2020 - Romans
This morning, we continue in one of the high places of Scripture… Romans 8. So far, in Romans chapter 8. We have discovered five beautiful contrasts…
--We live in the freedom of forgiveness… rather than the punishment of condemnation. There is no condemnation now or in the next life for those in Christ.
--We live in different country with the diplomatic immunity of the Spirit, rather than in the state of law and death.
--We live in acquittal, rather than being condemned by sin. Jesus did a Perry Mason on sin, for us! Sin is convicted.
--We live in the success of grace which continually zaps our sins, rather than the failure of legalism.
5thcontrast--We can live in the way of the Spirit instead of the way of the self. The way of the self ends up in the death of meaning. It is a pointless life. The way of the Spirit, in contrast, changes the world by the power of suffering; joining Jesus in glory! We are Sons of God who live for the glory of the Father!
Oxford. England. June 8, 1942. C.S. Lewis. Sermon… Entitled “The Weight of Glory”. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of that sermon…
“The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God…to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness…to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so, it is.”
We, as children of the Father, carry a weight of glory because, within us is the ability to please God. We please God when we share his glory!
This morning, as we continue in Romans 8, Paul reveals more about what it means to be a child of the Father and the glory we will share by pleasing Him.
Let me read Romans 8:16-27 for you…
Romans 8:16-23 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, provided we co-suffer with him in order that we may also be co-glorified with him.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
19 For the creation waits with eager longing 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 will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
This morning, Paul reveals four amazing results of pleasing our Father. You please God, this is what happens.
Result 1) We Share in the Family Business.
In the good old days, way back when, a family would often have a “family business”.
--If the family made furniture, that furniture company could be handed down for generations of furniture makers!
--If the family owned a cattle ranch, you would expect the sons to step up and be ranchers.
--If your father was Don Corleone… might be a different heritage… but a family business, non the less.
--Interestingly, this still happens, occasionally. There was recently an article in the Post about Viola’s restaurant. “Several generations of original owner Viola Jaramillo Pepin’s family owned and worked in the restaurant…” Hey, that’s cool.
So, when Paul reveals in verses 17 that we are heirs, I think this is may be the thought! We step into the family business.
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, provided we co-suffer with him in order that we may also be co-glorified with him.
We step into the family business. We are heirs in the family business. You might ask, “What is the family business? (???) It is the suffering business. “What?” We take the raw materials of suffering, apply the power of the cross in order to produce… glory. By the Spirit we are able to transform suffering into glory.
Paul explains his business model in chapter 15…
Romans 15:8-13 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles (ethnos; other) might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, "Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles (ethnos), and sing to your name." And again, it is said, "Rejoice, O Gentiles (ethnos), with his people." And again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles (ethnos), and let all the peoples extol him." And again, Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles (ethnos); in him will the Gentiles (ethnos) hope." May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
We become living sacrifices in order to bring the glory to the ethnos; to the others! The family business is bringing the Gospel to the others in order to glorify God.
--We are in the suffering business.
--We transform suffering into glory.
--We sell this glory to the others!
Consequently… that changes how we process suffering. In result #2.
Result 2) Suffering Is Not Worth Putting on the Scales.
Listen to verse 18 from N.T. Wright’s translation…
NTW Romans 8:18 This is how I work it out. The sufferings we go through in the present time are not worth putting on the scale alongside the glory that is going to be unveiled for us.
Wow… seriously? If you take all the suffering, all the pain, grief, loss, death, heartache, sadness, all the COVID… all your suffering and you gathered it all up in a bag. Then, you placed that bag on one side of a set of scales… the balance kind of scales. Your suffering bag would not even budge the glory that is on the other side.
I think this is true both now and then. Now… knowing your suffering is the power of the Gospel to process glory, in this life… glory outweighs suffering. Your sacrifice pleases God! Knowing when you sacrifice for the glory… when you live the way of the Spirit instead of the way of the self… your sacrifice carries with it glory-reward that outweighs everything else!
If this is true, in the now… consider the glory of the next age!
