Victory Christian Tabernacle Church
|Posted on May 6, 2019 at 6:20 AM|
Sunday School Summary, April 25, 2021
Lesson Text: Romans 8:18-27
Lesson Title: “Anticipating Redemption”
Time & Place:A.D. 56; Corinth
Dr. James A. May, Senior Pastor, Victory Christian Tabernacle Church
In Romans chapter 8, Paul begins with another simple explanation of the gospel, God's good news about His Son's life on earth as a man and death on earth for our sin. That allowed the law to be fulfilled and justice to be done for human sin. Those who are in Christ have been released from any obligation to the law of Moses. The law promised Paul life if he could keep the commandments, but he discovered he could not do it. In that sense, the law doomed him to death. Still, though, Paul describes the law as holy, righteous, and good (Romans 7:7–12).
Those who come to faith in Christ are so closely associated with His physical death and resurrection that we experience a kind of spiritual death and are resurrected into a new spiritual life. This is how we are freed from our responsibility to the law.
Those who come to faith in Christ are described as living according to God's Holy Spirit. We no longer live according the flesh, as all non-Christians do. Those in the flesh—the world's way of living for self before and above all else—are hostile to God. They can't please Him (Romans 8:1–8). God's Spirit lives in every Christian. Anyone who doesn't have the Spirit, is not a Christian. The Spirit, given to us by God, is the same Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. He will resurrect us, as well, after these sin- broken down bodies have died (Romans 8:9–11).
This Spirit from God is not a spirit of slavery and bondage. God did not save us simply to compel us to do His bidding. Instead, this Spirit is a spirit of adoption. God makes us His sons and daughters. His Spirit makes us able to cry out to God as a little child cries out to their father. Since we are heirs of God, we will share in all the glories of God's kingdom with Christ forever (Romans 8:12–17). This is where our lesson begins.
SUFFERING EXPERIENCED (Romans 8:18-21)
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Paul was not ignorant or blind to the sufferings of human existence; he experienced more of them than most any of us today (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-30). To Paul the future glory he would experience with the Lord far outweighed any suffering he experienced in this world. Paul understood that the greater the suffering, the greater would be his eternal glory.
Christians see the world as it is; physically decaying and spiritually infected with sin. However, Christians do not need to be pessimistic because they have hope for future glory. They look forward to the new heaven and new earth that God has promised, and they wait for God’s new order that will free the world from sin, sickness, and evil. In the meantime, Christians go with Christ into the world where they heal people’s bodies and souls and fight the evil effects of sin in the world.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. When Jesus Christ returns, our earthly bodies will be redeemed, and we will be changed to be like Him (see I John 3:2).
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope…,” NLT- 20-21 “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” When man sinned, the entire world was doomed to suffer the consequences of sin along with him. This refers to the inability to achieve a goal or purpose. Because of man’s sin, God cursed the physical universe and now, no part of creation entirely fulfills God’s original purpose.
Note: Isaiah 11:6-9 NLT describes this redemption of creation in that day: “…The wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. 7The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. 8The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. 9Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.”
SALVATION EXPLAINED (Romans 8:22-25)
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
To this day we know that the whole creation "groans" (cries; squeals; grunts) and "travails" (struggles; toil; labors) in pain together. It’s the picture of a woman giving birth. “Groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” refers to Adam’s Fall, which has caused misery from then until the present. Creation is experiencing birth pains under the struggle to survive.
“23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, …” The “whole creation” in verse 22 means the plant and animal kingdoms. “They” refers back to “the whole creation.” “Ourselves” refers to only believers. Now Paul refers to Christians as those who have God's Spirit with us: the "firstfruits of the Spirit" or "the Spirit as a first result of being in Christ" (see James 1:18). Such saved believers also groan inwardly in this waiting. But while the creation is waiting for God's children to be revealed in glory, we are waiting for something more specific. We wait eagerly for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Although there is a sense in which we are already adopted (Romans 8:15), there is also a sense in which we wait for the consummation of our adoption which will happen at the redemption of our body.
“24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” Paul writes that the hope of resurrection, being with God as His children is the same hope that brought us to faith in Christ in the first place. It's the thing every believer long for, but nobody can reach on our own. Sin keeps us from God's eternal glory (Romans 3:23), but God gives it to us as a gift (Romans 6:23).
