Romans 8:18 (part 2)

Don’t Let Problems Drown Us

Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

Romans 8:18a (Holman) For I consider…

Paul was a very reasonable, logical person. He calculated matters, pondered realities, and made proper deductions. He was careful in the assessments he made.

The word “consider” did not mean the same thing to Paul as it does to us. We use the word haphazardly to express a guess or a hunch, but Paul was using a technical word that referred to reaching a conclusion by a process of logical deductions.

The term was used to describe the working of a mathematical problem. Paul was not just making an educated guess or a tentative hunch. He had considered the facts and had reached a noteworthy conclusion.

Romans 8:18b …that the sufferings of this present time…

“Present time” refers to the world of time and space we live in. Every human being suffers in this life. There are troubles to overcome, and anxieties to endure.

Being God’s adopted children does not exempt us from suffering. In fact, it can complicate matters, and make things worse. Believers carry the extra burden of spiritual turmoil. They carry the weight of guilt, concern, and extra sensitivity.

Nevertheless, there is a ray of cheer even in this phrase from our text. For Christians, suffering is confined to only this lifetime. The afflictions of a believer do not last forever. Suffering is always for a reason, and always for a season.

Romans 8:18c …are not worth comparing…

Sufferings are not worth as much, of like value, or of as much weight as the glory awaiting us. Current problems are of no weight compared to the future glory that is ours. When Paul placed current sufferings and future glory in the two scale pans of a balance, the latter was so much heavier that its pan dropped immediately.

Vanity of vanities is truly the name of this world. Everything about it is only temporary. Its glamor, glitz, and glory satisfy only momentarily. People act as if this world were the ultimate experience. They deem it the “real” thing. Not so!

Even the sufferings of this lifetime are not forever. This life’s duration is nothing in comparison to the duration of the next life. Hence, nothing about this world is worthy of comparison to anything about the next world.

Romans 8:18d …with the glory…

We will someday see things that would blind us, yea take our life, now. Thoughts of this coming radiance should help swallow the pains of our present sufferings. Dwelling on the light that shall be revealed then should so dazzle our minds that it helps blind us to our present difficulties.

When a sailor is tossed in a storm at sea, he takes solace in knowing the safety of a haven awaits him. He is tired of the spray and waves. It makes him long for the shore. Even so our suffering makes us long for the haven. Afflictions keep us from loving the world’s pleasure more than we already do.

Do not let problems drown us. Think of the glory to come. When returning home from a long trip, we can bear a night in an uncomfortable motel because we know the blessing of home awaits us the next morning. Even so, bear discomfort here, knowing the comforts of home await us.

Samuel Rutherford said, “I wonder many times that ever a child of God should have a sad heart, considering what the Lord is preparing him… When our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, and when we shall look back to pain and suffering, then shall we see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to glory, and that our little inch of time-suffering is not worthy of our first night’s welcome home to Heaven.” One day in Heaven will more than compensate for all the sufferings on earth.

Romans 8:18e …that is going to be revealed…

Glory will be revealed in the future because we cannot bear to see it fully now. It cannot be described by human tongue or witnessed by human eye, but does exist, and awaits us. The only thing future about it is our taking possession of it.

Romans 8:18f …to us.

Someday God will be perfectly reflected in us. He will give us a portion of Himself. We will not only see Him, but also experience Him, and enjoy Him.

Our text, Romans 8:18, gives us a key insight into triumphant living. We do better when we think more clearly about what is ours in Jesus. We need to cast our eyes to the future occasionally and drink in the support and consolation it provides.

Our faith teaches truths we can reason out. Logical conclusions can be drawn from it. Whenever Satan attacks–the coward always loves to attack when things are not going well for us–remember the truth taught in this passage.

Regardless of how badly we are hurting, or how serious our dilemma, we can reason against the evil one. No matter what he says, we can remind him and us of all that is ours in Jesus.

Do not just try to divert our mind, or worry ourselves sick. Lost people can do these things. Instead, reckon what is ours, reason it out, figure it out for ourselves based on the Word. Then use this truth against the insinuations of the evil one.

It is imperative that we consciously receive the comfort God has for us. We are not robots. God does not treat us like mechanical beings. He gave us truths in His Word, and expects us to appropriate them. This verse is one of those truths.

The forward look truly can help us. Abraham was called on to suffer greatly. He had to leave family and home at age seventy-five, had to part from Lot, and had to divide his two sons by sending one away. He never owned a part of Canaan, except for a grave.

How did he endure? “He was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). He and Sarah “died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).

Moses took on himself the reproach of his people. He left the palace of Egypt. Why? He was living in anticipation of a future compensation; “his attention was on the reward” (Hebrews 11:26).

How did Jesus endure suffering? “For the joy that lay before Him He endured a cross and despised the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). The prospect of coming joy made His suffering easier to handle. Coming Glory made Gethsemane and Golgotha bearable. Take the forward look more often. Lift up your eyes. Contemplate what is ours is Jesus.