Waiting Patiently

Chatswood Baptist Church https://www.chatswoodbaptist.com.au

Romans 8:18-39

1.Waiting

Waiting is something that we all do. But just because we do a lot of it, doesn’t mean that we find it easy.

1.1 We all do it, but it can be difficult

Sometimes waiting can be difficult. We often grow impatient and give up on whatever we have been waiting for. We don’t like having to put up with the inconvenience of not having what it is that we are looking forward to right now and instead of waiting we find something else to take its place. We don’t wait for our dinner but instead we snack, ruining our appetite just before dinner. We might hold out all afternoon being good and not eating anything only to give up at the last moment. We have a generation that largely is used to buying things on credit rather than waiting and saving up for things.

Sometimes it is very difficult to wait patiently for what is to come and this isn’t always just a matter of being a little inconvenienced. Sometimes waiting for something can involve hardship and suffering. It can mean walking in the opposite direction that others are going and not jumping in and going with them. It can mean putting up with conditions that we would prefer to avoid knowing that the wait will be worth it.

1.2 It’s something believer do

Believers wait. In the first half of chapter 8 of Romans that we looked at last Sunday Paul has been talking about what it means to have the Spirit of God living in us and be children of God. In this second half of chapter 8 we see that it means waiting patiently for what is to come. Paul has written that we don’t have what we are hoping for yet and that this means waiting patiently for the believer.

Romans 8:24-25

24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Our hope is all bound up with the return of Jesus and sharing in his glory. But while we wait things aren’t easy for the believer. We will not only experience the suffering and pain that others in this world will experience but also suffering there will be suffering that will come to us on account of belonging to Jesus. Last week Paul reassured his readers, in verse 17 that if we share in Christ’s suffering we will also share in his glory. But this is future glory and in the passage today Paul explains that this will involve waiting patiently. The idea here is of “patient endurance”. Douglas Moo writes, “This is the ability to bear up under pressures in order attain a desired goal”. He goes on to say that “it is the virtue required by Christians as we eagerly await “the hope of the glory of God”. But in these verses Paul not only tells us to wait patiently but he tells us why it is worth it and explains that there help always there for those who are prepared to wait. Today, I believe the Word of God is encouraging you (and me) to be people who are patiently waiting for what God has for us.

2. Waiting – it’s worth it

The first thing that Paul makes clear is that the waiting for the believer will be worth it. Some things are worth waiting for no matter how much you must wait or what you must go through. I had a friend who waited 7 years to get married to his finance. She was a bit younger than him. They met when he was in university, but they had to wait until both finished their studies to get married. They were separated by distance. There was a lot of travelling but it was all worth it. They’ve now been married 30 years and they would say that the waiting was worth it. Paul says in verse 18 that the waiting is worth it for nothing can compare with the glory that is to be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

In the previous paragraph Paul told the Romans that we are led by the Spirit of God then we are children of God (literally “sons”) (14) and if we are children of God then we are also “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ” (17) and that we will one day share in his glory if we share in his sufferings. In verse 18 Paul picks up on this and tells us that although we are going to have to endure suffering now it is all going to be worth it. Nothing can compare with the glory that will be revealed in us, not even the present sufferings that we might experience now will come anywhere near dimming the splendour of the glory that will be ours. It isn’t worth comparing. What we will have is worth patiently waiting for. Paul explains in these verses what we have to look forward to.

2.1 We are waiting for the liberation of creation

What we will one day have is so important that not only are we waiting for it to be revealed but creation itself waits eagerly for the children of God to be revealed in all their glory.

Romans 9:19-21

19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

What we are waiting for is so significant that creation itself is waiting for what we will become. When the children of God are revealed in all their freedom and glory then the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay. What we look forward to is not just us sharing in the glory of Christ, but the restoration of our whole world. Creation itself will be liberated. This is worth waiting for. This is worth patiently enduring hardship and suffering now. The apostle Peter wrote that we are looking forward to is a new heaven and new earth, a place where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). This is worth waiting for. It is worth doing without the things that other thinks are important now to be a part of this new heaven and new earth. It worth being overlooked or ridiculed now for the sake of Jesus. It’s worth suffering for him and giving up what can’t hold on to. It’s worth anything that you might have to give up or sacrifice now to follow him. We are looking forward to restoration of all things and this worth waiting for.

