Jew and Gentile
Restored to Israel
Slaves to Sin
Slaves to God
Slaves Serving God
Life by Faith
Service by Faith
Modified from Irving
L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's
Survey of the NT"
FOR I CONSIDER THAT THE
SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT TIME ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED: Logizomai
(1SPMI) gar hoti ouk axia ta pathemata tou nun kairou: (Mt
He 11:25, 26, 35-see
1Pe 1:6, 7- see notes
Acts 20:24; 2Cor 4:17,18)
For (gar) links this
statement with the preceding and gives the reason for the foregoing,
especially the truth that we will be glorified with Him. Always
pause and ponder this
term of explanation.
Denny introduces this
section with the comment that...
This passage from Romans 8:18-27 is
described by Lipsius as a "threefold testimony to the future
transfiguration which awaits suffering believers". In Romans 8:19-22
there is the first testimony -- the sighing of creation; in Romans
8:23-25 the second, the yearning hope of Christians themselves, related
as it is to the possession of the first fruits of the Spirit; and in
Romans 8:26-27 the third, the intercession of the Spirit which helps us
in our prayers and lends words to our longing."
(Denny continues) Logizomai is
a favorite word with Paul: the instance most like this is the one in Ro
It does not suggest a more or less dubious result of calculation; rather
by litotes (understatement for rhetorical effect) does it express the
strongest assurance. The insignificance of present suffering compared
with future glory was a fixed idea with the Apostle, 2Cor 4:17ff.
- As we often use this word in English it suggests a matter of personal
opinion but that is not the case but as explained further below it
conveys the sense that Paul has "mentally weighed" the evidence and come
a conclusion that gives him strong assurance and not doubt.
= reason, word, account) refers literally to numerical calculation and
means to reckon, compute, calculate, to take into account, to
deliberate, and to weigh. Logizomai refers to a process of
careful study or reasoning which results in the arriving at a
I have thought it over carefully—I have weighed the evidence and thus
reckon it to be so (And the
signifies he continued to mull this over in his mind).
was a term frequently used in the business community of Paul's day and
meant to impute (put to one's account) or credit to one's account.
Logizomai is related to our English term logic (which deals
with the methods of valid thinking, reveals how to draw proper
conclusions from premises and is a prerequisite of all thought).
Logizomai - 39x in NT - Lk. 22:37; Jn. 11:50;
Acts 19:27; Rom. 2:3, 26; 3:28; 4:3ff, 8ff, 22ff; 6:11; 8:18, 36; 9:8;
14:14; 1 Co. 4:1; 13:5, 11; 2 Co. 3:5; 5:19; 10:2, 7, 11; 11:5; 12:6;
Gal. 3:6; Phil. 3:13; 4:8; 2 Tim. 4:16; Heb. 11:19; Jas. 2:23; 1 Pet.
truths might one think about that would lead them to the conclusion that
suffering now pales in comparison to glory in the future? Ponder the
following Cross-references (Mt 5:11, 12-see
He 11:25, 26, 35-see
1Pe 1:6, 7-
Acts 20:24; 2Cor 4:17,18) No matter what we have
gone through, are presently going through, or will go through, the sum
total is not worth comparing with the glory that awaits us. We can
compare a thimble of water with the sea, but we cannot compare our
sufferings with the coming glory. Belief in what the Scriptures say will
change our lives. Some of us need to have our eyes lifted from the dirt
toward the heavens. There is simply no comparison of our pleasure or
pain with the glory yet to be revealed.
Martin Luther - If we consider the greatness and the glory of the
life we shall have when we have risen from the dead, it would not be
difficult at all for us to bear the concerns of this world. If I believe
the Word, I shall on the Last Day, after the sentence has been
pronounced, not only gladly have suffered ordinary temptations, insults,
and imprisonment, but I shall also say: “O, that I did not throw myself
under the feet of all the godless for the sake of the great glory which
I now see revealed and which has come to me through the merit of Christ!
describes what happens to a
person and must be endured. Pathema is talking about the actual
suffering itself (not suffering in general) - it refers to the very pain
that we are experiencing right now - those very things that we can "see,
touch and feel" - those things that are causing us anguish and emotional
Pathema - 16x in NT - Ro
7:5; 8:18; 2 Co. 1:5ff; Gal. 5:24; Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:24; 2 Tim. 3:11;
Heb. 2:9f; 10:32; 1Pet. 1:11; 4:13; 5:1, 9
The sufferings of this life are the
lot of all believers but keep
in mind that for believers suffering takes on a different meaning and
purpose then suffering in general - as believers we suffer for our faith
in Christ (and Christ in us Who the world hates) and we suffer that we
might be conformed to His image.
Paul reminds the Corinthians
just as the sufferings
(pathema) of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is
abundant through Christ. (2Co 1:5)
Comment: Will we suffer
for our faith? Yes. Will we "out suffer" God's capacity to comfort us?
No. Never! The more we endure righteous ("right") suffering (i.e., not
suffering because we are being disciplined by our Father for sinning
against Him), the greater will be our comfort and reward (cf. 1Pe 4:12,
Paul understood from experience that his many sufferings were continual
never-ending (2Cor 4:7, 8, 9, 10, 11; 6:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; 11:23, 24,
25, 26, 27), and that all believers in Christ should expect the same
(cf. Mt. 10:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, cp 2Ti 3:12-note,
Again Paul writes that
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings
(pathema) for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His
body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in
Christ’s afflictions." (Col 1:24-note)
As a servant of the Lord, he was
called upon to endure untold hardships, persecutions, and afflictions
(see similar use of pathema in 2Ti 3:11-note).
These to Paul were a privilege. "Filling up that which is lacking" does
not refer to the atoning sufferings of the Jesus on the Cross for they
are finished once and for all and no man could ever share in them. On
the other hand there is a sense in which the Lord Jesus still suffers,
for when believers are persecuted, the Head feels the sufferings of His
In a similar vein, Peter
encourages the saints:
do not be surprised
+ negative = command to stop letting this happen, implying some were
being surprised by the fiery trials) at the
fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing
= not meant to break them but to make them, so to speak, to make them
more like Jesus. Not to break our faith but to test our faith and
strengthen our faith like tempered steel is made stronger - see article
below on "tempering steel" - great parallels to our Christian life and
God's use of trials to "temper" our faith!), as though
some strange thing were happening to you, but to the degree that you
share the sufferings (pathema) of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so
that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with
Step 1 - First you need
to understand why steel needs to be tempered. To understand that you
must understand the process before tempering, hardening. First metal is
worked into the shape of what it is to become. For this article let's
use a flat head crew driver as an example. After the metal is shaped
into a flat head screw driver it needs to be hardened. To harden the
metal its is heated till its orange hot. Then the metal is quenched in
clean water. The super heating and rapid cooling make the metal very
hard. However it also makes the metal very brittle. Sometimes you want
the metal hard. In our case a brittle flat head crew driver would be a
bad thing. As soon as you applied to much pressure to the flat tip it
would crack breaking the tip. This is where tempering is needed.
Step 2 - After hardening
the flat head screw driver, we have made it very hard and brittle. Now
we must temper the point. To do this slowly heat up the tip of the screw
driver. A blue line of heat will appear on the metal as the temperature
rises and travels down the shaft of the screw driver. When you see this
you have reached the correct temperature for tempering. Place the shaft
on a metal surface and allow it to cool slowly. After its cool your
screw driver is tempered.
Step 3 - The tempering
process has taken most of the brittleness from the steel. Allowing you
to turn a screw and not have the tip crack and shatter.
THE MARK OF
Suffering is the universal
mark of all true Christians. Realizing that other Christians suffer in
other places of the world, encourages us to move on in the faith (If you
are not familiar with them, you might want to check out
Voice of the Martyrs). This
also unites us in the same experiences (cp 1Co 12:26, Ro 12:15-note,
Gal 6:2, He 13:3-note). We can handle anything that life
may bring us if we know the principles of the Word (Mt 4:4, 2Pe 1:3-note,
2Co 3:5,6). And remember that we
are not to be ignorant of Satan's schemes (2Co 2:11), one of which is to use our
suffering to discourage us (cp Ge 4:5, 6, 7 "sin is crouching at the
door" - 1Pe 5:8-note). He shoots fiery missiles like "You're the
only one suffering like this." (Ep 6:16-note)
- note counter his fiery missiles of "fear" with the shield of "faith",
believing what God says is always, eternally true about believers [cp Ro
2Cor 5:7], truths like Ro 8:31-note,
Heb 13:5-note) And this is a soul withering
(cp Ps 42:5-note) thought if
not taken captive to Christ (2Cor 10:5-note), for in the midst of the fire of affliction,
it is easy to grow weary (cp He 12:3-note,
Gal 6:9) and want to give up under the mistaken
impression that no one else has as much trouble as we do (cp "same
experiences" - 1Pe 5:9-note). In the passage
below the apostle Peter (who was well acquainted with how the flesh
responds to fear! Jn 13:38, Lk 22:31, 32, 33, 34, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60,
61, 62, contrasted with Acts 2:2,14, 4:8) speaks God's truth which deflates Satan's lie.
in the aorist
- This sounds forth like a military command being "barked out" by a
commanding officer. The aorist imperative is often used to convey a
sense of urgency)
him, firm (stereos
= a military
term used to describe a Grecian phalanx that remains solid and
immovable, steadfast like a "firm" foundation)
in your faith
knowing (eido =
absolute, positive, beyond a chance
of a doubt type of knowing)
that the same experiences of suffering are being
= fully completed and so reaching the intended goal, cp Php 1:6-note)
by your brethren who are in the world. (1Pe 5:9-note)
><> ><> ><>
experiences we encounter each day help to prepare us for heaven. The
uses all of life's troubles to polish and perfect our character. If we
accept our trials with the right attitude (cp 1Th 5:18-note) and recognize that the
heavenly Father is working through them (cp Jas 1:2-note,
Jas 1:3, 4-note), we will someday shine with
splendor before Him (cp Da 12:3, Pr 4:18, Mt 13:43).
