“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” – Romans 8:18-19 (NASB)
We considered briefly verse 18 of this passage yesterday. But truly, there’s so much more in the way of promises to rejoice in. The BIG promise is that whatever difficulty, whatever conflict, whatever treatment we receive in our present lives because we have boldly spoken and stood for Jesus Christ and God our Father, it will never ever compare to the reward of glory that we will receive. We’re assured all will be okay and all wrongs will be made right. Now, we have a hope that will not let us down and a promise that one day it’ll be revealed in us. We’ll have what’s far beyond the pain heaped on us in this life. The suffering therefore doesn’t knock us down. Who’s the source and cause of our suffering? Isn’t it other people who do not by faith believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord? But our glory comes from God and there’s no comparison. Our suffering is of this world and our glory is of heaven. Our suffering is short and temporary, our glory is forever. What we suffer is light while our glory is substantial. Our glory promises total perfection of our personhood.
“And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” – Revelation 21:23-24 (NASB)
The past few days we have been sort of looking toward Heaven. We considered in part the question, “What is Heaven?” It’s God’s abode, where He is with believers and Old Testament saint. Yesterday, the question “Where is Heaven” was answered by saying “It is Up” because that is how the Bible speaks of it and of those who come and go to heaven. Did you ever hear the saying “He’s so heavenly minded he’s no earthly good?” Is that still true or might we today say it in reverse? Today we ask “What is Heaven like?” Not easy to answer but we have glimpses. Revelation 3:12 says there’s a temple in heaven that the saints never leave, Revelation 7:15 for it is immense, infinite, eternal and God Himself is its Light,. John sees a vision of the New Jerusalem descend out of Heaven He sees the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. What kind of temple is it that God in eternal heaven spreads over all His people? It is His Presence which is why the saints – that will be faith believers – will never leave. For that, Let’s Imagine and rejoice with thanksgiving!
“we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 1b-2 (NASB)
As we read yesterday, we have a relationship with God based on objective peace. We were brought into this relationship of peace through our Lord Jesus Christ and by no self-effort or work. And now, “through whom [that is Christ] also we have obtained our introduction by faith.” Again, to be clear, our introduction, our access, to grace is by faith; and it’s through Christ alone. Everything is because of Him. This truth is rich, it has boundaries which are untouchable and unreachable. “Through whom” ⸺ Jesus Christ, ⸺ we have peace with God and through Him we stand in grace. It’s because of Him. Peace with God is a first link and standing in grace is a second link to our security in Christ. The key thought is that the intercession of Christ brings all this to us all. Through Christ “we have obtained our introduction,” or literally, obtained our access (see NKJV). The word “access,” here is translated in the NASB by the word ‘introduction,’ which in Greek means access, entrée. It is a word of epic importance. It’s a staggering word. Through Christ alone we have access by faith into God’s realm where grace overflows.
“I will hear what God the LORD will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land.” – Psalm 85:8-9 (NASB)
God has many things to tell us each day and He has several ways of speaking to us. We are so glad for the way He speaks to us when we read the Bible or hear someone teach us from it. Sometimes He speaks to us by reminding us of something we have read earlier in the Bible, maybe years ago. We know that He can also speak through our consciences through the Holy Spirit who lives within us. Our verse reminds us of what happens in our hearts when we become conscious that God is speaking to us. When we recognize God’s voice speaking to us and we receive what He tells us in an obedient manner we sense His peace within. How wonderful to know it is the voice of God speaking to us. The peace ultimately comes in fullness in the Messiah’s kingdom. In Ezekiel 10-11 we can read about the time that the glory of God departed from Israel because of their apostasy and refusal to believe and obey God’s word. His promises were delayed until the end of time when the glory will return. Listen today for God’s voice from His Word. Listen and learn.
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,” – 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NASB)
If you ever feel burdened down because of your witness and faith in God, this is a passage for you. Within a broader context, we learn from the Apostle Paul that he experienced many great and difficult circumstance as he carried about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s add two more verses (8-9) from earlier in this chapter where Paul details the tough times he had. “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” And yet he describes these as ‘momentary’ and ‘light afflictions.’ How can he say this? The Greek words for “light” mean “a weightless trifle” and “affliction” refers to intense pressure. From a human perspective, Paul’s own testimony lists a seemingly unbearable litany of sufferings and persecutions he endured throughout his life. The Greek word for “weight” refers to a heavy mass. For Paul, declares the future glory he would experience with the Lord far outweighed any suffering he experienced in this world. This is a promise from God. And a promise we can depend on to help us walk according to our calling in Christ.
