«For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us» (Romans 8:18).
PAUL CONTRASTS the present with the future: afflictions today with glory tomorrow, the temporal before the eternal. Truthfully, it is an incomparable and un-contrastable contrast. The apostle had already suffered much, and much more suffering awaited him for the cause of the gospel until he was martyred.
Likewise, by experience and by revelation, he knows for certain and assures us that afflictions are light and passing, while glory is infinite and eternal. It is as if Paul had an old scale with two plates: in one of them he places present suffering and in the other eternal glory.
Suffering is caused by sin. We suffer in a direct way when we reap what we sow, or indirectly because of the existence of evil in the world. We suffer because of illness, disappointment, lack of employment, lack of resources, injustice, frustrations, loneliness, guilt, hate, and all other sorrows of the present time.
We can also suffer because of the gospel, as we live out and share our faith, and as we give testimony to the truth and the Lord. Even amid so much pain, we need to remember that it is temporary and has a limit.
God’s glory is the consequence of faith. It is limitless and eternal. But, is it only available during eternity? Can we have a foretaste of that glory on this earth? It is possible to have some present glory to contrast with the many afflictions. If all our present days are filled with affliction, compared to the never-ending days of glory, it is still worth it. The amount and severity of our present suffering does not matter—it is insignificant compared to eternal glory. However, along with hope for tomorrow I need strength for today.
Ihe glory that will soon be revealed includes the brilliant splendor of Christ’s return. The living believers will be transformed, and the believers that are resting will be resurrected, to receive God’s glory and life forever. The unjust that are living will not be able to withstand the splendor of Jesus’s return. The righteous are translated to heaven and then returned to earth, and will share in God’s glory for eternity.
Experiencing the peace, forgiveness, comfort, and hope, and seeing God’s miracles as lives are changed in the fulfillment of the mission, we have a foretaste of the coming glory.
Romans 8:19 says that we must wait for this manifestation with «earnest expectation,» in other words, with our heads held high, certain, confident, faithful, and committed because from His serene eternity God is in control of all things.