In the rough, a diamond looks like a common pebble, but after it is cut,
its hidden beauty begins to emerge. The stone then undergoes a finishing
process to bring out its full radiance. A skilled craftsman holds the
gem against the surface of a large grinding wheel. No other substance is
hard enough to polish the stone, so the wheel is covered with diamond
dust. This process may take a long time, depending on the quality
desired by the one who will buy it.
This is similar to the way God works with us. The procedure is not
pleasant, nor is it intended to be. The Divine Workman, however, has our
final glory in view (2Cor 4:16, 17, 18). We may be "grieved by various trials," as Peter
said, but when we understand what is behind them we can rejoice even in
adversity (1Pe 1:6-note). God has one goal in mind during the refining process: that
our faith "may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of
Jesus Christ." (1Pe 1:7-note,
Ps 66:10-note) Knowing this enables us to look beyond the unpleasantness
of "polishing" to see the outcome (Ro 8:29-note). P. R. Van
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
A gem cannot be
polished without friction,
nor a man perfected without adversity.
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Acid Test - A
severe trial is sometimes called an “acid test.” This term originated
during times when gold was widely circulated. Nitric acid was applied to
an object of gold to see if it was genuine or not. If it was fake, the
acid decomposed it; if it was genuine, the gold was unaffected.
In God’s view, our faith is “much
more precious than gold,” and it too MUST be tested (1Pe 1:6-note;
1Pe 1:7-note). But these “acid tests” are positive ones. The Lord
is working to reveal genuine faith, not to expose false faith. During
hard times, though, we may feel overwhelmed with the fear that our faith
Ronald Dunn, a Bible teacher who has
experienced much personal tragedy, knows what we are going through. He
I’m often mystified. I don’t
understand why it is that as I endeavor to live for God and pray and
believe, everything seems to be falling apart. Sometimes I struggle, and
I say, ‘Dear Lord, why are You allowing this to happen?
It’s good for us to remember that God
is not an arsonist; He’s a Refiner! (cp Mal 3:3KJV) (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
><> ><> ><>
AN ILLUSTRATION - While
studying the Scriptures a woman came across the picture of God as a
Refiner in Mal 3:3 (cp Titus 2:14-note,
She visited a silversmith to learn more about the process of refining
silver. After the silversmith had described the refining process to her,
she asked, "Do you sit while the work of refining is going on?" The
silversmith replied, "Oh, yes, madam, I must sit with my eyes steadily
fixed on the furnace because if the refining time is exceeded in the
slightest degree, the silver will be damaged." The lady at once saw the
beauty and comfort found in the picture of God as our Refiner and
Purifier! When God sees it needful to put His children into a furnace of
affliction (or testing), His eye is steadily intent on the work of
purifying, while His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner
for us. Our trials do not come at random (Beloved
- Read that statement again and think
(trustworthy) and will
not let us be tested beyond what we can endure (1Co 10:13-note).
Before she left, the lady asked one final question, "When do you know
the process is complete?" The silversmith smiled and said, "Why, that's
quite simple. When I can see my own image in the silver, the refining
process is finished." (Ro 8:29-note,
As someone else has said "The face of Jesus must be very near our own
when the thorns from his crown of suffering are pressing our brow and
><> ><> ><>
There is a mission in Japan which has
a meeting place built by the stones which were thrown at the Christians
in years gone by. A mob rushed upon639 the company and stoned them away.
When the time of peace came, the Christians picked up the stones and
worked them into their building. God is able to make the wrath of man
praise Him. —Selected
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- Frank has a toolbox full of knives and chisels that are designed
for his woodcarving hobby. His favorite is a German-made, all-purpose
carving knife. He has honed it repeatedly, and it still holds an edge.
"I'm going to be sad," Frank said, looking fondly at his knife, "when
this blade gets too thin to sharpen."
Like all reliable carving tools, that knife is constructed of "crucible
steel." To produce this durable metal, raw material is placed in a
crucible where it is subjected to intense heat. Once it is glowing with
molten brightness, the white-hot metal is maintained at precisely the
right temperature until it qualifies as crucible steel. When it cools,
it is neither so soft that it won't hold an edge nor so hard that it is
Christians, as the handiwork of God, are shaped and formed by His will.
Sometimes He places us in a crucible of affliction. Peter wrote about
the faith of Christians and said that it may be "tested by fire" (1Pet.
1:7-note). That testing may come in the form of "various trials" to refine
our faith (1Pe 1:6-note).
If you're in a crucible of testing right now, don't be discouraged. God
knows what He is doing. He has promised to stay with you and help you to
become a useful tool in His strong, loving hands. —David C. Egner (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
All things work out
for good we know--
God sometimes has to put us on our
backs in order to make us look up.
Such is God's great design;
He orders all our steps below
For purposes divine. --Peterson © 1961 Singspiration, Inc.
Gold is tested by fire; man is tested by adversity
><> ><> ><>
- The greatest sermons I have ever heard were not preached from
pulpits but from sickbeds. The deepest truths of God's Word have often
been taught by those humble souls who have gone through the seminary of
The most cheerful people I have met, with few exceptions, have been
those who've had the least sunshine and the most pain and suffering in
their lives. The most grateful people I have ever known were not those
who had traveled a pathway of roses all their lives, but those who were
confined to their homes, some to their beds, and had learned to depend
The gripers, on the other hand, are usually those who have the least to
complain about. The men and women who are the most cheerful and the most
grateful for the blessings of Almighty God are often those who have gone
through the greatest trials.
The Bible tells us that if we respond properly to the trials of life, we
will develop patience and godly maturity (Romans 5:3, 4, 5-note; James 1:3, 4-note). We
must keep in mind that our present sufferings are "but for a moment" and
that they are being used by God for our eternal good (2Corinthians
So take heart, suffering one. Someday you too will realize that it was
worth it all (1Peter 1:7-note).
—M R De Haan (Ibid)
It will be worth it
all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ. — Esther Kerr Rusthoi
(c) Renewal 1969 Singspiration, Inc.
Some of life's
greatest lessons are learned in the school of affliction.
><> ><> ><>
If you are God’s child, suffering has
or will come your way. That is a certainty and so it behooves every
saint to understand the following truths regarding suffering...
Reasons for suffering
1. A Gift of Sharing in Christ’s Affliction
You are going to suffer with Him so that you might be glorified with Him.
In one sense the affliction of the Lord is still going on in His
children. (cp Ro 8:15-note,
Ro 8:16, 17-note,
The gospel is a gospel of affliction or of suffering and because we are
in covenant with Christ we join in and share His affliction, which
Paul amplifies in
I now rejoice in my sufferings for
you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of
Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church
Why Christ’s afflictions lacking?
the kingdom of God is still a spiritual kingdom. His kingdom now is not of
this world and neither is our citizenship (Php 3:20-note).
Thus now believers are aliens and strangers, living in a world that
has another prince (Satan) rather than the Prince or Jesus. And so we
are in a spiritual war (Ep 2:2-note,
against a Satanic hierarchy bent on destroying the children of God and
determined to impede the going forth of the gospel. And in this
spiritual warfare believers suffer and as they do so we are filling up in
our body the afflictions of Jesus
Christ. We see this even from the inception of the church (Acts 5:34,
35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41). We can know that anytime that we suffer for righteousness
holiness and the kingdom of Christ,
that those who fight against us are in reality fighting against God. Of
course they cannot see God, but they can see us and Christ in us if we
are walking worthy of the gospel, and consequently they persecute us.
And as they attack us we are filling up the afflictions of Christ.
2. Suffering Purifies Believers - to make you more like Jesus (cp
1Pe 1:6, 7-note).
When suffering comes and it does not destroy your faith, but
causes you to stand firm, it shows the reality of your faith. (Php
When silver is refined it is purified in the fire seven times (Psalm
time the temperature is made hotter by the silversmith who knows when
the sliver is purified. How? When he
looks in the silver he sees a perfect image of himself. (cp Jas 1:2-note,
Jas 1:3, 4-note).
When you begin to experience suffering don’t run, but remain under the
suffering remembering that
suffering purifies and proves to us that we belong to Jesus
Christ (Ro 5:3-note,
Ro 5:4, 5-note),
The corollary is that
you will doubt your salvation when you are walking "your way" and not
In sum, God uses suffering in our
lives to expose our sin because (a) Suffering deters from going astray
and leads to obedience. (Psalm 119:67-note);
(b) Suffering produces repentance that leads us to salvation from
sin.(2Co 7:10); (c) Suffering makes us more inclined to reject sin and
to resist fulfilling our selfish desires. Suffering can lead to our
living for the will of God. (1Pe 4:1, 2-note)
3. Suffering Testifies to the Reality of Your Faith - Believers
have received the ministry of the new covenant and are responsible to
walk worthy of this high privilege. We have turned from a life that is
opposed to Jesus Christ. (cp 2Cor 4:1, 2, 3). Now our very lifestyle speaks of the reality of Jesus Christ.
