Romans 8:18-30 – The Biography of Me


In John 16:13 Jesus told His disciples that “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Therefore, we know as the third person of the trinity the Holy Spirit will guide us in the same direction as does the Father and the Son:

  • Into repentance
  • Into think little of self and much of Jesus
  • Into truth
  • Into love
  • Into holiness
  • Into usefulness

Most importantly, the Holy Spirit will continually bring us to an intimate, joyful relationship with God, whereby our response to Him is by speaking to Him calling Him (Abba, Father) translated Daddy! But what about suffering?

Vs. 18-22 The hills are alive with the sound of groans

Vs. 18 This verse is the theme for the next 9 verses (through verse 26) that the glory that awaits is greater than anything suffering we will ever experience here on this earth. Paul’s observation is that the intensity of our suffering is nothing when compared to the intensity of our coming glory. The glory that Paul speaks of is not a glory that is going to be revealed to us but rather one that will be revealed IN US! This glory is not a “spectator sport” we are going to experience it personally. This section on suffering is best understood by the  three groans of: Creation, Believers, and the Holy Spirit.

A. Vs. 18-22 Creation Groans: When God finished His creation in Genesis 1:31 He said it was good, but today we are told that creation itself is groaning for the good old days when things were perfect. Paul uses the phrase “earnest expectation” and in the Greek that word describes someone stretching out in expectation, standing on its tippy toe. Creation is waiting for what will happen to us believers because they are linked to us in the fall. Someone has well said that it was mankind’s fall that put thorns on Roses! Creation is under the “bondage of corruption” in scientific terms it is known as the “2nd Law of thermodynamics” which says that everything is decaying, running down instead of evolving and speeding up. In anticipation of that day nature groans in the anticipation that it will be liberated from the curse we put it under. If as Julie Andrews piped in the Sound of Music, “The Hills are alive with the sound of musicthen they are at best singing in a minor key. Isa. 11:6-9 describes this redemption of creation as being a time when; “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.” “Creation is not undergoing death pangs . .  but birth pangs.” Maybe it isn’t a bad idea to hug a tree and tell them you are sorry for the condition they are in.

Vs. 23-25a From groans to glory

B. Vs. 23-25a Believers Groan: Next Paul says our groaning is because as Christians we have tasted the first fruits of glory that is to come and we long for more. The final words in the Bible echo this as John hears Jesus proclaim that He is coming quickly and responds enthusiastically “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Though our spirits are redeemed we too are groaning as we await the redemption of our bodies. Every groan and grunt ought to be a reminder that glory awaits us!  We are in a waiting pattern anxiously awaiting what “for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” Titus 2:13.

  • Faith looks backward and upward; Hope looks onward
  • Faith is concerned with Him who promises, Hope is occupied with the good things promised.
  • Faith accepts, Hope expects
  • Faith appropriates, Hope anticipates.

Vs. 25b-30 Groans for our good and God’s glory

C. Vs. 25b-30 The Holy Spirit Groans: Today it is the Holy Spirit who intercedes through our groanings that we may live life in His power through our sufferings. God has two purposes for our suffering:

  • Our good
  • His glory

We have the assurance that His plan will succeed in both areas! While watching that T.V. commercial for Direct TV that says, “Don’t just watch TV direct TV”, I realized that a lot of the time that could be said of our prayer lives.  Prayer isn’t to direct God; it is to be directed by God! As such we don’t have to explain the situation and tell Him what to do. The Holy Spirit’s intercession is perfect as He searches the groans of our heart and interprets what our minds and words cannot express, articulating and guiding our prayers according to the will of God.

Vs. 28 This verse doesn’t tell us that everything that happens to us is good. What it says that every situation whether good or bad, will eventually work together for good, if you know Gods love. There is no incident or circumstance no matter how slight that is without purpose or meaning.  Paul doesn’t say “most things, some things” work together for good but “ALL Things”!  God does not begin a work in our lives to abandon it in the midst of our present suffering.  What appears to be a thousand jumbled up movie scripts dropped together from 1,000 feet of our life’s experiences is in reality a divinely coordinated novel, brilliantly written with every moment fitting together perfectly. 

Vs. 29-30 In these two verses Paul identifies five ways in which God is writing the novel of our lives. First it is important that as we read these verses that we understand the context. He is not in this chapter dealing with “election” which deals with explaining why some people believe in Christ and others don’t he will take up that question in chapter 9. All Paul is doing in these two verses is explaining what God has already done to bring us to faith.

  1. Vs. 29a Foreknew: Read this carefully as it says, “those WHOM He foreknew” and not “those WHICH He foreknew”. Many folks miss read this and think that this is about God looking down the corridor of time and seeing whom would believe in Jesus and then choosing based upon that. But what Paul writes is concerned with our individual specific existence as believers and that among all those who have ever been believers on earth God knew each and every one of them. You’re not an accident, you haven’t flown under God’s watchful radar. He has known all about you friend. Think of the uniqueness of each and every believer brought about at human conception! Add into that our geographical upbringing, education, life experiences, cultural dynamics etc. Yet we are told that God knows each of us through all of human history. Think of the mind of God and His vastness in His ability to know all about each and every believer, all of this before time began. Suddenly I feel very small, yet very significant at the same time! In Matthew 10:29 Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your father’s will.”
  2. Vs. 29b Predestined: As soon as people read this word they think, “You mean God pre-determines who will go to hell and who will go to heaven?” But the context in this verse explains what God is pre-determining us too is, “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” God’s predestination has nothing to do with going to hell and everything to do with what He has pre-determined the goal of every believer to be conformed into, namely the character of Jesus. Everything that happens to us is focused on that purpose. I’m afraid that far too many Christians think that God’s primary concern for us is our “happiness”, but the truth is that His primary concern for us in our “holiness”. And because of this God knows that our character, our wholeness will never be developed apart from trials. It is what we cooperate with His plan for our wholeness that we will experience our happiness.    
  3. Vs. 30a Called: Up to this point in these verses we have been speaking about God’s mind and purpose but here we have become involved as we respond. In John 6:39 Jesus said, “all He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up at the last day.” The Holy Spirit draws us and wins us, and our heart begins to be open to Jesus. This is what Paul will develop more in the 9th chapter with regards to our free will and God drawing us into a relationship. We don’t “Find God”, we just stop running from Him and the moment we do we realize that He was calling us along.   
  4. Vs. 30b Justified: Remember that those that are justified are declared of value or worth in God’s sight. All of this is without merit or works of our own. The truth is our calling by God and our response to it is what has now declared us of value and worth. You get the sense in reading Paul’s words that there is a progression here from eternity where God foreknew us to His plan for us to be in the image of His Son, calling us, then declaring us of worth which leads to our eternity and glorification.   
  5. Vs. 30c Glorified: Finally, are told that God doesn’t declare us of value and worth apart from our glorification. Paul writes this in such a way that suggests it has already happened. Now we know as Philip. 1:6 says “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” but here it is declared as already being completed. By declaring it as finished reveals that none of God’s children are lost in the process of sanctification. The same numbered called are the same number he declared of worth, and they are the same number that will be glorified. Not a one of us will be lost dear ones. At times it may seem as you will never finish your race, but you will in spite of your present suffering and oft repeated failures because what God has started before time began will be completed in eternity and God is about doing whatever it takes to get us there.