Awaiting Final Redemption

Sermon Study Sheets


Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

August 18, 2002

Awaiting Final Redemption

Romans 8:18-25

Anticipation. At times this is not such a good word if you waiting for
something to happen that you know you will not enjoy, like a trip to the
dentist. At other times it is a wonderful word that describes the mixture of
hope, joy and pleasure usually stirred with a bit of anxiety and sometimes even
a little frustration as you await some good event to take place. Children
anticipate the coming of their birthday and Christmas because of all the special
attention they will receive. Parents are currently anticipating the starting of
school in a few weeks. The kids are also anticipating the return to school, but
perhaps with slightly different emotions than their parents. Teens anticipate
becoming adults even though all of its freedoms are also bound by new
responsibilities. An engaged couple anticipate the celebration of their wedding
day along with the beginning of their married lives together. There is the
anticipation of the arrival of a new baby. For the new mom that is a mixture of
emotions because she knows there will be some pain before that bundle of joy is
placed in her arms. Young adults anticipate the starting of their careers and
middle age folks start dreaming about what it will be like to retire.

There is one more major event that we need to anticipate, though whether that
will be considered something to look forward to or something to dread will
depend on the individual’s relationship to God. We all need to anticipate the
passing from this life into the next. For the true Christian, that is an event
that can be anticipated with joy, as Paul states in our text for study this
morning. We can anticipate that with anxious longing as we wait eagerly to pass
from this life and be with Jesus. For the person who does not know Jesus Christ
as their savior, death is a dreaded enemy. For those who do dread death, I hope
to help you understand this morning how you can anticipate it positively

Turn to Romans 8. We will be studying verse 18-25 this morning, but we will
begin our reading in verse 16.

16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of
God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,
if indeed we suffer with [Him] in order that we may also be glorified with
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the
anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of
God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but
because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will
be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the
children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the
pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we
ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within
ourselves, waiting eagerly for [our] adoption as sons, the redemption of our
body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for
why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not
see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

The Suffering of the Present (18)

The idea of suffering that Paul presents in verse 18 was introduced in what
he had said in verse 17 about being joint heirs with Christ and therefore
suffering with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. I gave a
brief explanation of this last week. This week I want to expand more on both the
idea of suffering in the present and the blessing of glory that is to come.

Our being joint heirs is seen in our present reality of suffering with
Christ. By that, Paul is referring to the persecution that comes against all who
strive to live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:12). The more we become like
Jesus, the more the world will hate us because it hates Him ( John 15:20). Jesus
specifically told us in Matthew 5:10-12, "Blessed are those who have
been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when [men] cast insults at you, and persecute
you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12
"Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they
persecuted the prophets who were before you."
While such suffering of
persecution is not something we anticipate with joy, yet is it something that
can be positive in our lives, for that very suffering because of our
identification with Jesus is assurance of our also being glorified with Him.
That is the great hope of the Christian. It is that hope that drives the
Christian on in their battle against their own sin as well as the temptations
and persecution of the world. All who have this hope of being glorified with
Jesus purify themselves (1 John 3:3).

There is another aspect to this suffering than just direct persecution by the
ungodly. There is also the suffering that we endure simply because we continue
to live in a sin cursed world after our salvation. The Scriptures tell us in no
uncertain terms that Jesus Christ left the glories of heaven in order to come to
Earth as a man as part of the plan for our redemption (Phil. 2:5f). I don’t
think there is any way that we can fully comprehend the full extent of what that
meant in terms of leaving the glories of heaven in order to dwell with man.
Perhaps the best we can do to get a bit of the idea is for someone who has been
living in one of these Christian retirement communities where all the neighbors
are mature Christians who love the Lord and each other, and place that person in
a federal prison among the general population of inmates – thieves, swindlers,
rapists, murderers, etc. I think you can understand that there is a suffering
that will take place simply because of the change of environment.

Being justified by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the true
Christian is made an alien and stranger to this world (1 Pet. 2:11). We are new
creatures (2 Cor. 5:17) whose citizenship is now in heaven (Phil. 3:20), but we
remain here for the present. Like Lot, who felt "his righteous soul
tormented day by day by the lawless deeds" of the people of Sodom, so we
too feel our souls tormented by the unrighteousness of those around us. Can
anyone here watch the evening news without feeling vexed, that is, disturbed,
troubled and even offended in your soul by the reports of unrighteous acts that
come pouring out? Don’t you long for it to be different?