Death works in you – but life and salvation come to others because
suffering testifies to the reality of your faith to those that are
watching. (cp 2Co 4:7-12)
Realities of suffering
1. That Suffering Will Never Be More Than You Can Bear - There is
always the way of escape so that in the midst of every trial His grace
is sufficient (1Co 10:13-note,
2. The Lord Will Never Abandon You in the Midst of That Suffering
Greek = 4 negatives “I will never never never leave you nor never forsake you”),
2Ti 4:16, 17-note,
Acts 9:15, 16. You may (you will) suffer, but the Lord will never abandon you
3. Your Life Cannot Be Taken Without God’s Permission
The greatest fear that man has is the fear of death, but believers do
not need to be afraid because no man can take our life from you without
God's permission (cp
He 2:14, 15-note, Mt
10:16,26,28,31, cp Rev 2:10-note).
Jesus has in His hands the keys to hell and to death (Revelation 1:18-note).
Moses affirms that God is sovereign over life and death...
Dt 32:39 - 'Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God
besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there
any who can deliver from My hand.' (cp 1Sa 2:6, 7, 8)
Believers belong to God. We are His possession
and the enemy cannot take our life without His
permission, so don't fear (cp Rev 2:10-note).
In fact for believers death only marks the end of temporal life and the
beginning of eternal life, the beginning of all
that life is meant to be.
Response in suffering
1. Response toward God - In a
word, rejoice! (cp 1Pe 4:12, 13-note,
always = Php 4:4-note,
all circumstances = 1Th 5:18-note,
with thanks = Eph 5:20-note
- which is in context of being filled with the Spirit explaining how
this supernatural response is even possible).
2. Response toward the person causing the suffering - When God's
enemies are persecuting you, you are not to be terrified but instead
should respond to them with gentleness and reverence (Php 1:28, 1Pe
3:14, 15, 16-note).
We are to respond to our (God's) enemies the way He responds -- in love
(Mt 5:44, 45-note).
We are to bless them and do good to them (Ro 12:14-note,
Ro 12:18, 19, 20, 21-note)
3. Response toward believers - Believers are to be of one
mind and one heart, united in spirit knowing that the enemy wants to separate
believers from the fold (cp Php 2:1-note)
Results of suffering
1. God is glorified
2. Believers are purified
3. Lost may be justified
because they see that you are not terrified by your suffering and to them it is an evidence of the fact that they are lost
A FEW MORE TRUTHS
ABOUT CHRISTIAN SUFFERING
Suffering develops contentment even
when we are in need. (Php 4:12-note)
Suffering produces perseverance, which in turn makes us emotionally
mature and morally complete. (Jas 1:2, 3, 4-note)
Suffering produces endurance, which is a catalyst to refine our
character and renew our hope. (Ro 5:3-note,
Suffering, will be used by God for our good. (Ro 8:28-note,
cp Ge 50:20) Suffering gives Christians the opportunity to show care
toward other Christians who suffer. (1Cor 12:25, 26) Suffering endured,
produces compassion that equips us to comfort others. (2Co 1:3, 4)
Suffering is used by God to change our perspective, for it can reveal
Jesus, who is living within us.(2Co 4:8, 9, 10) Suffering prepares great
eternal glory for us. (2Co 4:16, 17) Suffering creates a hunger in us
for heaven, where there will be no more suffering. (Rev 21:4-note)
Suffering for living right in God's sight promises great future Divine
blessing (Mt 5:10-note)
Suffering proves our faith is genuine. (1Pe 1:6, 7-note)
Suffering with perseverance will be repaid with the crown of life. (Jas
time - literally the now season. Just as seasons pass,
so too the time of suffering will give way to a new age in which
there is no suffering...
For momentary, light affliction is
producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
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. (2 Cor 4:17, 18)
means a period of time
frequently with the implication of being especially fit for something to
take place or have effect. Kairos means a period which is
especially appropriate with the added notion of suitableness ("the
suitable time", "the right moment", "the convenient time").
82x in NT - Matt. 24:21; 26:65; 27:42f; Mk. 10:30; 13:19; 15:32; Lk.
1:48; 2:29; 5:10; 6:21, 25; 11:39; 12:52; 16:25; 19:42; 22:18, 36, 69;
Jn. 2:8; 4:18, 23; 5:25; 6:42; 8:11, 52; 9:21, 41; 11:8, 22; 12:27, 31;
13:31, 36; 14:29; 15:22, 24; 16:5, 22, 29f; 17:5, 7, 13; 21:10; Acts
3:17; 4:29; 5:38; 7:4, 34, 52; 10:5, 33; 12:11; 13:11, 31; 15:10;
16:36f; 17:30; 18:6; 20:22, 25, 32; 22:16; 23:15, 21; 24:25; 26:6;
27:22; Rom. 3:26; 5:9, 11; 6:19, 21; 8:1, 18, 22; 11:5, 30f; 13:11;
16:26; 1 Co. 3:2; 5:11; 7:14; 12:18, 20; 14:6; 16:12; 2 Co. 5:16; 6:2;
7:9; 8:14; 13:2; Gal. 1:23; 2:20; 3:3; 4:9, 25, 29; Eph. 2:2; 3:5, 10;
5:8; Phil. 1:5, 20, 30; 2:12; 3:18; Col. 1:24, 26; 1 Thess. 3:8; 2
Thess. 2:6; 1 Tim. 4:8; 6:17; 2 Tim. 1:10; 4:10; Tit. 2:12; Heb. 2:8;
8:6; 9:5, 24; 12:26; Jas. 4:13; 5:1; 1 Pet. 1:12; 2:10, 25; 3:21; 2 Pet.
3:7, 18; 1 Jn. 2:18, 28; 3:2; 4:3; 2 Jn. 1:5; Jude 1:25
comments that "Contemplation of the future
privileges of the believer leads Paul to think of the contrast this
makes with the present state. He shows that suffering is
the path we tread as we move to blessing and to glory. Since the early
Christians led a somewhat precarious existence, it may well be that the
contemplation of the future glory was very precious to them... Paul
speaks of our present sufferings, which means the sufferings
characteristic of this present age rather than the
present moment. There is no reason to think that the
circumstances in which he wrote were especially significant, but this
age is in marked contrast to the age to come (Ed note:
Paul holds that the believer must expect sufferings in this present
age. There is suffering that is the direct result of our sinning
and there is suffering that we endure for Christ’s sake,
suffering that arises directly from our Christian profession in a
world that rejects Christ. But beyond that, there is suffering
that arises simply because we are in this imperfect world. Paul is
realistic; there is no reason to think that Christians will be free from
troubles in this present life. It is important, therefore, that they
learn how to bear them. (Morris,
L. The Epistle to the Romans. W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press)
- absolutely not (ouk) worthy.
Hodge - Here the meaning is “not weighty in
reference to” or “in comparison with.” As the glory so outweighs the
suffering, the idea of merit is excluded. It is altogether foreign to
the context. It is not the basis on which eternal life is bestowed, but
the greatness of the glory that the saints are to inherit which the
apostle seeks to illustrate. (Commentary
means weighing as much as, of like value, worth as much. It means having
the weight of another thing and so being of like value or worth as much.
In other words axios has the root meaning of balancing the
scales—what is on one side of the scale should be equal in weight to
what is on the other side. By extension, axios came to be applied
to anything that was expected to correspond to something else. A person
worthy of his pay was one whose day’s work corresponded to his day’s
The word axios was used
originally of drawing down a scale; hence it had to do with weight, and
so of that which is of value. The idea, here (Ro 8:18), then, is that
sufferings are of no weight in comparison with glory; they are not to be
balanced in the scale with it.
Axios - 39x
in NT - Matt. 3:8; 10:10f, 13, 37f; 22:8; Lk. 3:8; 7:4; 10:7; 12:48;
15:19, 21; 23:15, 41; Jn. 1:27; Acts 13:25, 46; 23:29; 25:11, 25; 26:20,
31; Rom. 1:32; 8:18; 1 Co. 16:4; 2Th 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:15; 4:9; 5:18;
6:1; Heb. 11:38; Rev. 3:4; 4:11; 5:2, 4, 9, 12; 16:6. NAS =
appropriate(1), deserve(2), deserving(4), fitting(2), keeping(2),
The meaning of
axios is illustrated by the balancing of the scale (see
below). It is as if Paul is saying
Brothers, the glory to be revealed to
the children of God is not on even on the same scale as trials because
the eternal glory so far outweighs the temporal trials
Jewish readers would
agree with Paul that the righteous would be greatly rewarded for any
sufferings in this world. (Many Jewish teachers went beyond Paul and
even said that one’s suffering atoned for sin, but Paul accepted only
Christ’s atonement as sufficient for sin—see Ro 3:25-note)
As noted above,
Paul calls present sufferings "momentary, light affliction” compared to the “eternal
weight of glory” (2Cor 4:17) because the divine compensation package is “a
hundredfold” (Mt 19:29).
