St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church

Longing for Glory

Podcast Version

Romans 8:18,23b—I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

If we only listen to the beginning of this verse, which is what our sinful nature and Satan would only have us hear, we’d be left scratching our heads, even angry with Paul. You might be tempted to think that Paul is saying that what you are suffering is insignificant.

Friends, don’t forget that Paul was no stranger to suffering. In fact, I think it is pretty safe to say that none of us ever have and thankfully never will suffer as Paul did. Paul was whipped, beaten, and stoned on several occasions. Shipwrecked three times (2 Corinthians 11). Perhaps suffered from malaria and eventually lost his head because of his faith.

Paul isn’t saying that his suffering or your suffering is insignificant, whether it is suffering because we live in a sinful world or suffering because of our faith in Christ. The thing is, that which we as Christians long for more than anything else is so great, grand and glorious you really can’t compare the two! It’s not even an apples to oranges comparison. At least those two things are still fruit! The suffering you face now and the new life of comfort, relief and joy that waits for you in heaven aren’t worthy of comparison. They’re too different! It’s like comparing the sun and a gnat.

This is the case because we have been adopted into God’s family. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross set us free from our captivity to sin and Satan. Spiritual freedom is ours right now through faith. But our bodies aren’t yet experiencing this freedom. Our physical lives in this world are still held prisoner. We still suffer pain in our bodies, hearts and minds. We still get sick. We still suffer ridicule. We still suffer heartache and loss. We still die.

But one day, friends, one day soon, that will all pass away! That’s why the Christian faith is a life of
Longing for Glory. We long for that day to come. We long to live to our full potential. We long to live without physical weakness. We long to live apart from sickness and disease. We long to live completely free from death. We long to live to our full spiritual potential! We have comfort even now as we suffer and strive and fail because even as bad as it can be at times, it will soon all pass away! Even now we know and believe that our sins are all forgiven. And not only that, it can’t even begin to compare to the glory God will reveal to us in heaven. And so we long for glory. We put our hope in the Lord, because our salvation, our eternity, is forever secure!