2 Corinthians 4:17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Wow, if we could know this. If we could believe this. If this result would move from our head to our heart… then, we could step it up knowing glory awaits which… outweighs, out-lives, out-glories all our sacrifice.
Result 1) We inherit the family business of turning suffering into glory.
Result 2) Then Glory outweighs suffering!
Result 3) Miss Creation Is Anxious for Us to Get on with the Glory.
Staying with N.T. Wright’s translation…
NTW Romans 8:19-22 Yes: creation itself is on tiptoe with expectation, eagerly awaiting the moment when God’s children will be revealed. Creation, you see, was subjected to pointless futility, not of its own volition, but because of the one who placed it in this subjection, in the hope that creation itself would be freed from its slavery to decay, to enjoy the freedom that comes when God’s children are glorified. Let me explain. We know that the entire creation is groaning together, and going through labor pains together, up until the present time.
Creation is personified. Personification is when you take an inanimate object and talk of it having human emotions. Creation is alive. Creation is a she. I am going to say Miss Creation! Understand I don’t think of the earth as a real mother or anything like the pagan “Mother Earth”. Paul is using a literary technique. If Creation were alive, she would be longing for us to be revealed!
And, and, and… Miss Creation is expecting... a baby. Currently, Miss Creation is actually having labor pains. She is really anxious to have her baby… Baby New Creation. “You’re pressing this metaphor a bit far, aren’t you?” Maybe. It is a cool metaphor.
When humans sinned, creation was subjected to slavery; the slavery of decay. Creation, around us, is winding down, getting old, wearing out… It is going to take a few more billion years but everything is running out. But Miss Creation is going to give birth to a new creation that is going to be free from decay. The curse will be reversed.
Creation lost its glory, but it is getting it back. Here is the fun part. Miss Creation is going to give birth to the new creation WHEN the children are revealed. The Greek word for revealed is Apocalypse… During the Apocalypse of our entering our full glory creation will also enter her glory with us!
It has to wait until we finish our job, the family business of bringing the glory of the Gospel to the world! I think Miss Creation is waiting on us to accomplish what Paul wants in Romans 15 of taking the Gospel to the others!
I wish I knew more of details. Here is what I believe these verses teach.
--This earth, along with all creation, will be renewed to the way it was in the beginning.
--We will live in glory on this renewed earth!
I believe this is the 3rd result. Miss Creation gives birth to baby new Creation.
But there is one more result.
Result 4) The Firstfruits of the Spirit are the Promise of Glory.
Romans 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
The Old Testament concept of Firstfruits was when the first fruit on a tree or the wheat or a harvest or whatever came in, it was given to the Lord in Thanksgiving. The firstfruits were a promise of more and better fruit. So, we have the working of the Holy Spirit in us now… the fruit of Spirit… love, joy, peace… is a promise to fulfill the promise that we are going to be fully adopted as sons. The adoption process will be complete. We will step into the glory of the renewed earth as full-blown, black-black-no-trade-back children of God!
In that glorious moment, we will receive a new body like the body Jesus had after the resurrection…
Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
1 Corinthians 15:49-53 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
We will be given an immortal, non-decaying, never-getting-old, glorious body to live on the renewed earth through the next age!
Putting these 4 amazing results together we get… We step into the family business of bringing glory to Father through the power of the cross. We know our sacrificial suffering is not worth comparing to the glory revealed in us. The new creation waits for us to be revealed in glory. We taste the firstfruits-of-promise of having a renewed body living on the renewed earth!
Someday, we will be revealed as the children of glory.
C.S. Lewis in the close of his famous sermon, “The Weight of Glory”, ends with this amazing idea…
“Meanwhile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is a Monday morning… It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all out dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations— these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit… everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously– no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption... Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, (we would say Lord’s Supper) your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, (as the Lord’s Supper) for that neighbor is… (finishing with Paul’s words) co-heir, co-sufferer and co-glorifier with Christ!”
November 15, 2020
Los Alamos Church of Christ
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