Endurance in Hope
Today’s Reading: Romans 8:18-39 (SOAP – 8:24-25)
Adoption, the Redemption of their bodies
Let me start, like I often do, by backing up. This time we only have to go back to the end of the previous verse (23), where Paul writes of believers groaning eagerly as they “eagerly await their adoption, the redemption of their bodies.” I believe Scripture defines Scripture and this verse particularly gives definition to verse 24 and 25. Let’s look at how –
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.Romans 8:23
In most translations verse 24 reads, “In this hope” instead of “in hope”. That little word, “this”, doesn’t change the meaning of the verse but it defines the hope Paul mentions as the same hope he referred to in the previous verses, particularly the description of hope painted with the words of one who “eagerly awaits their adoption, the redemption of their bodies.” After all, isn’t that what we were hoping for when we believed in Jesus for our salvation? – Thus, Paul wrote: “In this hope we were saved”.
Now, let’s turn our attention to one other phrase of Paul’s that caught my attention. “Because we hope for what we have not seen we wait with eager anticipation“, or endurance or patience in some translations. In other words, picture with me children at Christmas and how their excitement builds as presents begin to appear under the Christmas tree. They imagine what’s in the packages and they hope, with growing anticipation, that it’s what’s they’ve asked for … but that same child would not be near as excited for Christmas morning to arrive if the presents were added daily under the tree, unwrapped and visible for all to see. You see, part of the fun for that child is the anticipation of what is to come – and that is how Paul says it should be for us as believers who “hope for what we do not see”. “We eagerly wait for it with endurance”
Am I and How Can I?
So, a set of three questions arose in my mind that perhaps you are asking of yourself? – Am I “eagerly awaiting”? If not – why? Finally, how then can I begin to live in “eager anticipation”? I believe the answers lie in fueling our thoughts with what’s to come. Like the child running to see if any new packages appeared or simply sitting, staring at the lights and colorfully wrapped presents dreaming of what’s to come, we need to look often into God’s Word for His promises that are ours in Christ Jesus. Promises, such as our “adoption”, the “redemption of our bodies”, “the glory that will be revealed to us”, and all of the packages we have not yet unwrapped. Then, with that child-like heart we need to anticipate the very best. After all, we know He’s already given us His only son to die in our place – and to jump ahead and borrow the words Paul wrote in verse 32 of this same chapter, “How will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things?”
Father, I do long for that day more and more when I will see you face to face, when I will know the glory that is to come. I confess though – how easy it is to get caught up with the blessing of our lives, our families and friends, ministries and jobs. It can be equally hard not to focus on the pain and suffering in our lives, the lives of those we love, and the world around us. Your Word talks of us enjoying life and seeing many happy days and surely You bless us with many joys that we seek to enjoy at Your good pleasure – but help us to never take our eyes off of the hope and the joy set before us at the “redemption of our bodies” – and may we be faithful to share the truth with others that they too might share in the hope. These things I pray in Jesus’ name – Amen!