In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.Romans 8:17-18
“. . . if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering”.
- Glory is good; but why suffering?
- And why does Paul put glory and suffering together?
Why mention suffering to these new Roman Christians? If we are trying to encourage new Christians and build them up in their faith most of us would not mention suffering. But Paul does; he was a realist. It is startling to read the New Testament looking for suffering. It is found so frequently but not preached much. Our preachers like to skip those bits. Most of the prominent NT leaders encountered suffering. For the Roman Christians to whom Paul is writing, suffering was a very real possibility. They were right at the centre of Rome and its persecution of Christians. Paul couldn’t talk about the glories of our future inheritance without showing us the way to that glory is via the cross.
What is this glory revealed in us? It may be the honour for well doing, the expression of Christ’s glory or the honour that comes from being part of a child of God. Glory might be seen as the worth to God or approval from God. It might be the dignity or honour given to us by God. The only way God can share the glory with us – the brightness, the splendour – is by His grace and His power working within us.
The original word for glory in Greek is “doxa” [δόξα] which contains the notion of heaviness, weight and substance. Paul is comparing glory and sufferings and says there is no comparison between the two. He does it in a very interesting way. He uses the word ἄξιος which is the adjective that comes from the verb ἄγω which means to lead; to drive, (reflexively) or (figuratively) to induce, bring (forth), carry, keep or “cause to move”. Figuratively speaking it means “to tip the scales” in moving something. Glory sure does tip the scales in its heaviness and it is importance. It means when compared with suffering there is no comparison. Like comparing something of significant weight with a feather. Suffering is featherweight by comparison when compared with glory.
Oh yes, suffering is a heavy burden. Nobody questions that. The intensity of our sufferings is as nothing compared with the weightiness of the glory to come. Glory has grandeur and significance and WEIGHT. Suffering is featherweight and nothing by comparison. Glory tips the scales! Don’t even considering the light and momentary afflictions as anything. The suffering is NOW; the glory is LATER. Don’t even ponder the suffering for a moment in comparison to the glory to come. Remember too these words are being said to the Christians in Rome. You don’t need me to tell you what was going on there under Nero, Diocletian and others. The recipients of this letter knew all about suffering. Paul puts it in context for them.
The same is true today in Africa, Asia the Middle East etc.
Christians are like tea; their strength is drawn out by hot water.Anon
There is a price to pay for speaking the truth. There is a bigger price for living a lie.Anon