Intro: This week we continue our Advent Journey as we celebrate the Love of God—Jesus [God is Salvation]—who came down from heaven to save us. To love God in response to his self-revelation and this act of Love is to seek him for salvation, as well as learn how to live according to his plan. He is the Architect of our destinies and the Designer of our souls and the sooner humanity begins to understand that reality, the better off all of creation will be. God searches our hearts; the Lord is constantly watching everyone, and he gives strength to those who faithfully love and obey him (2 Chr. 16:9). God already knows those who belong to him, but someday soon the whole world will have the revelation of God’s sons and daughters of righteousness. Sin has no power over God’s children. Those who have been born into God’s family reflect his righteousness and do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them (1 John 3:9). Remember, Immanuel—God with us.
In our passage today, the Apostle Paul speaks about God’s sons and daughters who have been awaken by the Spirit and the destiny awaiting them. Sin robbed humanity, but now believers are being made holy by the Spirit and every aspect of our lives works toward the goal of growing us up into Christ. So, allow the Spirit to affirm you and be convinced of God’s extravagant love for you. He has lovingly put everything into motion in order to bring believers back into the wholeness of his righteousness—Shalom. Thank you, Father! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Holy Spirit!
Romans 8:18-30 A Glorious Destiny
18 I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory [radiant beauty] that is about to be unveiled within us. 19 The entire universe is standing on tiptoe [intense anticipation], yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters!
20 For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility [chaos/frustration] resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, 21 all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children. 22 To this day we are aware of the universal agony and groaning of creation, as if it were in the contractions of labor for childbirth.
23 And it’s not just creation. We who have already experienced the firstfruits of the Spirit [awakening of the Spirit] also inwardly groan as we passionately long to experience our full status as God’s sons and daughters—including our physical bodies being transformed. 24 For this is the hope of our salvation. But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? 25 So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.
26 And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs [groanings] too deep for words.
27 God, the searcher of the heart, knows fully our longings, yet he also understands the desires of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit passionately pleads before God for us, his holy ones, in perfect harmony with God’s plan and our destiny.
28 So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose. 29 For he knew all about us before we were born and he destined us [marked us] from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like him.
30 Having determined our destiny ahead of time, he called us to himself and transferred his perfect righteousness to everyone he called. And those who possess his perfect righteousness he co-glorified with his Son!
Prayer: Lord, bring your sons and daughters of Love into perfect harmony with your Spirit and cause us to be made holy in your hands. Reveal in me the markings of your love and righteousness. In Jesus’ name.