Romans 8:16-20

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

March 10, 1999


We’ve seen Paul talk about the frustration of trying to live the right way. And as he tries to live under the power of his own flesh, he ultimately cries out:

(Rom 7:24 KJV) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

But as we’ve seen, the answer is not to be living under in the power of our own flesh, but to learn to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Rom 8:13 KJV) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

beareth witness withsummartureo – to bear witness with, bear joint witness

Man is made up of three parts: Body, soul, and spirit. The soul seems to be made up of the mind and the emotions. The spirit is that part of you that has the ability to relate to God. Our spirit affects our soul and our body, but is something different. It’s very hard to tell them apart at times:

(Heb 4:12 KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


The work of the Holy Spirit – assurance.

There is an inner witness that comes from the Spirit that we are God’s children. The difficult thing is recognizing it. It’s not the emotions, because that is the soul. We aren’t supposed to "feel" like we’re God’s children. The witness isn’t in our mind, it’s not about rationalizing that I’m a child of God. But the witness is that both our spirit and God’s spirit puts inside of us

1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

God doesn’t want you to go through your life wondering if you’re His child or not. He wants you to know for sure. Give in to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to be showing you who you belong to.

:17 And if children, then heirs

heirskleronomos – one who receives by lot, an heir; in Messianic usage, one who receives his allotted possession by right of sonship

:17 heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ

As having been adopted into the family, we are heirs of our Father, and co-heirs with the Son.


Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate. The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world. As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days, his fears were confirmed, the young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed, old man. As he walked to the door, the master- pieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hands. He introduced himself to the man by saying, "I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you." As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had told everyone of his, not to mention his father's, love of fine art. "I am an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of art. His task completed, the old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received. The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation, that with the collector's passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the day he had received the greatest gift. The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would hope to claim, "I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $100?," he asked. Minutes passed, and no one spoke. From the back of the room came a voice, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son." "Let's forget about it and move on to the good stuff," more voices echoed in agreement. "No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "Now, who will take the son?" Finally, a neighbor of the old man spoke. "Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it." "I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once, going twice, gone." The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get on with it and we can bid on the real treasures!" The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean, it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of some old guy's son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art here! I demand that you explain what is going on!" The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son...gets it all."

We will share in all that belongs to God. It comes through Jesus.

:17 if so be that we suffer with him

if so beeiper – if indeed, since, if after all

Is this the "catch"? I don’t think Paul is just talking about the mystical sense of us being "baptized into His death". He goes on in the next verse to compare our every day sufferings with the eternal glory up ahead.


Suffering is part of being a believer.

Some people get the mistaken idea that a Christian is not supposed to experience pain. I’m afraid that just the opposite is true.

(Phil 1:27-30 KJV) Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; {28} And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. {29} For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; {30} Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Paul considered that part of knowing Jesus was being a part of suffering:

(Phil 3:10 KJV) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;


A beekeeper once told F.B. Meyer how some of the young bees are nurtured to ensure their healthy development. The queen lays each egg in a six-sided cell which is filled with enough pollen and honey to feed upon until it reaches a certain stage of maturity. The top is then sealed with a capsule of wax.

When the occupant has exhausted its supply of nourishment, the time has come for the tiny creature to be released from its confinement. But what wrestling and straining it endures to get through that wax seal. The opening is so narrow that in the agony of exit, the bee rubs off the membrane that encases its wings. Thus, when it finally does emerge, it is able to fly! The man telling F.B. Meyer the story said that one time a moth got into the hive and devoured the wax capsules. As a result, the young bees crawled out without any effort or trouble, but they couldn't fly. Soon the mature insects, seeing the pitiful, unproductive state of new arrivals, instinctively proceeded to sting them to death.

Meyer drew from this information a spiritual application. He asks, "Are you congratulating yourself on having an easy time in life with no hardships or difficulties to bear? Then beware, lest you lose your 'wing power' like the handicapped bees, and perish miserably in the dust of defeat."

:17 that we may be also glorified together.

Suffering isn’t the end of life. There will be a time of glory.

:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

reckonlogizomai – to reckon, count, compute, or calculate. This word deals with reality. If I "logizomai" or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.

present time – or, "this immediate, current portion of time"

worthyaxios – weighing, having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much

If you were to put the weight of the suffering we go through day to day, and lay it on a scale opposite the glory that we’re about to receive, there’s no comparison. The glory in the future far outweighs the current suffering.

It’s very similar to what a woman goes through in childbirth. There is great suffering during labor and delivery. But for the most part, the pain is forgotten when the mother sees and holds her child.


Keep your eyes on the invisible.

This isn’t always an easy thing to do, but Paul is challenging us to compare the suffering we’re going through now with the kinds of things that we face in heaven.

(2 Cor 4:16-18 KJV) For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. {17} For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; {18} While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

There will be a time when we’ll see that it was all worth it.

(Mat 25:14-21 KJV) For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. {15} And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. {16} Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. {17} And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. {18} But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. {19} After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. {20} And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. {21} His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

We’ll enter into the joy of our Lord.

We may not see the glory yet, but it’s coming. Some of the prophets have had glimpses.

(Rev 21:1-5 KJV) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. {2} And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. {3} And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. {4} And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. {5} And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

You can read on in Rev. 21 to get more of a physical description of heaven. But the best thing of all is that God will be there. We’ll be with Him.

:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

earnest expectationapokaradokia – anxious and persistent expectation

creature – better, "creation", the thing created.

manifestationapokalupsis – laying bear, making naked; a disclosure of truth; manifestation, appearance

waitethapekdechomai ("from" + "out of" (use of two prepositions intensifies) + "to receive") – assiduously and patiently waiting for

Creation is patiently waiting for the unveiling of the sons of God, when we’ll receive our glory (described in verse 18). They can hardly wait.

:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

vanitymataiotes – what is devoid of truth and appropriateness; perverseness, depravity; frailty

made subject tohupotasso – to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection; to submit to one's control (this is the word "submit").

willinglyhekon – unforced, voluntary, willing; of one's own will; of one's own accord

Depravity came upon all creation as a result of man’s sin:

(Gen 3:14-19 KJV) And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: {15} And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. {16} Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. {17} And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; {18} Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; {19} In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

The curse that came from sin affected all of creation.

All of creation wasn’t exactly overjoyed with the fact that Adam’s sin brought "vanity" or "futility" to all of creation.


Suffering is a result of sin.

There are people who have a hard time with the subject of suffering. "How could a loving God allow people to suffer?" they ask. The problem isn’t with God, the problem comes from a misunderstanding of the origin of suffering.

Suffering entered into the world through man’s sin. We’re the ones responsible.