That is, down here it doesn't seem like we are getting very far, nothing
seems to be accomplished; but over yonder, where we can't see, the great
floodtide of suffering is washing in a great wave of glory which shall
be revealed in its time.
The late Ethel Waters, a performer who often sang at Billy Graham
crusades was best known before she became a Christian for her rendition
of the popular song, “Stormy Weather.” Later as a Christian she was once
asked to sing this song, but replied,
“No Sir, I’ll never sing ‘Stormy Weather again, since Jesus came into my
heart I’ve never had stormy weather like I had before I knew him.”
Or as someone has well said we can
sometimes see more through a tear than through a telescope.
Or ponder the perspective on
suffering by the Puritan saint Richard Baxter who said...
Weakness and pain helped me to study
how to die; that set me on studying how to live. (and) Suffering so
unbolts the door of the heart that the Word hath easier entrance.
Suffering times are teaching times. -
D A Carson on suffering -
The sovereign and utterly good God
created a good universe. We human beings rebelled; rebellion is now so
much a part of our make-up that we are all enmeshed in it. Every scrap
of suffering we face turns on this fact....There is a certain kind of
maturity that can be attained only through the discipline of
suffering....The staying power of our faith is neither demonstrated nor
developed until it is tested by suffering.
From Southern Baptist Journal of
Theology (SBJT 4:2 - Summer 2000) in an article on suffering in
which several theologians were asked specific questions on this
SBJT: From what perspective should
Christians view suffering?
C. Ben Mitchell responds...
On my bookshelf is a favorite
two-frame cartoon strip. In the first frame a little man is shown
standing in a torrential downpour, eyes lifted toward heaven, wailing,
“Why me?” In the last frame, the voice of God calls down from the dark
sky, “Why not?” I saved that cartoon strip because it reminds me of a
profound biblical principle about suffering. The classical theodicy
problem begins with the question, “Why is there suffering in the world?”
Yet, this little cartoon evokes what I take to be an even more profound
question, “Why shouldn’t there be suffering in the world?” Given that we
live in a universe that has been compromised by the effects of human
sinfulness, is this not a more appropriate question? The question may be
focused even more pointedly, “Why shouldn’t Christians suffer?”
Doubtless many Christians have and will suffer intensely. Whether from
the ravages of disease, persecution, or disaster, Christians are not
exempt from the pangs of living in a fallen world. A Christian wife of
unflagging devotion to her husband learns that he is cheating on her and
plans to move in with his adulterous partner. Faithful Christians are
laid off in corporate downsizing, despite their hard work and loyalty. A
godly nurse who has given her life in service to the weak and ill finds
herself the victim of Lou Gehrig’s disease. A spiritually mature couple
pray to have a baby for 10 years and invest more than one hundred
thousand dollars in infertility treatments, all with no results.
Christians in other countries find themselves tortured, raped, and
murdered for their faith. When tragedy strikes, the almost knee-jerk
reaction seems to be, “Why me?” Instead, it seems to me, Christians
ought always to ask when they learn of the suffering of others, “Why not
me?” Why shouldn’t Christians suffer?
Christians are better prepared than anyone else to endure suffering.
First, Christians alone understand the cause of suffering. We know that,
in a deep sense, this is not the way it is supposed to be. That is,
prior to the entrance of sin into the world there was no pain,
suffering, or trouble. God’s refrain over his creation was “it was
good.” Everything conformed to his purpose. After the disobedience of
our first parents, Adam and Eve, the refrain changed to “curse,” “pain,”
and “toil” (Genesis 3:17, 18, 19). Thorns and thistles grew where once
the gracious fruit had grown. Where once abundant life thrived, the
report now is, “in Adam all die . . .” (1Cor 15:22). Where once the
creation rejoiced in God’s goodness, it now “waits in eager anticipation
for the sons of God to be revealed” when “the creation itself will be
liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious
freedom of the children of God” (Ro 8:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). Much of
the suffering and many of the trials we experience are endemic to life
in a fallen world. Christians acknowledge God’s justice in responding to
sin in this way. We understand that God’s own holy character demands
that the rebellion of Adam and Eve be rewarded with punishment.
Christians, of all people, should understand why we suffer.
Second, Christians alone know the Father’s love and purpose in
suffering. We know that our gracious heavenly Father never does anything
to harm us. Just as it is his character to punish sin, it is his nature
to love his children. Since he is the sovereign God, nothing can happen
to us that he does not superintend or control for his good purpose. What
is that purpose? It is at least twofold: to glorify himself and to make
his children more like Jesus. Through Christ, the Father’s heart is
turned toward us in love, not anger. When we ask for bread he does not
give us a stone. When we ask for fish he does not give us a serpent. Or
as the hymn-writer put it: “the flames shall not harm you, I only
design, thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.” Since the Father
is animated by love toward his children, Christians should endure
suffering knowing that God’s purpose is good and that he will not place
more upon us than he will equip us to handle.
Third, Christians alone have been granted faith to trust God and
believe his loving purposes will prevail. Suffering evokes either doubt
of God’s goodness or trust in God’s goodness. Some respond to suffering
by rejecting God himself or by repudiating his goodness. Not Christians!
With eyes of faith we can see (dimly sometimes, more clearly at other
times) that while we may not understand the suffering now, we will see
God’s goodness in it in the future.
The apostle Peter reminds believers who were suffering intensely that
the events which resulted in their suffering “have come so that your
faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by
fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1Pet 1:7). By faith we see through the
suffering to the shining face of our gracious Father. Perseverance in
the face of suffering is made possible through faith (cf. Heb 11:32, 33,
34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39).
Finally, Christians have hope; hope that enables them to see
through the suffering to the goal of suffering. Why shouldn’t they
suffer, seeing that they have an inheritance that far surpasses what
this world has to offer? Twice in a passage filled with pathos, the
apostle Paul remarks that “we do not lose heart” during these “light and
momentary troubles” (2Cor 4:16, 17, 18, 2Co 5:15:21). Note the images of
suffering in this passage. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not
crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the
death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our
body” (2Co 4:8, 9, 10). “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet
inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2Co 4:16). “Meanwhile we
groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling” (2Co 5:2). “For
while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened . . .” (2Co 5:4).
These are powerful exclamations of the suffering Paul and his brother
and sisters were experiencing. At the same time, he (and they) can be
“always confident” (2Co 5:6), living by faith, not by sight (2Co 5:7),
longing to be at home with the Lord (2Co 5:8).
Or consider the apostle Peter’s encouragement to suffering Christians
when he sets before them the hope of their inheritance “that can never
perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are
shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready
to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet 1:4–5). Even though “now for a
little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1
Pet 1:6). Their palpable experience of suffering was to be kept in
perspective by viewing it in light of the hope of eternal life yet to
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of
man?” The answer is, of course, “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
Most contemporary Christians emphasize the assertion that precedes the
conjunction—viz., to glorify God. The hope held out for us in the gospel
of Christ is that those who have embraced Jesus by faith will benefit
through the assertion following the conjunction— viz., enjoying him
forever. Why shouldn’t Christians suffer, since they have laid up for
them such a blessed hope?
One of the most mysterious passages of the Bible for contemporary
Western Christians is the book of Philippians. The fellowship of sharing
Christ’s sufferings (Phil 3:10) is a fellowship no one wants.
Nevertheless, Paul’s exhortation to the church in Philippi was that “it
has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him,
but also to suffer for him . . .” (Phil 1:29).
SBJT: In what way is our suffering
an opportunity to display the goodness of God?
Mark Dever responds...
In the fall of 1984, I was preaching
through the book of Job in the evening services of a Congregational
Church in New England. I was in seminary, and my wife and I were
committed to minister in the town we lived in. After having been
involved in the church a couple of years, what I and others thought was
particularly needed was expositional preaching. So we began an evening
service, and every Sunday night for months I preached from Jude, 1
Peter, Genesis, and Job.
It was in that series on Job that God taught me something new about
suffering. In some ways, I feel a bit ashamed to say I know about
suffering, when I consider what eyes may read these words, but I know
that the Great Sufferer not only reads but knows my heart.
As I was preaching through the book of Job, I began to notice something
new about Job’s sufferings, namely, God’s marvelous sovereignty in his
sufferings, and even God’s pleasure in choosing Job to suffer. For Job
to suffer as he did was an honor. That was an amazing thought to me. Job
had many reasons to trust God— God had been good to him by giving him
life and caring for him all those years. But Job did not have what he
probably desperately wanted. He did not know the reason for his
suffering. What you and I know from reading the beginning of the book
remained hidden from Job.
Satan wrongly accused Job, charging that Job was only serving God for
his own selfish ends. Satan said that Job was only serving God because
God had made him wealthy. But when all the material trappings were taken
away, Job still worshipped God.
Satan will try to find fault with us even in our obedience to God! So
Satan then accused Job of only serving God because his health remained.
Satan switched his tactics, suggesting that health was Job’s only
concern. God disagreed with Satan, but He allowed him to take away Job’s
health, yet preserving his life. But Satan was still wrong. Even in the
midst of his ever-present physical suffering, with his own body decaying
and his skin erupting into boils, Job still worshipped God.