2.2 What we are waiting for is the redemption of our bodies

But it isn’t just creation that will be restored. We will be restored. In verses 22 to 23 Paul talks about the redemption of our bodies. It won’t be just the creation that will be liberated from its bondage to decay, so will we.

Romans 8:22-23

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

The Spirit is just the firstfruits of what is to come. He’s the deposit. He’s the guarantee of the more to come – the redemption of our bodies. We will have new resurrection bodies. This is what Paul is talking about when he mentions our adoption to sonship. The Spirit living in us is just the down payment. We get to call God our Father here and now because we belong to the Son. We are children of God, but we get our inheritance in full until when Jesus returns – the redemption of our bodies.

This is worth waiting for. Our bodies won’t wear out. We won’t get sick. We won’t grow old and tired and frail and feeble. Our bodies won’t fail us. Our minds won’t grow tired and dim. We won’t suffer hardship and pain. This is the hope that we have as believers and it is worth patiently waiting for even though we can’t see it right now.

Romans 8:24-25

24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

If you are hoping for something it means that you can’t see it now for you haven’t got it now or it may be that you only have part of it now and there is still more to come. This is how it is for us as believers. We are children of God for we have the Spirit of God living in us, but we don’t have everything that will be ours yet. We don’t share in the full glory of the Son. We don’t have his resurrection body. Our bodies have not been redeemed. They still are subject to decay and although sin has been defeated and is no longer our master it is still hanging around and spoils what we have. Even though we might not be conscious of it, inwardly we long for what is still to come. We don’t see it fully yet, but that is what hope is all about. It’s not what you have now and can see right now, it is what you are looking forward to and are patiently waiting for. Paul tells the Corinthians that we live by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

3. Waiting – what it looks like

But what does it mean for the believer to be patiently waiting for what we hope for? What does it look like to be patiently what for what we do not see?

3.1 It means not putting our hope in the things we see

It means not putting our hope in the things that we can see here and now. It means not living like everybody else – for the things you can see now. It means not living for the things that this world can offer us – things that seems to be more tangible right now and more immediately satisfying to our appetites and desires. It means believing that what we might have here and now can’t possibly compare with what will be ours one day in Christ. It means putting our hope in what we do not yet see or have and not putting our hope in ourselves or our achievements or our work or our careers or our money.

3.2 It means seeking first his kingdom

It means seeking first the kingdom of God now putting our hope in what is to come rather what we can have now. It means taking up your cross now and following Jesus, knowing that the glory will come later. It means not looking for a glory here. It means not be captivated by the bright lights of this world but living here for the splendor of what is to come. It will mean denying ourselves and following him – setting our minds on the things of the spirit not the things of the flesh.

We are children of God. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. We will share in his glory and nothing can compare with this. It’s worth anything that you might have to give up now in this life. It’s worth anything you might have to sacrifice. It’s worth a job. It’s worth a career. It’s worth a relationship. It’s worth anything that you might have to endure here and now. It’s worth anything that you might have to suffer. Nothing can compare with the glory that will be revealed in us as children of God. We have to understand who we are in Christ and what it is that we are waiting for.

4. Waiting – we have help

But waiting isn’t always easy and a lot of us aren’t particularly good at it. We eat when we shouldn’t eat. We complain when we shouldn’t be complaining. We give in when we should be going on with something. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that we are weak and so the idea of us patiently waiting until the end might somewhat frighten us. But the good news is that we have help. We don’t wait alone. God is there to help us in our weakness. Paul give us at least for reasons that give us cause to be confident and I just want to give you a quick overview of these reasons.

4.1 The Spirit of God helps us in our weakness (26-27)

Firstly, the Spirit of God help us in our weakness.

Romans 8:26-27

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

We are weak creatures. We are prone to get distracted by what we see and we’re always being tempted to live by sight and not by faith. But the Spirit of God is there to help us in our weakness. He intercedes for us. We might not know what it is that we ought to be praying for ourselves. There are often times like this in our lives. Do we pray for healing or do we pray for strengthen and patience? Do we ask God to open this door or close it? Sometimes we don’t know what God’s will is in a situation. We even sometimes pray the wrong thing for ourselves. But the Spirit of God know us and what we need, and he intercedes for us in ways that we don’t even fully comprehend. The Spirit is always there with us interceding for us. We are not alone.