“25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it…”
What we can’t see that we “hope” for is the completion of our salvation at our resurrection. Our hope is sure, but by definition it has not arrived yet. But since the believer’s “hope” is assurance of our resurrection, Paul said “then do we with patience wait for it.” Christians wait with patience for a hope we do not see with our eyes. The more we hope, the more we will trust, believe, love, and depend upon God.
Note: Unlike the English word “hope,” the New Testament word contains no uncertainty. It speaks of something that is certain, but not yet realized. The believer’s ultimate destiny is to share in the very glory of God and that hope will be realized because Christ Himself secures it. Without the clear and certain promises of the Word of God, the believer would have no basis for hope.
Note: God does not ignore our physical bodies in His plan of redemption. His plan for these bodies is resurrection, when this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53).
SPIRIT EMPOWERMENT (Romans 8:26-27)
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
The Holy Spirit is given to every Christian when he or she comes to faith in Christ. God gives us His own Spirit as a deposit or down payment on that future we are longing for (Ephesians 1:13–14; 2 Corinthians 1:22). When we are weak, and do not know exactly how or what we should pray, God Himself (through the Holy Spirit) helps by making intercession for us. The Holy Spirit steps in and carries those unsaid "groanings," those thoughts and feelings we simply cannot express in human words to God
“27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” God searches all our hearts (see Proverbs 21:2; Acts 15:8). There is no exception. He knows exactly what is within our hearts. “He” is speaking of the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit), praying for the saints. The Spirit of God knows the will of God. He prays for us “according to” God’s will. God knows the desires of our heart, even before we pray. The Spirit forms unspoken groanings toward God into prayers that conform to God's will. This does not mean we don't need to pray to God with words. We still need to make an effort to think about what we will say to God before we say it. Intentional prayerfulness is essential for those who are in Christ. This does mean, however, that we don't need to be overly anxious that we're "praying wrong." Because the Spirit is interceding for us to the Father and within His will, we are free to talk to God as little children talk to their fathers.
Note: Many people misunderstand the term “the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” as to speaking in tongues. There are a number of problems with having this refer to praying in tongues. First, there is the question as to whom is doing the groaning. Is it the person praying or is it the Holy Spirit? Many believe it is not referring to believers but rather to the Holy Spirit. Paul says it is the Holy Spirit who is interceding on behalf of the believer. Consequently, it can be argued that He is the one groaning – not the believer. Paul seems to include all believers in this groaning. This being the case, it cannot refer to speaking in tongues because the Bible says that all believers do not speak in tongues (see 1 Corinthians 12:30). Jesus groaned within his spirit (John 11:33, 38). It is the experiential despair that creates the existential sigh within the soul of the righteous. Within the passage, there are three entities groaning: Creation, the believer and the Spirit. They’re all “groaning” because sin has affected Creation in such a way that pain, evil and disaster have befallen God’s good earth. The groaning of the Spirit no more has to be “tongues” within the passage any more than the Creation’s groaning has to be that specific gift. Therefore, this passage in Romans which speaks of “inexpressible groans” does not refer to speaking in tongues.
Application of Today’s Word
God cares about the trials, tribulations and the sufferings that we go through. He does not ignore our physical bodies in His plan of redemption. Although sin has affected Creation in such a way that pain, evil and disaster have befallen God’s good earth, we can have hope, a certainty, that the curse of sin, the "groans;" cries; squeals; grunts, struggles; toils; and labors will be reversed, at our resurrection. The Christian’s ultimate destiny is to share in the very glory of God and that hope will be realized because Christ Himself secures it. Until that time comes, we share this hope, our hope, our certainty in what Jesus Christ did on the cross to the world.
This week’s lesson teaches us that although Christians suffer and struggle because of sin, God has a better plan for His people. Our suffering is not permanent, it has a “shelf life” an expiration date. 1 Peter 5:10 CEB says, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, the one who called you into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself restore, empower, strengthen, and establish you.” We can wait with perseverance and in confidence, knowing that our current situation will change not for the better, but for the best! God has made our setback into a setup for a comeback. Amen!
This lesson parallels with the Bible Expositor and Illuminator, Union Gospel Press
Categories: Bible Study