Job’s changing circumstances revealed that as wealthy as he was, he was
not worshipping God because of his wealth. And Job’s changing
circumstances revealed that as healthy as he was, he was not worshipping
God because of his health. A life of true devotion to God is not
dependent on our circumstances; it is not a life devoted to God’s
Job’s friends suggested that he suffered because of some sin he refused
to confess. But far from being right, we the readers know that Job’s
friends got it all wrong. Job’s trials were not because of his vices at
all, but because of his virtue! God had bragged on Job! The amazing
divine boast comes in Job 1:8, and again in Job 2:3: “Have you
considered my servant Job?”
Not so many months ago, I sat securely on a plane as we taxied for
take-off from the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Airport. With terminals,
parking garages, runways and support roads, DFW covers roughly the same
area as Manhattan Island. Hundreds and thousands of planes take off from
there every day. As I sat securely on the plane, we taxied for take-off.
Knowing the great mass of air traffic around that airport, I could have
become nervous and untrusting. As we taxied away from the gate and began
to prepare for departure, I suppose I could have simply stood up and
said, “Stop the plane!” I could have gone to the cockpit and demanded
from the captain copies of the taxiing route, the runway we would be
using, and the timetable for other flights, in order to satisfy myself
that we would, in fact, be safe. As I say, I could have done that.
Regardless of the response I would likely have received, I could have
tried to satisfy myself. Or, I could do what I did—more habit than
virtue—and trust the controllers. I recognized the care and order with
which this whole apparently chaotic, potentially disastrous operation
was run. And I sat back as we accelerated and lifted off the ground.
How many times do we want to stop the plane in order to understand all
the variables before we go? How much do we trust the True Controller,
who makes no errors, who never sleeps nor slumbers, nor in whom is the
slightest touch of evil.
I wonder if Job, in this life, ever learned that God had bragged on him.
I wonder if, in this life, he ever understood his sufferings to be an
opportunity from God, a strange compliment. As far as we know, Job
simply had to trust the character of God, His very goodness.
When I think about the preaching I did through Job those years ago, I am
reminded of how dangerous it can be for us to try to think casually
about how God may use this or that tragedy in others’ or even our own
lives. To a point, seeking to understand how God may be using a tragedy
in our lives is a good and natural practice. It comes out of our human
desire for coherence and meaning. It is cognitive breathing. But at a
still deeper level, there is no doubt that in all of our lives, times
will come in which we are certainly called to trust God when we cannot
understand the reason for our suffering. We must all finally rely on His
character and purposes, rather than thinking that we have figured out
the specifics of His plans. We know His ultimate purposes are good, even
if His immediate goodness is sometimes hidden to us in the darkness of
His plans: “Behind a frowning providence there hides a smiling face.”
Remember the story of Jesus and his disciples meeting the blind man,
recorded in John 9? The disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned, this man, or
his parents that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents
sinned,” replied Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might
be displayed in his life” (John 9:3).
I realize that Job is someone that we would rather meet than emulate.
But we may consider Job’s experience and be encouraged! I remember
reading some years ago about an actress, who already having a hard year,
found out, on the same day, that she had lost her television show and
that her husband had left her. She said, “I know the Lord won’t send me
more trouble than I have the strength to bear, but I do wish He didn’t
have quite such a good opinion of me.” We may feel like that lady some
If I am going to be a follower of the Crucified One, I must know that
when I suffer, I am being called on to display— perhaps even
exquisitely—the glory of God as I continue to serve Him in the midst of
Do you think that God is speaking
to Satan about you today,
“Have you considered my servant?”
If so, like Job, you can be confident
of God’s goodness, even if you do not know His immediate plans. As
Christians, we may often suffer. We only sometimes understand, but we
can always trust.
WITH THE GLORY
THAT IS TO BE
REVEALED TO US: pros ten mellousan
(PAPFSA ~ about to be)
doxan apokaluphthenai (APN) eis hemas: (Col
3:4; 2Th 1:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 2:14; Ro 5:1, Titus 2:12, 13, 1Pe 1:13; 4:13; 5:1; 1Jn 3:2)
Perish each thought of human pride,
Let God alone be magnified;
His glory let the heavens resound,
Shouted from earth's remotest bound.
Glory...revealed to us - The
Amplified rendering expands the meaning of the preposition to
(eis = motion into, toward or upon) "the glory that is
about to be revealed to us and in us and for
us and conferred on us!"
As Richards says "The world is impressed by
appearances. Wealth and position are equated with glory, and fame--the
admiration of others--is eagerly sought. The Christian has a different
set of values. To the believer, true glory is found only in the splendor
of God. It is recognized as His character is displayed in His actions,
and it is reflected back to Him as praise. We say with the psalmist
David: "You are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and
lift up my head" (Ps 3:3). We glorify God by recognizing His presence in
His actions and by offering Him our praise. And we glorify God by being
channels through which the Holy Spirit, Who lives within us, can
communicate God to those whose lives we touch.
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
(doxa from dokeo = to think)
in simple terms means to give a proper
opinion or estimate of something and thus the glory of God
expresses all that He is in His Being and in His nature, character,
power and acts. He is
glorified when He is allowed to be seen as He really is. To be where God
is will be glory. To be what God intended will be glory. To do what God
purposed will be glory.
Charles Ryrie says that the
glory of God...
is the manifestation of any or all of
His attributes. In other words, it is the displaying of God to the
world. Thus, things which glorify God are things which show the
characteristics of His being to the world.
I like the way Puritan writer
Thomas Watson described God's glory...
Glory is the sparkling of the
Deity... We may see God's glory blazing in the sun and twinkling in the
stars (Ps 19:1)...A sight of God's glory humbles. The stars vanish when
the sun appears.
Doxa has a long history and
originally meant opinion or estimation. In the
doxa took on a meaning of brightness or splendor, a sense not
found in classical Greek. Kittel adds that...
While doxa can denote
“reputation” or “power,” its main use in the NT is shaped by the OT; it
thus becomes a biblical term rather than a Greek
one. While individual nuances may embrace divine honor, splendor, power,
or radiance, what is always expressed is the divine mode of being,
although with varying stress on the element of visible manifestation
(cf. Lk. 2:9; 9:31-32; Acts 22:11; Rev 15:8; 21:23). In the NT again,
giving God glory means acknowledging (Acts 12:23) or extolling (Lk.
2:14) what is already a reality.
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
Aalen adds that doxa is
one of the clearest examples of
change in meaning of a Greek word, when it came under the influence of
the Bible. The basic meaning of doxa in secular Greek is
opinion...This ranges from the opinion about a person or thing that
I am prepared to defend to the valuation placed on me by others, i.e.
Doxa is used in the word
kenodoxia (word study)
in Php 2:3 (note)
which is from kenos (empty) plus doxa (opinion), which means that one
has an empty or groundless opinion of himself.
Glory (doxa) speaks of
a manifestation of God's true nature, presence, or likeness. The basic
idea in the word doxa is that of manifestation. The glory of God is the
manifestation of His Being, His character and His acts. The glory of God
is what He is essentially. Glory, therefore, is the true apprehension of
God or things. The glory of God must mean His unchanging essence.
By way of disclaimer, this
"definition" of doxa makes no attempt to encompass all the
nuances of this profound word, but only to give a sampling of the
various uses. The diligent student would be well rewarded by reviewing
the 167 NT uses (see popups below).
Believers today have the holy privilege of living in such a
(supernatural, inexplicable to natural thinking) way, that others
(believers and unbelievers alike) see this supernatural life which gives
a proper opinion of the unseen, supernatural Father in heaven (Mt 5:16-note
where the verb doxazo is used). As someone has well said a
concern for the glory of God is the ultimate motive for Christian
living. J Gresham Machen has a similar thought remarking that "The
ultimate end of all things that come to pass, including the ultimate end
of the great drama of redemption, is found in the glory of the eternal
God." The very fact that the chief aim of God is to glorify Himself,
makes it all the more incredible that He would choose to use redeemed
sinners to be His lights as windows of His glory in the midst of a
crooked and perverse generation (Php 2:15)!
The NT uses of doxa
can be summarized as follows...
