Romans 8:18-28, 38-39
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption [as children], the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The theme to focus on this week is – Disciples need to learn to listen to the Intercessor (Holy Spirit). My intent is to encourage you to “listen more” and to “speak less” in your relationship with God.
- Key verses to focus on: 18, 19, 38-39
- 1:2 – who is the “Spirit” that is involved in the creation?
- Which “Spirit” tore the Temple curtain in two when Jesus died on the cross (Mark 15:38)?
- In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul uses imagery (such as child birth) to explain that God is at work during times of struggle. Have you ever had difficult times when you wondered – “Is God still there?”
- Is it true to say the Holy Spirit gives us “Life and Hope”? How is this possible when at times everything might appear hopeless?
- Read vs. 22,23,26 again – what does the word “groaning” signify?
- What does the word “repent” mean (Mark 1:14-15)?
- It is good news to know that the Holy Spirit is hard at work within us when life is a struggle and times are hard. Do you think living “close to God” takes the pain and struggle out of life?
- Have you ever had a time in your life when you did not know what to pray for? What were you going through at that time?
- What does the word “Intercedes” mean?
- Do you find the idea that prayer could simply be the words “God
help me…” useful? Why?
Focus for the Week
Practice the skill of “listening”; find a quiet place to sit, breathe slowly and deeply. If your thoughts are “noisy” in your head, try not to focus on them, instead focus on the rhythm of your breathing and you will notice that your thoughts will begin to subside. Keep your focus on the rhythm of your breathing, listen to the sounds around you, and “Be still”. Listen – and you might be surprised what you hear!