“For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,” – Philippians 3:3 (NASB)
Our verse selected today is straightforward and direct. It pulls no punches presenting truth. But first, let’s understand the first phrase. When God commanded of Abraham to perform circumcision on every male child on the eighth day after birth, it was to be established as a covenant sign. The practice wasn’t foreign in the culture of that time but it was given by God with special religious significance. Physical circumcision identified a male as belonging to the physical and ethnic lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). Christians are not commanded to abide by the physical act. But it is a spiritual characteristic of a person whose wages of sin has been forgiven and removed. We find three proofs of a true believer. First: “worship in the Spirit of God” means we render inner and respectful spiritual service with our spirit as one with the Spirit of God. Second: “glory in Christ Jesus” means⸺to boast with exultant joy⸺giving all the credit for all that we are to Christ Jesus. Third: “no confidence in the flesh” references our unredeemed humanness, ability, and achievements apart from God. It’s us trying to prove ourselves good enough for God’s approval.
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” – 1 Chronicles 16:23-24 (NASB)
Today’s passage is found in 1 Chronicles and was ordered by David to become part of the dedication of the newly refurbished Tent of Meeting or also known as the Tabernacle during the 40 years of Israel’s wandering in the dessert. Since the settlement and partition of the Promised Land to the 12 tribes of Jacob the Ark of God (also known as the Ark of the Covenant) had been kept safe in various places. David brought the Ark into Jerusalem which would become the site of Solomon’s temple. This hymn of thanksgiving is actually a compilation of passages from other psalms, which suggests the priority of those psalms for worship and thanksgiving. David, an experienced song writer must have excerpted parts from his earlier poetry and woven them together into this beautiful piece. The portion from verses 7-22 are from Psalm 105:1-6 where the psalmist began with a call to praise and rejoice because of the Lord’s many wonderful acts and His holy name. His name means His attributes that are revealed to us. Like Israel all who believe should depend on the Lord (look and seek His face), remembering His miraculous works.
Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“O sun, stand still at Gibeon,
And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Joshua 10:12-13 (NASB)
Today, for those living north of the equator, this is the day with the longest span of daylight. It is so by design. However, there was a longer day. Joshua, leading the armies of Israel according to God’s sovereign and holy command, was acting according to what the LORD God promised. “I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.” (Joshua 10:8) Joshua needed and prayed for more time to fully rout the enemy. To do justice to our passage, it’s best accepted as an outright, monumental miracle. Joshua, moved by the Lord’s will, commanded the sun to delay. Some say it was an eclipse hid the sun, or a local refraction of the sun’s rays, or it only seemed to Joshua’s men that the sun and moon stopped as God helped them accomplish in one literal 24-hour day what would’ve take longer. However, such ideas fail to do justice to this passage and needlessly question God’s power as Creator. The sun does not move but the earth revolves so it appear to move, God who created all things as they are, could also stop the earth’s rotation and the sun would appear stop.
“The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.” – Genesis 39:2-3 (NASB)
Within the story of Joseph, the son of Israel we find many promises from God. A favored son of Jacob, Joseph was treated badly and sold into slavery by his 10 older brothers. If all that Joseph had was his famous brightly colored coat, he would have been ruined when his brothers took it from him and sold him into slavery. But even then Joseph had character and when Joseph lost his coat, he didn’t lose his character. When finding himself a slave to an Egyptian, we would understand a measure of despondency. We’d not be surprised if Joseph refused to become involved in the world around him, protesting Egypt’s paganism, and resenting Potiphar’s authority. This approach, though, would not have provided him an opportunity show God’s mercy and grace. When God’s blessing is on a life, it will be apparent—and sometimes, as we see with Potiphar, even pagans can’t help but notice. Let’s learn to live with like awareness that every matter in our lives, every moment we’re given, and every move we make, and every word we speak is an opportunity to bring glory and praise to God.
“Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” – Hebrews 3:5-6 (ESV)
There are many pictures in the Bible to represent our relation to our God and also to His Son our Savior. The phrase “we are His house” uses the word ‘house’ in a way similar to ruling aristocratic houses. A close example: Queen Elizabeth II is in the line of The House of Windsor. Our verse today paints a mental picture of a household – of a family. It says that we are God’s house. This doesn’t mean a physical building. It includes the people who have been born spiritually into God’s family. It is also a picture of a household in which a father placed his son in charge of things. We are God’s house, adopted as full sons and daughters into His family, and His Son Jesus Christ is in charge. Let’s not forget that Jesus is watching over us, praying for us, mindful of our needs and meeting our needs each day. This is the way it really is, let’s rejoice in the knowledge that we are a part of this family and this household today. Let’s hold firmly to our confidence in that hope of the glory of God.