(1) A manifestation of
light radiance, brightness, splendor (Acts 22.11 = Jesus'
post-resurrection appearance to Paul on the Damascus Road); 1Cor
15:40, 41, 43 = Moon, stars, sun, resurrected body
(2) A manifestation of
God’s excellent power glory, majesty (Ro 9.23, Lk 2:9, Acts 7:55, Ro
1:23 = Men rejected the clear testimony of Creation to the glory of God,
cp Ps 19:1, and exchanged it for idolatry!); Ro 3:7, Ro 3:23 (Marvin
Vincent - The glory of personal righteousness; that righteousness
which God judges to be glory; the image of God in man; the glorying or
boasting of righteousness before God; the approbation of God; the state
of future glory. The sense of the phrase here is: they are coming short
of the honor or approbation which God bestows. The point under
discussion is the want of righteousness. Unbelievers, or mere legalists,
do not approve themselves before God by the righteousness which is of
the law. They come short of the approbation which is extended only to
those who are justified by faith.) Ro 6:4, Ro 9:4 (Shekinah), Ro 9:23,
Ro 15:7, 2Co 4:6, 15, Eph 1:12, 14, 17, Ep 3;16, 2Th 1:9 (hell will be
separation from His glory!), He 1:3,
(3) An excellent
reputation honor, glory, praise (Jn 5.41, 44, Lk 14:10, Jn 12:43,
probably 1Cor 11:15, 2Co 6:8, 1Th 2:6);
(4) A state characterized
by honor, power, and remarkable appearance glory, splendor - quality
of splendid, remarkable appearance (Mt 4:8 = kingdoms of the world, cp
Lk 4:6 = the "glory of this earthly domain; Lk 24.26, 1Pe 1:24, Mt 6:29
= speaks of the "glory" of the Creation, Lk 12:27)
(5) Of a person created
in the image of God reflection, glory (1Co 11.7);
(6) Of angelic powers
around God - angelic beings, majesties, dignities (Jude 1:8)
(7) Jesus, first coming
(only see for Who He truly was with eyes of faith) - Lk 2:32, Lk
9:32 (His Transfiguration), Jn 1:14, Jn 2:11, Jn 11:40 (see Him first
for salvation, but also refers to seeing Him in His future glory), 1Cor
(8) Jesus, second coming
(all mankind will see) - Mt 16:27, 24:30, 25:31, Mk 8:38, 10:37 (in
the Messianic kingdom that follows His Second Coming), Mk 13:26, Lk
9:26, Lk 21:27, Titus 2:13, 1Pe 4:13, 5:1,
(9) Used to acknowledge Who He is - Lk 2:14, Lk 17:18 = here a
reflection of heartfelt thanks, Lk 19:38, Jn 9:24, Acts 12:23 = danger
of not giving God the glory!; Ro 4:20, Ro 11:36, Ro 16:27, 2Cor 1:20,
Gal 1:5, Ep 3:21, Php 1:11, Php 2:11, Php 4:20, 1Ti 1:17, 2Ti 4:18, He
13:21, 1Pe 4:11, 2Pe 3:18, Jude 1:25, Re 1:6, 4:9
(10) Humans in transcendent circumstances and transcendent beings
- Moses and Elijah = Lk 9:31. Lxx of Ezek 10:4, cherubim = He 9:5;
angels = Lk 2:9; Rev 18:1.
(11) Christ's present
post-resurrection glory - Lk 24:26, Jn 17:24, Php 3:21, 2Th 2:14,
1Ti 3:16, He 2:7, 9, 1Pe 1:11, 21
Christ's pre-incarnate glory -
Jn 12:41, Jn 17:5, Acts 7:2 (I interpret this as a reference to a
future glorification - Ro 5:2, Ro 8:18 (our glory but mainly seeing
Christ in His glory!), Ro 8:21, Col 1:27, Col 3:4, 2Ti 2:10, He 2:10,
Ro 2:7, 10 (glory of
heaven), 1Co 2:7, 2Cor 4:17
Christ's purpose to glorify His Father - Jn 7:18, Jn 8:50,
Glory of the law, Moses' face - 2Co 3:7, 2Co 3:9, 10, 11,
Ministry of the Spirit - 2Cor 3:8, 2Co 3:9, 10, 11
Glory is their shame - Php 3:19
Crown, of glory - 1Pe 5:4
Gospel, glory of - 2Cor 4:4, 1Ti 1:11
Grace, glory of - Eph 1:6
Riches in glory - Php 4:19
Glorious might - Col 1:11
Inheritance, glorious - Eph 1:18
Purpose of sickness - Jn 11:4
Tribulations for saint's glory - Ep 3:13
Saints purpose to glorify God - 1Cor 10:11, 2Co 8:19, 23
Saints being glorified now - 2Cor 3:18
Father gives glory to the Son - Jn
8:54, Jn 17:22, 2Pe 1:17
used repeatedly in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) to describe the (Shekinah)
glory of God. For example at Mt Sinai
the appearance of the
(LXX = doxa)
of Jehovah was like a consuming fire on the mountain top (Ex 24:17)
The dóxa of
man is human opinion and is shifty, uncertain, often based on error, and
its pursuit for its own safety is unworthy. The true glory of man is the
ideal condition in which God created man. This condition was lost in the
fall and is recovered through Christ and exists as a real fact in the
Divine mind. As Paul writes every believer eagerly awaits his and her
Disciple's Study Bible - The
glory of God is a visible, concentrated manifestation of the nature or
person of God. Often the glory of God is associated
with "shining.'' The emphasis is not upon the "shining,'' or how the
manifestation occurs, but on the sense of awe that it produces in those
who perceive it. When people "see'' the glory of God, they have a
heightened, acute awareness of the presence and power, the majesty and
authority of the holy God. See notes on Ex 16:7,10; 40:34, 35, 36, 37,
38. The cry of "glory to God'' is the equivalent of praying that nothing
will stand in the way of all people seeing how great God is.
Vine - the basic idea in the word doxa,
glory, is that of manifestation. The glory of God is the manifestation
of His Being. His character and His acts. (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine)
The Lord Jehovah reigns;
His throne is built on high,
The garments he assumes
Are light and majesty:
His glories shine with beams so bright,
No mortal eye can bear the sight.
Vincent remarks that...
glory is the expression of the divine attributes collectively. It is the
unfolded fulness of the divine perfections, differing from form of
God (Php 2:6), in that morphe (form) is the immediate, proper,
investiture of the divine essence. Doxa is attached to
deity: morphe is identified with the inmost being of deity. Doxa
is used of various visible displays of divine light and splendor, as Ex.
24:17; Dt. 5:24; Ex 40:34; Nu 14:10; 15:19, 42; Ezek 10:4; 43:4, 5;
1:28; 3:23; Lv 9:23, etc. We come nearer to the sense of the word
doxa in this passage in the story of Moses’ vision of the divine
glory (Ex 33:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; 34:5, 7). (Vincent, M. R.
Word Studies in the New Testament)
The dominant meanings of doxa in classical Greek are notion, opinion,
conjecture, repute. In biblical usage: 1. Recognition, honor,
Philip. 1:11; 1 Pet. 1:7. It is joined with honor, 1Ti 1:17; He 2:7, 9;
2Pet. 1:17. Opposed to dishonor, 1Cor. 11:14, 15; 15:43; 2Cor. 6:8. With
to seek, 1Thess. 2:6; Jn 5:44; 7:18. With to receive, John 5:41, 44.
With to give, Luke 17:18; John 9:24. In the ascriptive phrase glory
be to, Luke 2:14, and ascriptions in the Epistles. Compare Lk 14:10.
2. The glorious appearance which attracts the eye, Matt. 4:8; Luke 4:6;
12:27. Hence parallel with image; form; likeness; appearance, figure,
Ro. 1:23; Ps. 17:15; Num. 12:8.
The glory of God is used of the aggregate of the divine attributes and
coincides with His self-revelation, Ex 33:22; compare face, Ex 33:23.
Hence the idea is prominent in the redemptive revelation (Is 60:3; Ro
6:4; 5:2). It expresses the form in which God reveals Himself in the
economy of salvation (Ro 9:23; 1Tim. 1:11; Ep 1:12). It is the means by
which the redemptive work is carried on; for instance, in calling, 2Pet.
1:3; in raising up Christ and believers with Him to newness of life, Ro
6:4; in imparting strength to believers, Eph 3:16; Col. 1:11; as the
goal of Christian hope, Ro 5:2; 8:18, 21; Titus 2:13. It appears
prominently in the work of Christ — the outraying of the Father’s glory.
(He 1:3), especially in John. See Jn 1:14; 2:11, etc.
NIDNTT writes that doxa...
in the Bible it is a quality belonging to God and is recognized by man
only in response to Him. It is more often translated glory. It suggests
something which radiates from the one who has it, leaving an impression
behind. As such, it is in applicable to relationships between men.
Erdman's Dictionary of the Bible writes that glory is...
Glory is an essential attribute of God, “the Father of glory” (Ep
1:17), whose radiance is displayed at Jesus’ birth (Lk 2:9) and is part
of eschatological hope (Ro 5:2). In return, people are to glorify God
(Ac 12:23; 1Co 10:31)...
Just as in the OT glory referred to salvation, so in the NT it is
revealed in the Messiah’s work of deliverance. In the Synoptic Gospels
Christ shares in glory at the Parousia, when he comes with vindication
and judgment (Mt. 16:27; Mk 8:38). Christ possesses his own glory
through his death and resurrection (Luke 24:26). In the Transfiguration
account (Luke 9:28-36 par.) Jesus’ glory is experienced as theophany.
John presents Jesus as the revelation of God’s glory (John 1:14),
preexistent in Christ (Jn 17:24). His works are signs of the glory of
God (John 2:11), inviting belief (Jn 11:4, 40). The Cross is the
culminating sign, the hour of Christ’s glorification (Jn 12:23; 13:31,
32; cf. Re 5:12, 13). God continues to glorify Christ through the work
of the Spirit (Jn 16:14).
New Unger's Bible Dictionary
adds that glory...
it is the exercise and display of
what constitutes the distinctive excellence of the subject to which it
is spoken; thus, in respect to God, His glory is the manifestation of
His divine attributes and perfections, or such a visible splendor as
indicates the possession and presence of these (Ex. 33:18, 19, 20, 21,
22; 16:7, 10; Jn 1:14; 2:11; 2Pe 1:17; etc.). God’s “glory is the
correlative of His holiness … is that in which holiness
comes to expression. Glory is the expression of holiness, as
beauty is the expression of health.” In respect to man, His glory is
found in the things that reveal His honorable state and character, such
as wisdom, righteousness, superiority to passion, or that outward
magnificence that is expressive of what, in the lower sphere, bespeaks
the high position of its possessor.