Let’s make this more personal. How do you feel when the guy living next
door decides to let the whole neighborhood listen to his favorite music, whether
they like it or not? A little annoyed, perhaps? How do you feel when not only
are you cut off while driving, but the fellow also sideswipes you and speeds
off? I would guess you would be a little more than just annoyed. What about when
someone publically lies and slanders someone you know and love? Righteous
indignation would be appropriate. Or how about if you came home and not only was
your house robbed, but it was trashed as well? Or even worse, what if someone
abused a child you knew or even your own? Your soul would be vexed at the sin
that is all around and which is personally affecting you and those you love.

You must also add to this your struggle against your own sin. It troubles the
Christian deeply to still have to deal with their own sin. It is upsetting
enough to have to deal with the effect of our own sin upon our own lives, but it
is tormenting to see those we love hurt by our sin. Our souls are vexed and we
yearn to be changed. Paul’s expression of this in Romans 7:14-25 matches the
heart of every believer. We cry out longing for the day in which we will be free
from this body of sin that we are still in. We desire to be in a place where sin
no longer exists.

In verse 18 Paul considers all the suffering that we endure in this life with
the glory that is to come in the future for the Christian, and concludes that
there is no comparison to be made. It is not that Paul is insensitive to
suffering, either his own or that of others. Rather, it is that what is to come
is so wonderful that what we endure at present, though difficult at the moment,
is not to be compared. The sorrow of the present will be turned to great joy in
the future.

In John 16:20-22, Jesus comforted His disciples with this same thought as
they considered Jesus’ soon departure from them. Jesus said to them, "Truly,
truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice;
you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy. 21 "Whenever
a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she
gives birth to the child, she remembers the anguish no more, for joy that a
child has been born into the world. 22 "Therefore you too now have sorrow;
but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy
away from you."

When a woman is in labor, the time is filled with anguish. Yet, no matter how
difficult and painful it was for her to deliver, when that baby is placed in her
arms, her heart is filled with joy. (If that was not true, none of us would have
siblings). So it is with the present sorrows and suffering. They will give way
to something better in the future.

Let me add here that the present suffering is not without benefit. Remember
what James 1 and Romans 5 says about the trials we have in this life. God uses
them to mature us. Paul says in 2 Cor. 4:17,18 "For momentary, light
affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all
comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things
which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things
which are not seen are eternal.
" The suffering we endure here reminds
us that this world is not our final home. We are awaiting the glory that is to
be revealed to us which is so far better than the present that they cannot be

The Glory to be Revealed (18)

What is the glory to be revealed to us? It is what we will receive as heirs
of God, joint heirs with Christ (8:17). We will be part of God’s eternal
kingdom. Remember what Matthew 25:34 tells us that Jesus will say to those that
belong to Him. "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"
(Mt. 25:34).
The glory that belongs to the kingdom of God is the glory that will be revealed
to us.

What is that glory? All the glory of both the Millennial Kingdom and heaven.

During the Millennial Kingdom, Jesus will reign on the throne of David in
Jerusalem (Isa. 24:23). All the nations will be subject to Him (Zech. 14). There
will be a perfect government. Nature will also be restored and function in a way
that we would find unbelievable at present. Amos 9:13 describes that time
saying, 13 "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "When
the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows
seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine, And all the hills will be
" Can you imagine a harvest so plentiful that you can’t
finish picking it all before your starting to replant. That also tells us that
the seasons will be different from what we experience now. Harvest time will
merge with planting time without the harsh deadness of Winter in between. The
current curse on the Earth will also be lifted for Isaiah 55:13 tells us,
"Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up; And instead of the
nettle the myrtle will come up; And it will be a memorial to the Lord, For an
everlasting sign which will not be cut off."
Weeds and thorns will be
replaced by good plants during the Millennium.

After the Millennium, the present heavens and earth will be destroyed and a
new heaven and earth will be created. It will be even better. We can hardly
begin to imagine what that would be like, for there will no longer be any curse
and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there. The glory of God will
illumine everything, so there will no longer be any night or even the need for a
lamp. If that is but a very brief description, what must the splendor of this
glory actually be. It is no wonder that both we and creation long for this.

The Longing of Creation (19-22)

In verses 19-22, Paul describes the "anxious longing" of the
creation which "waits eagerly" for this to occur. "Anxious
longing" (ajpokaradokiva / apokaradokia) is
a "strained expectancy." It is the idea of stretching your neck and
craning your head as you look eagerly and patiently wait (ajpekdevcetai
/ apekdexetai) for something to happen. That is the sort of anxious longing
while eagerly waiting a groom would have at his wedding while looking for his
bride to make her entrance. Paul tells us that creation has that kind of longing
for the sons of God to be revealed.

