... Whatever God does to work in our lives to shape us in His image... Whatever enemies try to derail us... WE OVERWHELMINGLY CONQUER!!!
Are you trusting Him to take you to the glorious future He has prepared for His children? Are you trusting that His Spirit is working in you in ways you do not yet understand; that those groanings within you are Him working to cause all things to work for your good? Are you trusting Him to lead and guide you each day? Are you trusting Him to protect you from the enemies that attack us and attempt to destroy our faith?
Trust Him as Lord and Savior. Admit when you falter and He calls you to account. Believe that He forgives when we confess. Confess to yourself, to Him, and to others that HE is indeed your Lord and Savior.
You do not need to trust yourself. Trust Him. Love and obey Him because He has loved and saved you. You no longer need to win His love and grace it is a free gift. Your salvation is a gift. Your relationship to God is a gift. Stop trying to earn it. Accept it. If you try to pay for it, you are putting your trust in what you do instead of in Him.
We overwhelmingly conquer. Believe it! NOTHING shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.