You are on page 1of 4

Our Glorious Future

Romans 8:17-25

Today, I want to talk about our eternal state. The Bible is very clear that this current world is not
the way God wanted it. He has been patient this whole time because He wants as many people as
are willing to return to Him.

Do you realize that you are an eternal soul? The person next to you is an eternal soul as well.
Each of your friends and neighbors and coworkers are beings that were made to live for eternity
in close relationship with God. Each of you is incredible special to Him.

This wine glass was made for a particular purpose—to make it easy for someone to drink the
liquid inside. This is it’s purpose. But when this glass is broken, it can no longer be used for its
purpose. You will never, ever be able to drink from it again. This is what happened to us when
Adam and Eve rebelled against God. They could no longer fulfill the purpose for which they had
been created, to have close relationship with God. They were broken.

But God sent His only son Jesus to make a way for us to come back. Now, there is a way for us
to receive a new spirit—for us to be made whole again and to serve our purpose. We can now
live with God in close fellowship forever and ever. We can experience everything that He has in
store for us.

Let’s look at what Paul writes about our future hope in Romans 8:17-23. The letter to the
Romans is unlike his other letters, because here Paul does not write about any pastoral issues at
all but instead focuses on theology because he does not have a relationship with them as a
“spiritual father.” Instead, Paul writes to tell the Christians in Rome how God included the
Gentiles in the promise He made to Abraham. In Chapter 7, Paul talks about our struggle with
our sinful nature and how we now have freedom through the Holy Spirit, who leads us to fulfill
the righteous requirements of the law. The Spirit testifies to our spirit that we are God’s children.
And then we come to 8:17-25.

Romans 8:17-23
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed
we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be
revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be
revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will
of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage
to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to
the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan
inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
v. 17-18
Here, we see that we are adopted as God’s children, not just His adherents or worshippers. Who
has heard of such a God that loves people so wonderfully? What a great privilege to be called
sons and daughters of God! That God would care for us and love us as His children. As such, we
are heirs together with Jesus, both in the sufferings that He faced as well as the glory.

Paul weighs our current sufferings for Jesus’ sake against our future glory … there is no
comparison!

v. 20-21
That is why all of creation cannot wait for this future glory to be revealed. When Adam turned
away from God, the creation suffered as well. God created the garden as a place of abundance
where Adam and Eve lacked nothing. Every day, they could rejoice in what the plants and trees
provided for them. There was no need to store up in case of drought and famine.

But today, the creation is wonderful but decaying. It is under the curse, just as we are. Crops fail.
Our bodies grow old. We suffer from diseases. Even our cells are corrupted, turn into tumors,
and rebel against our bodies. The second law of thermodynamics is at work throughout the
universe, spreading chaos. Our attempts to put things in order and to build and preserve will
ultimately fail. Unless God intervenes, one day the universe will be uniformly cold and lifeless—
totally spent.

v. 18-19
But God will intervene. He will make all things new. God has a plan that we can only barely
comprehend. We cannot understand it yet, but are waiting for it to be revealed. What we do
know is that our future will not be as it is today, but we will have new and glorious bodies and a
new and glorious creation that is freed from the bondage to decay. It will be a new and glorified
universe.

Let me spend a little time talking about this future glory. Now, we understand what we perceive
with our senses. But even today, there is so much to reality that we cannot perceive and thus
truly understand. We understand with our minds that a light year is the distance a wave of light
travels in one year, but we cannot begin to imagine what such a distance means in our own
experience. But the observable universe is measured in hundreds of billions of light years, and
our Milky Way is only one of countless galaxies, and our supercluster of galaxies is only one of
countless superclusters.

Our bodies are composed of different types of cells, each working independently but in concert
together. The information contained in each strand of our DNA is enough to regulate our
development and cellular function. Our brains enable us to make sense of our world using
millions of tiny neurons firing small jolts of electricity, so that Beethoven could compose his
symphonies and you and I can enjoy communicating with one another.

There are things that we can know about in our head, but cannot truly comprehend. We can
know that God will make all things new and glorious, but cannot truly comprehend it. Think of a
person who has never seen the sea. You can describe it to them, and they can imagine it, but
nothing will prepare them for experiencing it for themselves.

The Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has
prepared for those who love Him.”

Consider the awesome glory of what God has already created. Our present created world is filled
with wonder and always surprising us. I learned that there is a giant shark that lives in the Arctic
and lives to be 300 years old. When I go hiking in the mountains, I will see yet another flower, or
bird, or insect that I have never seen before. Each sunrise and sunset is a new masterpiece. Who
can doubt God’s creativity and ability to do something even greater?

That is why Paul says our current sufferings are nothing in comparison with our future glory.
The blessings of God that we enjoy today are precious and would be enough of a reward
themselves … but God has something greater still in store!

v. 22-23
But for now, we groan in anticipation.

2 Corinthians 5:1-4
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an
eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed
instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be
unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be
swallowed up by life.

We not only wait for bodies that are incorruptible—that will never get tired or sick—but also for
the complete sanctification of our minds, attitudes, and desires. Because each day, we realize that
our sinful nature is in rebellion against God. It is hostile to God and does not submit to God’s
law, nor can it do so. We say “no” to our sinful desires and say “yes” to the Holy Spirit.

But the Bible promises that this will not always be the case.

1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.
But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

When we yielded ourselves to God and received salvation, our spirits were born again. We also
received the Holy Spirit who helps us to overcome our sinful nature. But when Jesus is revealed,
sin or rebellion against God will be done away with completely. At that time, our minds,
attitudes, and desires—our souls—will be renewed just as our bodies and the entire world are.

v. 24-25
We don’t have all this yet, but it is guaranteed. It is not wishful thinking, like “I hope it won’t
rain tomorrow.” This is a certainty, just not yet. In the meantime, we have the Holy Spirit who
testifies that we are indeed God’s children. When the time has come, we will receive our
inheritance. This hope helps us to endure patiently, not giving up in doing good. This hope also
helps us to continue to work hard and be diligent with the task that God has given us now.

It is healthy to think and even fantasize about our future glory. Science fiction and fantasy are
not real, but they can awake our imagination. We need imagination to develop an appetite.

Don’t be satisfied with things here on earth, but develop a holy dissatisfaction and desire for
something greater. It is like when you go to a restaurant and are waiting to be seated. You might
eat the thin mints at the counter, but don’t focus on those as though they are what you came for.
Remember that you have the actual meal before you. It is the same today. We have a full meal
still to come. It is good to get hungry for it and to think about it more.

Revelation 22:17
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who
hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the
one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.