M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. The
New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press)
TLNT writes that...
Doxa means a subjective appraisal, an
internal mental judgment, made by an individual or an assembly. But,
beginning with its first usages, doxa means “expectation, what is
thought possible”...by far the most widespread meaning in secular Greek
is “opinion, thought, sentiment"... There are both true and false
opinions, especially among the maxims of the philosophers...and also
illusions produced by the imagination or a miscalculation. This
“opinion” can also be that held by others concerning a person; so doxa
is renown, reputation. Usually this is favorable
Doxa most often translates the
Hebrew Kabod (03519),
from the root kbd, “be heavy,” evokes the idea of weight or that which
confers weightiness (cf. 2Cor 4:17, an eternal weight of glory) and
hence esteem or respect, especially power and wealth. In this secular
meaning, doxa can be translated sometimes “majesty” or “dignity,”
Because Yahweh is the supreme
sovereign, He is described as the “king of glory.” The whole universe is
full of His doxa, that is, the splendor of His majesty. We should
understand this to mean his mighty deeds, his glorious interventions (Ex
14:18; 16:7) both in overturning his adversaries (Ex 15:7) and in saving
His people. In fact, more than once it is said that “the glory of Yahweh
appeared,” conceived sometimes as a manifestation of the deity (Is
40:5), sometimes as an image of Yahweh; it is visible. (Ex 24:17; Dt
5:24), a sparking of light (Ezek 1) that flames out (Is 60:1, 2, 3).
This is how biblical doxa, the manifestation of the presence and
activity of the invisible and transcendent God answers to sense
experience: even though its brilliance cannot be perceived by the eyes
of the flesh (Ezek 33:22; Acts 22:11; Isa. 9.37), it is contemplated by
the spirit. Biblical doxa therefore has a touch of luminescence. (Spicq,
C., & Ernest, J. D. Theological Lexicon of the New Testament. Vol
1:362-368. Peabody, MA.: Hendrickson)
Richards notes that in the Greek world...
Doxa focused attention on the opinion held by others: it
expressed the valuation placed by others on one's actions or
achievements. A high valuation--ie, fame--exalted an individual over
others. It was a goal of the Greeks to be honored and praised by others.
This meaning is completely transformed in the Bible. When the
translators of the Hebrew OT into Greek chose doxa to translate
glory as mere human opinion was transformed into glory as the majesty
associated with God's self-revelation.
In the NT it is the OT concept that is generally reflected. Perhaps the
Greek notion is suggested in a few passages, however, such as that
describing the temptation in which Satan showed Jesus "all the kingdoms
of the world and their glory" (doxa) (Mt 4:8). What men consider
splendor and fame fades into insignificance when compared to the true
glory of God.
The OT demonstrates that the root of God's glory in His essential
nature and in the display of that nature as He acts in the material
universe. His qualities are glorious in themselves (e.g., Eph 1:6; 3:16;
Col 1:11), as is Jesus himself (Jas 2:1). But it is in God's actions and
His works that we discover and are awed by the splendor of the Lord.
The NT speaks of two differing expressions of the divine glory.
(1) One expression is visible, yet is perceived only by the
eyes of faith.
Thus the Incarnation can be described in Jn 1:14. Yet the unbelieving
saw only the carpenter from Nazareth. It was the believing who saw in
His person and in His actions the ultimate unveiling of God (cf. Jn
2:11; 8:50, 51, 52, 53, 54; Heb 1:3).
(2) The Bible also tells of an expression of God's glory in
Jesus that will be experienced by all.
This is an eschatological unveiling; an unmasked demonstration of the
bright and flaming splendor that was dimmed even as Sinai burned. In
that day, God's presence will be known, as His unsheltered holiness
sears every conscience not washed by Jesus' blood (Mt 16:27; 24:30;
25:31; Mk 8:38; 10:37; 13:26; Lk 9:26; 21:27; Col 3:4; 1Th 2:12; 2Th
1:9; Titus 2:13; 1Pe 4:13; 5:1; 2Pe 1:17; Rev 15:8; 21:11, 23). To the
saved in that day the Lord's doxa will be beauty; to the lost,
terror. But all will recognize His essential glory then, and (Php
Throughout the Bible we find commands to glorify God (e.g., 1Ch 16:28;
Ps 34:3; Jer 13:16; Jn 9:24; Rev 14:7).
In one sense we give God glory when we recognize his presence and praise
Him for the qualities his acts unveil (e.g., Rev 4:9-11; 5:12-13).
But there is another NT sense in which we give God glory. Jesus spoke of
his own actions as bringing glory to God (Jn 14:13) and called on his
disciples to bear fruit to the "Father's glory" (Jn 15:8). Expressions
like these occur frequently in the NT (see "glorify," "glorified," and
"glory" in a concordance, noting especially Jn 9:24; 14:13; 15:8; 17:4,
10; Ro 3:7; 1 Co 10:31; 2 Co 1:20; Eph 1:12, 14; 3:21; Php 1:11; Col
1:27). These expressions force us back to our basic concept to discover
a beautiful and wonderful fact:
God's glory is displayed in His acts in our world. Because God is
present in believers today, He is able to display His qualities in our
lives and so to glorify Himself in us. How wonderful that you and I can
be agents of God's grace, displaying in our character and in loving
works of service those Spirit-wrought qualities that God uses to make
Himself known to those around us. (Ibid)
Doxa - 166x in 144v (Note: almost half
by Paul) - Matt 4:8; 6:29; 16:27;
19:28; 24:30; 25:31; Mark 8:38; 10:37; 13:26; Luke 2:9, 14, 32; 4:6;
9:26, 31f; 12:27; 14:10; 17:18; 19:38; 21:27; 24:26; John 1:14; 2:11;
5:41, 44; 7:18; 8:50, 54; 9:24; 11:4, 40; 12:41, 43; 17:5, 22, 24; Acts
7:2, 55; 12:23; 22:11; Rom 1:23; 2:7, 10; 3:7, 23; 4:20; 5:2; 6:4; 8:18,
21; 9:4, 23; 11:36; 15:7; 16:27; 1 Cor 2:7f; 10:31; 11:7, 15; 15:40f,
43; 2 Cor 1:20; 3:7ff, 18; 4:4, 6, 15, 17; 6:8; 8:19, 23; Gal 1:5; Eph
1:6, 12, 14, 17f; 3:13, 16, 21; Phil 1:11; 2:11; 3:19, 21; 4:19f; Col
1:11, 27; 3:4; 1 Thess 2:6, 12, 20; 2 Thess 1:9; 2:14; 1 Tim 1:11, 17;
3:16; 2Tim 2:10; 4:18; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:3; 2:7, 9f; 3:3; 9:5; 13:21;
Jas 2:1; 1 Pet 1:7, 11, 21, 24; 4:11, 13f; 5:1, 4, 10; 2 Pet 1:3, 17;
2:10; 3:18; Jude 1:8, 24f; Rev 1:6; 4:9, 11; 5:12f; 7:12; 11:13; 14:7;
15:8; 16:9; 18:1; 19:1, 7; 21:11, 23f, 26. NAS = approval(2),
brightness(1), glories(1), glorious(5), glory(155), honor(1),
Doxa - 239x in the
- Gen 31:1, 16; 45:13; Ex 15:7, 11; 16:7, 10; 24:16f;
28:2, 40; 29:43; 33:5, 18f, 22; 40:34f; Lev 9:6, 23; Num 12:8; 14:10,
21f; 16:19, 42; 20:6; 23:22; 24:8, 11; 27:20; Deut 5:24; Josh 7:19; 1
Sam 2:8; 4:22; 6:5; 1 Kgs 3:13; 8:11; 1Chr 16:27ff; 22:5; 29:12, 25, 28;
2Chr 1:11f; 2:6; 3:6; 5:13f; 7:1ff; 17:5; 18:1; 26:18; 30:8; 32:27, 33;
Neh 9:5; Esther 1:4; 4:17; 5:1f, 11; 6:3; 10:2; Job 19:9; 29:20; 37:22;
39:20; 40:10; Ps 3:3; 7:5; 8:5; 17:15; 19:1; 21:5; 24:7ff; 26:8; 29:1ff,
9; 30:12; 45:13; 49:14, 16f; 57:5, 8, 11; 62:7; 63:2; 66:2; 68:34; 71:8;
72:19; 73:24; 79:9; 84:11; 85:9; 96:3, 7f; 97:6; 102:15f; 104:31;
106:20; 108:1, 5; 112:3, 9; 113:4; 115:1; 138:5; 145:5, 11f; 149:5, 9;
Prov 3:16, 35; 8:18; 11:16; 14:28; 15:33; 18:11f; 20:3, 29; 21:21; 22:4;
25:2; 26:8, 11; 28:12; 29:23; Eccl 6:2; 10:1; Isa 2:10, 19, 21; 3:8, 18,
20; 4:2, 5; 6:1, 3; 8:7; 10:3, 12, 16; 11:3; 12:2; 14:11; 16:14; 17:3f;
20:5; 21:16; 22:22f, 25; 24:14f; 26:10; 28:1, 4f; 30:18, 27, 30; 33:17;
35:2; 40:5f, 26; 42:8, 12; 43:7; 45:24; 48:11; 52:1, 14; 53:2; 58:8;
60:1f, 13, 19, 21; 61:3; 62:2; 63:12, 14f; 64:11; 66:11f, 18f; Jer 2:11;
13:11, 16, 18, 20; 14:21; 17:12; 23:9; 48:11, 18; Lam 2:11, 15; Ezek
1:28; 3:12, 23; 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18f, 22; 11:22f; 27:7, 10; 39:21; 43:2,
4f; 44:4; Dan 2:37; 4:29ff, 34, 36; 5:18; 7:14; 10:8; 11:20f, 39; 12:13;
Hos 4:7; 9:11; 10:5; Mic 1:15; 5:4; Hab 2:14, 16; Hag 2:3, 7, 9; Zech
2:5, 8; Mal 1:6; 2:2.