The revelation ( ajpokavluyin / apokalupsin)
of the sons of God will occur at the beginning of the Millennium when the
judgement of the "sheep and goats" will occur (Matt. 25:31f). The
sheep, which are the people that belong to Him, will be invited into His
kingdom. The goats, those people who have not followed Him, will be cast away to
eternal damnation. At present, it is not revealed who the sons of God are. There
are many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but there are tares among the
wheat of the church (Matt. 13:38). There are wolves among the sheep (Acts
20:29), and those who are self deceived about their true relationship to the
Lord (Matt. 7:22,23). I think we will be surprised on that day to find who
really does belong to the Lord and who does not. Some we did not expect will
enter God’s kingdom, and some we expected to enter will be cast away.

Creation here refers to the animals, plants, the earth and the heavenly
bodies. It does not refer to people since believers are mentioned separately and
the ungodly would not be anxious to have their judgment come upon them. In that
same vein, it does not refer to Satan and the demons because they do not want
the sons of God to be revealed, and it does not refer to the good Angels because
they are not

corrupted. It is an amazing thing to consider that nonrational creation longs
for the coming of the Millennial kingdom and the consummation of the ages.

Some might wonder about how nonrational creation could have longings, but the
idea of attributing human characteristics to creation occurs commonly in both
Biblical and non-biblical literature. While we may not understand how the rocks,
plants, seas and sky that make up creation could have desires, in some way they

In verse 20, Paul tells us that the curse that creation is under did not come
by its own will, but by was placed upon it. It was subjugated to futility by
God. Creation is unable to fulfill its original purposes. Some might object that
it is unfair to curse creation when it was Adam that sinned, yet it must be
remembered that the earth was placed under Adam’s dominion (Gen. 1:28), so
Adam’s sin also affected what he held dominion over. God had used creation as
the means to provided for Adam’s physical needs. Prior to his fall into sin,
gathering food was not a difficult task. But as a result of his sin, God cursed
creation as part of the curse upon Adam. Gen. 3:17-19 records, "Then to
Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and
have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat
from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it All
the days of your life. 18 "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you shall eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face You
shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

Many environmentalists become extreme in their position because they forget
that the creation is also cursed. It is proper that man takes proper care of our
environment, for God has given to man that responsibility, and he will be held
accountable for his stewardship. Man has often abused nature instead of taking
care of it, and it is good for organizations and government to oppose such abuse
and seek to give it reasonable protection and even restore it. That is also a
proper Christian response for that is the proper stewardship of the earth that
belongs to man.

However, it is sheer foolishness to think that you will restore nature simply
by keeping man out. In fact, it often takes man’s intervention to restore an
environment. Creation is under the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Things go from
a state of high energy to low energy, from order to disorder. Things decay even
without man. Natural disasters – earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes,
floods, drought, fire can quickly devastate even large areas. Man cannot control
such disasters, but he can help minimize the damage of some of them and he can
help restore devastated areas.

Some environmentalists have gone to the extreme of worshiping nature instead
of the God that created it. Some have even become what can only be called
anti-human, their own existence excepted of course. Their evolutionary beliefs
have led them to think that nature will somehow improve if man is kept from
interfering with it. But the the actual record of nature is the opposite. It is
decaying. It is declining. The fossil record proves that countless species of
animals and plants have become extinct without man causing it. Man can strip
mine, but only nature can cause the climate changes that have resulted in the
desertification of Northern Africa and the basin and range system of the
American west.

Nature longs to be restored to what it was in the Garden of Eden, but its
hope is not in the plans of environmentalists, no matter how helpful they may
want to be. The hope of nature to be free of its current slavery to corruption
is the freedom it will receive when the glory of the children of God is
revealed. Only then will the curse be lifted and it will be cared for by those
who are following God’s original plans to rule over the earth instead of just
exploit it.

At the present time the whole of creation groans and suffers the pains of
childbirth. Paul does not say who or when the world will be made new. He only
alludes to the fact that it will be by using the analogy of being in the pains
of childbirth. It is painful now, but new life is coming. The Apostle Peter
tells us that a day will come when the present heavens and earth will be
destroyed by fire which will melt even the elements, but then a new heaven and
earth will be created (2 Peter 3:10-13). The Apostle John speaks briefly of the
same event in Revelation 21:1 saying, "I saw a new heaven and a new
earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no
longer any sea."

