October 2, 2019
Thank you for your interest in praying for our prodigals and for revival. We pray because we need God to work within all of us. Whether we are newborn Christians or mature believers we all need to experience the internal work of God in our lives.
This internal work is the reality of daily, practical sanctification. The Holy Spirit lives within us and He quietly, persistently, and purposefully brings us in line with God’s perfect will. We have already noticed in Romans eight how that He enables us to have victory over sin and bears witness to who we are. He also guarantees a future inheritance, thus infusing us with solid, undeniable hope.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Rom.8:18-25).
In these verses, Paul is not making light of his suffering or ours, rather, he is saying that “the suffering of this present time” pales in comparison to the glory which is to come. This was true in Paul’s day and it is true today. We suffer because we live in a sin-broken world that is literally groaning under the curse. There is a collective moaning throughout creation because of sin's infiltration. Christians also suffer because we are inseparably linked to the One who was known as a “Man of sorrows…acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). Our Lord Jesus Christ was hated and despised in this world. As we seek to live in the power of the Spirit as He did, we can expect suffering to be a regular part of our experience.
But this groaning we experience is tempered with a hope deep within us because we have “the first fruits of the Spirit.” As the first gathering of the crop is an indication of a full harvest to come, the Spirit within us is a guarantee of future promised glory. And Paul says that this glory is worth longing over. It is worth suffering for. Nothing in the world can compete with it; no suffering can overshadow it.
Our suffering is real, difficult, and downright exhausting, but it is temporary. Soon, we will see the eternal glory. Soon, the whole of creation will be set free. Soon, our bodies will be redeemed. As we endure in our trials, it is this hope that will help stabilize and sustain us.
Recently, I read an article by a Christian news reporter, Nick Pitts, who wrote a little about our brothers and sisters in Iran. He wrote:
“For the last few years, researchers have credited the underground church in Iran as the fastest-growing Christian church in the world…the Spirit of God is at work in Iran...the 9th most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian…In this country of 83 million, there are an estimated 300,000 practicing Christians…Iran’s penal code prescribes the ‘death sentence for proselytizing and attempts by non-Muslims to convert Muslims.’ But you cannot silence that which you love even in the face of death. This summer, Iranian security services raided the homes of 8 Iranian converts to Christianity. Since 2010, approximately 550 Christians have been arrested because of their religious beliefs and activities.”
We are all groaning, and thankfully God is working, as we are waiting for our redemption to be fully complete. Be patient, the Lord’s coming is near! Thanks for praying.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel