It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 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. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” NIV
Romans 8: 16, 17 connects the reader of the central idea connected to God by the fact that the “Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, the heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” The Apostle Paul reminds us that the Holy Spirit lives in us, in our present trials, troubles, sufferings, pains, and bears witness that we are the children of God. Heirs of God and co-heirs with Jesus Christ and we share in His sufferings so that we may share in His Glory. I believe suffering is meant to summon us to rely on God and to prepare each one of us for the Glory that will come. Therefore, we do not suffer for the sake of idle suffering; we suffer that we might be glorified with Christ. Christ’s glory and our glory will make suffering worth it. My brothers and sisters the thought is indeed something to shout about.
Paul places verse 17, as the introductory verse to connect the reader to the focal text of this Lenten Devotional, Romans8: 18-21. In verse 17, Paul introduces the reader to the indispensable prelude to glory. It is preparing us to participate in the glory to come. Paul brings to our attention the fact our suffering is connected to Christ’s suffering. Suffering is not forever, but for a particular season and a specific time in our lives. Paul demonstrates this in 2 Corinthians 4:17 when he says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
Another example of suffering in the Bible is recorded in 1Peter 2:21, where it says “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” As Christ received His glory, we should anticipate receiving our glory, but we will not experience our glory escaped from experiencing suffering. This text should help us develop a different attitude and perspective towards suffering on this earth. As Christian believers our new perspective should differentiate believers from the non-believers.
Lastly, we all will face suffering at some point in time of our lives, in some form or another, and in various degrees and circumstances. One thing we can never forget is that our suffering as believers comes our way because of our yes to Jesus, to His eternal values. As we endure suffering in this life, God uses it to transform us more and more into the likeness of Christ, especially when it is done for the sake of the Gospel. Remember, Jesus suffered and was then glorified.
Father God, we bow down before you today in your omnipotent presence to honor and glorify you. We thank you for your grace and mercy that has kept us this day, and we will thank you each day, no matter what we go through. Father God, continue to give us strength as we seek your face. Protect and order our steps that we may be a blessing to others through deed, or a word of encouragement. Help us as we walk through life, witnessing who you are, even through the sufferings that we experience here on earth until we see you in Glory in Jesus name, Amen.
Call to Action:
As believers in Christ and hope in Him, I encourage you to be mindful to not place your suffering situation in front of God, place God in front of your suffering. Make God the object of your worship, and not what you suffering with, suffering in, and suffering through. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Keep in mind, how we handle our different forms of suffering may potentially be a model for how someone in our space will handle their suffering.