The Longing of Christians (23)

Christians have a similar longing as creation. Verse 23 tells us that already
having the first fruits of the Holy Spirit, we long for the completion of our
redemption. We have been redeemed from the curse of sin by Jesus Christ and the
Holy Spirit has already regenerated us to new spiritual life. He now lives
within us and is changing us through the process of sanctification. But the more
we are changed, the more we long for our final redemption when we will receive
the final aspects of our adoption as sons when our bodies are also redeemed.
These bodies of sin, not just our unredeemed flesh, but the corruption that
remains in our minds and emotions, will one be day done away with and we will
receive resurrection bodies and minds and emotions that will no longer have any
bent to sin.

Paul also describes this longing in 2 Cor. 5:4 saying, "For indeed
while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to
be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed
up by life."
Creation longs for the complete removal of Adam’s curse,
and so do we. That is our great hope.

The Nature of Hope (24)

In verse 24, Paul explains the nature of hope. "For in hope we have
been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for
what he sees?"

Biblical hope is not a wish, but a confident assurance based in God’s
promises. We have not experienced the complete fulfilment of these promises yet.
That is the simple reality. They are still in the future, which is why they are
still a hope, and not something we can presently enjoy. But we are confident
that they will be kept. That is the nature of hope because that is the nature of
our faith. The definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 explains this. "Now
faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not

The Perseverance of Hope (25)

This assurance and conviction causes us to persevere in our hope. Paul
explains in verse 25, "But if we hope for what we do not see, with
perseverance we wait eagerly for it."

If hope was based only on what we can presently experience, then it would
have no relationship to the future. It would be the confidence that a skeptic
has, which is based only in himself. Our confidence is based in someone far
greater than we. Our hope is not irrational, for the evidence of God keeping His
many promises is recorded throughout the pages of the Bible. In addition, though
we have not yet received the fullness of our redemption, we have experienced
many aspects of it. We know that we have already been radically changed by
something outside of ourselves. It is reasonable to believe that the one that
raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also be able to fulfill His promises of
redemption to us. We have been forgiven our sins through faith in the person and
work of Jesus Christ. We are joint heirs with Christ and we will receive a
resurrection body that is like His. Therefore, we persevere in the present life
while longing for God’s promises to be fulfilled in the future.

The reality of our hope manifests itself in our present life in how we live,
for as 1 John 3:3 states, "And everyone who has this hope [fixed] on Him
purifies himself, just as He is pure."

I pray that the evidence of your hope of final redemption is also being
manifested in your present life.



Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s
lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something
you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older
Children –
Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word
"anticipation" is mentioned. 2) Discuss with your parents what your
own hopes for the future – both here on earth and your eternal future.


Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others.

What do you joyfully anticipate? What do you hope will never come? What is
your eternal destiny? Why? How do you know? Why do Christians suffer? What are
some of the things they might suffer? What are some of the things you have
suffered? Are currently suffering? What comfort did Jesus give to His followers
for when they suffer? What are the benefits of our present suffering? What is
the "glory that is to be revealed?" When will this occur? What will it
be like? Describe it. What is Paul referring to by the, "the
creation," in Romans 8? For what does the creation have "anxious
longing?" What is the curse that is on the creation? Who put it under this
curse and why? On what do environmental extremists error? Why? What is the final
destiny of the creation? What do Christians long for? What do you long for? Why?
What is the nature of hope? What is the basis for Christians to persevere in
hope? How are you doing in this perseverance? In what practical ways does this
hope manifest itself in your life?

Sermon Study Sheets

Sermon Notes – 8/18/2002 am

Awaiting Final Redemption – Romans 8:18-25


The Suffering of the Present (18)

2 Tim. 3:12; John 15:20; Matt. 5:10-13

John 16:20-22

2 Cor. 4:17-18

The Glory to be Revealed (18)

Matt. 25:34

Isa. 24:23; Zech. 14; Amos 9:13; Isa. 55:13


The Longing of Creation (19-22)

"Anxiously longing"(ajpokaradokiva /

Creation here refers to _______________________________________________

God’s Curse on Creation (Gen. 3:17-19)



Creation’s final redemption (2 Peter 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1f)


The Longing of Christians (23)

2 Cor. 5:4

The Nature of Hope (24)


The Perseverance of Hope (25)

1 John 3:3