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©Clay Eldridge

Chapter 8:18-25 (ESV)

Posted on December 29, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 8:18-25 (ESV) - For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 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. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Question to consider: What does Paul mean by the word “hope” in this passage?

About six hundred years before Jesus was born, Isaiah had a vision of His suffering on the cross. The description is so detailed that scholars assumed it was added by a copyist sometime after the crucifixion— especially since crucifixion wasn’t practiced during Isaiah’s time. Considering that the oldest copy we had of the Old Testament was dated hundreds of years after the crucifixion, it was a claim that was hard to refute until the discovery of the “Dead Sea Scrolls”. Among them was a complete copy of Isaiah dated one hundred years before the birth of Christ, and it contained this vision in its current form. My favorite part of this vision was the statement, “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see light and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11– the word light is not in all manuscripts)

After Christ’s suffering had ended, He saw how it would count a multitude of people righteous and considered the ordeal worth it!  Paul wrote that we share in the suffering of Christ along with His inheritance in the kingdom, but in the opening of today’s passage, Paul pointed out that when we see the glory of Christ revealed, we will also consider our suffering to be worth it.

In the meantime, the entire creation longs for this day when Christ will return and put an end to sin and death, and those who belong to Him will be glorified. Why? Because all of God’s creation was unwillingly plunged into the bondage of corruption because of Adam (him who subjected it). Even though we have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we groan right along with the creation as we wait for the redemption of our bodies.

Currently, when we die in Christ, our spirit goes to be with Christ, but our hope will not fully be realized until our spirit is reunited with our redeemed bodies. The suffering of which Paul writes is not just suffering of persecution as Christians but all aspects of suffering caused by sin: the war between our sinful flesh and redeemed spirit, disease and infirmity, the difficulties we face in our labor, and so on. Even in its sinful state, the world has glimpses of its true glory, and this creates a longing for Christ’s return.

This anticipation Paul calls hope because it has not yet been fully realized— we haven’t seen it yet. However, we should not look at the word hope as something that may or may not come to pass. Christ was raised from the dead and is ruling at the right hand of the Father. Our hope is assured. He will come again, but we continue to cry out, “Maranatha!” (Come Lord Jesus!)


Dear Lord, thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to help us patiently wait for Your return. Thank You for giving us glimpses of our redemption through Your word and sacraments. Help us to rejoice in the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ to love, serve and encourage one another with grace through good times and bad. Amen.