Doxa in OT most often used to translate
Hebrew kabod (03519)
which has the basic sense of that which is heavy and figuratively of
that which is worthy, has the "weight of" esteem and honor (eg, a king
1Ki 3:13). E.g., kabod/doxa
referring to men speaks of their reputation. When referring to God
kabod/doxa signifies some aspect of the revelation of God’s character,
Shekinah glory cloud (Ex 16:7, 10, . 24:15, 16, 17, 18,
40:34, 35, Lev 9:3, 6, 23, Nu 14:10, 16:19, 1Ki 8:10, 11). God gave men
a glimpse of His glory (Ex. 33:21, 22, 23; 34:5, 6, 7, 8). OT prophets
had "glimpses" of God's glory (Is 6:1, 2, 3, Ezek 1:28; 3:23; 8:4).
God is, to
his people -Psalms 3:3 Zech 2:5
Christ is, to his people -Isaiah 60:1 Luke 2:32
The gospel ordained to be, to saints -1Cor 2:7
Of the gospel, exceeds that of the law -2Cor 3:9-10
The joy of saints is full of -1Peter 1:8
Is given by God -Psalms 84:11
Is given by Christ -John 17:22
Christ -John 17:22
Is the work of the Holy Spirit -2Cor 3:18
Procured by the death of Christ -Heb 2:10
Accompanies salvation by Christ -2Tim 2:10
Inherited by saints -1Sam 2:8, Ps 73:24, Pr 3:35, Col 3:4, 1Pe 5:10
Saints called to -2Th 2:14, 1Peter 5:10
Saints afore prepared to -Romans 9:23
Enhanced by present afflictions -2Cor 4:17
Present afflictions not worthy to be compared with -Ro 8:18
Of the Church shall be rich and abundant -Isaiah 60:11-13
The bodies of saints shall be raised in -1Cor 15:43, Phil 3:21
Saints shall be, of their ministers -1Thess 2:19-20
Is given by God -Dan 2:37
Passes away -1Peter 1:24
The devil tries to seduce by -Matt 4:8
Of hypocrites turned to shame -Hosea 4:7
Seek not, from man -Mt 6:2, 1Th 2:6
Of the wicked
Is in their shame -Phil 3:19
Ends in destruction -Isaiah 5:14
Is to be revealed
from apó = from + kalúpto = cover,
conceal, English = apocalypse -
see study of
English = apocalypse)
literally means to remove the cover from and so the idea is to remove
that which conceals something. The idea is to cause something to be fully
known by "removing the veil or covering" which then exposes to full view
what was previously hidden. Apokalupto means to make manifest or
reveal a thing previously secret or unknown and is especially applied to
It means to cause something to be
fully known. Note the
which indicates it is God Who will do the revealing.
Apokalupto - 26x in NT - Matt.
3:8; 10:10f, 13, 37f; 22:8; Lk. 3:8; 7:4; 10:7; 12:48; 15:19, 21; 23:15,
41; Jn. 1:27; Acts 13:25, 46; 23:29; 25:11, 25; 26:20, 31; Rom. 1:32;
8:18; 1 Co. 16:4; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:15; 4:9; 5:18; 6:1; Heb. 11:38;
Rev. 3:4; 4:11; 5:2, 4, 9, 12; 16:6
Future glory in context refers to
our future tense salvation (Romans 8:18-25) - I have been saved (from
penalty of sin), I am being saved (from the power of sin - which was
broken when we were saved but is now being "worked out" in the process
of sanctification), I will be saved (from the presence of sin). The
Spirit’s work within us is present tense salvation (sanctification) --
Believers are being saved from the power of sin and becoming righteous
Php 2:13-note). When Jesus returns we will be saved completely, liberated
from the last vestiges of sin which cling so persistently to this old
The believer does not focus on today’s sufferings; he looks forward to
tomorrow’s glory (Ro 8:18 2Cor 4:15-18),letting his uplook change his
outlook. Today’s groaning bondage will be exchanged for tomorrow’s
Those who live only for this life cannot look forward to any resolution
of wrongs or to any comfort for their souls. Their pain, loneliness, and
afflictions serve no divine purpose and bring no divine reward.
Christians, on the other hand, have great hope, not only that their
afflictions eventually will end but that those afflictions actually will
add to their eternal glory. Long before the incarnation of Christ, the
prophet Daniel spoke of believers’ glory as “the brightness of the
expanse of heaven,” and as being “like the stars forever and ever”
This coming glory will not only be revealed TO us, but will actually be
revealed IN us. (NASB translates it "to us" but Young's Literal
translates it "in us"), which is an incredible truth that is paralleled
in 2Th 1:10 referring to Christ's second coming -- "when He comes to be
glorified IN His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who
have believed". This truth is a bit difficult to fully comprehend on
this side of eternity.
MacArthur nicely summarizes our present suffering vs future glory: "As
followers of Christ, our suffering comes from men, whereas our glory
comes from God. Our suffering is earthly, whereas our glory is heavenly.
Our suffering is short, whereas our glory is forever. Our suffering is
trivial, whereas our glory is limitless. Our suffering is in our mortal
and corrupted bodies, whereas our glory will be in our perfected and
Matthew Henry has some pithy comments
writing that "The sufferings of the
saints strike no deeper than the things of time, last no longer than the
present time, are light afflictions, and but for a moment. How vastly
different are the sentence of the word and the sentiment of the world,
concerning the sufferings of this present time! Indeed the whole
creation seems to wait with earnest expectation for the period when the
children of God shall be manifested in the glory prepared for them.
There is an impurity, deformity, and infirmity, which has come upon the
creation by the fall of man. There is an enmity of one creature to
another. And they are used, or abused rather, by men as instruments of
sin. Yet this deplorable state of the creation is in hope. God will
deliver it from thus being held in bondage to man's depravity. The
miseries of the human race, through their own and each other's
wickedness, declare that the world is not always to continue as it is.
Our having received the first-fruits of the Spirit, quickens our
desires, encourages our hopes, and raises our expectations. SIN has
been, and is, the guilty cause of all the suffering that exists in the
creation of God. It has brought on the woes of earth; it has kindled the
flames of hell. As to man, not a tear has been shed, not a groan has
been uttered, not a pang has been felt, in body or mind, that has not
come from SIN. This is not all; SIN is to be looked at as it affects the
glory of God. Of this how fearfully regardless are the bulk of mankind!
Believers have been brought into a state of safety; but their comfort
consists rather in hope than in enjoyment. From this hope they cannot be
turned by the vain expectation of finding satisfaction in the things of
time and sense. We need patience, our way is rough and long; but He that
shall come, will come, though He seems to tarry."
In the light of eternity we should view the cost of suffering with Jesus
Christ now as insignificant in view of the glory that lies ahead for us
(cf. 2Cor 4:17).
Disciple's Study Bible has an
interesting note writing that...
Sin will never have the last word.
God made the earth as a habitation for His people. The presence of sin
brought on decay and frustration of purposes (Ge 3:17, 18, 19). Along with
His people, the earth will be redeemed by the Creator. Paul personified
the elements of nature as looking forward to deliverance the same way
that Christians anticipate our glorified resurrection body. The same
Holy Spirit that brooded over the waters in creation (Ge 1:2) has been
given to Christians as a foretaste and guarantee of the glorious hope
that awaits us. We can live with joy, confident that we have a wonderful
hope awaiting us. That hope includes a new, redeemed world, which will
again pass God's examination as "very good'' (Ge 1:31).
God's eschatological (future) salvation will include the whole created
order. Just as the created order was affected by the advent of human
sin, so it will be by future human redemption. A cosmic liberation from
decay awaits the final, full redemption of the children of God. The
redemption of nature is to be associated with that of believers' bodies.
Three statements underlie the eager expectation of creation: because of
human sin, God subjected the created order to frustration (Ge 3:17-19);
the created order is presently in bondage to decay; and it has been and
yet continues to groan with birth pains. The analogy of travail suggests
the coming to be of something new. Creation is not what it should be due
to human sin. It cannot serve its true function of glorifying God. It
decays and thus goes nowhere. It is temporary rather than eternal. It
suffers pain rather than being the arena of peace. It can look forward
to a new glory when God creates a new earth. (Disciple's