4.2 God is working for our good in all things

Secondly, we can be confident because in all things God is working for our good. He is there in the small things, the big things, the good things, the fun things, the sad things, the bad things, the great things of life. But in all of them he is there working for the good of those who love him.

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

We can confident that in all the parts of our lives God is working for our good. Now this doesn’t mean that we won’t experience hardship or suffering for Paul has told us that we will. But he is saying that in the midst of these things and everything else that goes on in our lives God is working for our good. He is working out his good plan for his children according to his purpose. This purpose is spelt out in verses 29 and 30.

Romans 8:29-30

29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

God’s purpose is that we might be conformed to the image of his Son, so that we might share in his glory. He ordained that this should work out and he is the one who achieves this for us. He has taken all the step necessary for us. It is his work in us. He knew us before we knew ourselves. He predestined us. He set us apart for this purpose, calling us and justifying and glorifying us in Christ. It’s God who is working out his purpose in us and in everything that goes on in our lives. Again, our confidence is not in ourselves it is  in him.

4.3 God is for us (31-34)

The third reason for confidence is because God is for us. We have God on our side and when you have him on your side you everything that you need.

Romans 8:31-34

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

God doesn’t hold anything back and with God for us it doesn’t matter who is against us. There is no one who can condemn us with God justifying us and with risen Lord Jesus interceding for us in heaven. God is not going to let us down. He is for us and we can be confident of this.

You might have been let down by others. They might have said that they were for you but when it came down to it, they ended up really being for themselves first and they let you down. But God isn’t like that. Paul said that he didn’t even spare his own son for us. He gave him up for us all. It doesn’t matter what you are going through, he is not going to give up on you and he is not going to hold back. You might have to endure pain and suffering, but you know that he isn’t going to let you down. What he has promised we know that he will deliver. We are weak and we are prone to wander and give up when things get hard, but the good news is that we have God on our side, and he won’t let us down. He won’t disappoint.

4.4 Nothing can separate us from his love (35-39)

Lastly, we can be confident because nothing can separate us from his love. In verses 35 to 39 Paul makes it clear that there is nothing and no one that can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ.

Romans 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” g

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul says that nothing will separate us from the love of God. In this world we will experience all kinds of troubles and hardship, but Paul wrote that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. He will strengthen us. He will make us stand. He will stand by us. I know that I am weak but it is the Lord that strengthen us for what we need to bear. He makes us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. These things won’t overcome us. Paul is convinced that nothing in heaven or on earth, no power, no angel or demon, nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of Christ.

This is what we are to also be convinced of as believers and its this conviction that will help us to patiently wait for his coming no matter what we might have to endure while we are waiting. Paul didn’t say this because life was easy for him and he hadn’t ever experienced any of these troubles. He knew hardship and persecution. He’d been beaten and stoned and flogged and imprisoned. He also knew what it meant to be hungry and in danger and to face death. He knew what it was to ask God  to remove some sort of burden or illness and to not to have that prayer answered in the way that he was hoping for. But he knew such was God’s love for him in Christ Jesus than nothing was going to separate him from it.

5. Waiting patiently

This is our confidence as believers, and it is what the apostle wants us to remember and be convinced about today/tonight so that we wait patiently for what is to come, enduring whatever might be before us. Let me just remind you of just two general things that we need to remember and be convinced of.

5.1 It’s going to be worth it

We need to remember that it is going to be worth it. What we have now can’t compare with what will be ours. It worth going through anything that we might have to go through now or anything that we might have to sacrifice and give up for the sake of Jesus. If we share in the sufferings of Christ, we will share in his glory. What awaits us is the redemption of not just our bodies but of all things in Christ. We will be part of a new creation in which there is no more pain or sorrow or death. We need to remember that it is going to be worth it.

5.2 We are not alone

But secondly, we also need to remember we are not alone in this. God doesn’t leave us to just grin and bear whatever it might be that we have to go through while we wait. His Spirit is there in our weakness to help us when we don’t know what to do. He knows us and intercedes for us. We also know that in every situation God is always working for the good of those who love him. It might be hard and difficult and painful but somehow God’s good purpose for you is working out. He is on our side. He will make us more than conquerors in Christ. He will hold nothing back and nothing can separate us from his love. We have a hope that nothing and no one can put aside. Paul was convinced of this and we can be too. Paul wrote…

Romans 8:38-39

“ I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”