The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 192 of 207
Index | Zoom
Suffering can largely be avoided by our hiding our light under a bushel. It was "to
him that overcometh" (and this included suffering) that the promise was made that "he
should sit with Me in My throne" (Rev. 3: 21). If we died with Christ we shall live with
Him, but if we suffer (endure) we shall reign with Him (II Tim. 2: 12). The latter is
conditional and we have no right to ignore the condition laid down by God. "Joint-heirs
with Christ" is parallel to being on the throne (reigning) with Him in glory, but
faithfulness and suffering is the necessary prelude. There is future glory that will be true
of all the redeemed and this the Apostle now proceeds to expound; but there is also the
added glory of the overcomer for "one star differeth from another in glory" (I.Cor.xv.41).
He goes on to say:
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will
be revealed in us" (8: 18, N.I.V.).
A few years previously Paul had written to the Corinthian church "our light affliction,
which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of
glory" (II Cor. 4: 17). The suffering and the future glory are beyond comparison, but in
our experience this is only true "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" (II Cor. 4: 18). If we look at the trials and suffering we
may well be overwhelmed, but if we "look unto Jesus" (Heb. 12: 2) the present with all
its testing fades away into insignificance; it is not worthy to be compared with the future
glory in resurrection.
Not only does this glorious hope affect the believer; it extends to the whole creation:
"The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the
creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the One
Who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to
decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" (8: 19-21,
The whole universe has become affected by sin and failing. First of all with the fall of
Satan and the angels that fell with him; then with Adam's failure and its effect upon the
whole of mankind. Not only this but the earth itself was cursed for man's sake and still
bears evidences of that curse as everyone knows who works with the soil. No wonder
the Preacher declared that all was subjected to vanity (Eccles. 1: 2), and the book of
Ecclesiastes is a divine commentary on this. Emptiness, frustration, bondage now reigns
over the earth. But the glorious redemptive work of the last Adam, reaches out to the
whole universe and will at last break and banish this bondage so that it may realize the
goal for which it was brought into being.
Now it groans and travails, yet with eager expectation looking for its release which
will take place when the sons of God are manifested and this manifestation is bound up
with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and great glory. Then the "desert shall
blossom as the rose" and the beauty of the primal creation be restored, finding its