January 23, 2022
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, How to Make Sense of Your Suffering.
Do you know suffering, pain, and disappointment? If you don’t, just wait; you will. We live with sickness, war, and hate, and mankind seems unable to do anything about it.
But the apostle Paul has been doing some figuring: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
If you don’t get this into perspective, when tragedy hits, you will get into trouble with doubt or rebellion. These three words—bondage, liberty, and hope—will help you learn that our God is a good God.
“…Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God…. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees” (Romans 8:21, 24)?
Bondage is yesterday’s curse. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:20-21).
How did the “bondage of corruption” come? God made a perfect world, but Adam sinned, and he dragged all of Creation down with him. Why did God allow Adam to sin? Some say, “God is the author of everything, so God is the author of suffering.” That is what the Apostle Paul is dealing with in Romans 8.
God made everything absolutely perfect. He made a man and a woman, put them in a perfect environment, and then gave them perfect freedom.
The highest good is love, and God is a God of love. So God created Adam and Eve, whom He could love and who could love Him. (See Matthew 22:36-37.) Why did God make them free? Because forced love is not love. In order to choose good, we must have the freedom to choose evil, or else the choice is not a choice at all.
Adam and Eve chose sin. When they did, all Creation fell into “the bondage of corruption.”
Why doesn’t God kill the devil and destroy evil? God could not destroy evil without destroying freedom. Instead, God is going to defeat evil. You see, there were two gardens: Eden, with the first Adam, then Gethsemane, with the second Adam—Jesus. Ultimately God, through Christ, will triumph over it all.
Yesterday’s curse is upon everything:
Liberty is tomorrow’s conquest. “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23).
But when Jesus comes, “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9b).
Hope is today’s comfort. Remember this: the groans that we endure are temporary; the glory we expect is eternal.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:28-29).
God loved His Son so much that He said, “I am going to make more like Him, a family in His image. I have predestined it—those people will be like Jesus.” What has been decreed in Heaven cannot be annulled by Hell.
Paul writes of these things in the past tense: “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30). Yes, the glory will be revealed, but God says, “It is as good as done.”
We are predestined for glory, therefore we are preserved for glory.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?.... For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31, 35, 38-39).
Paul doesn’t deny sufferings; he faced them all. But you are predestined for glory, you are preserved for glory, and the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.