Comfort Beneath the Cross: Exegesis of Romans 8:18–39, with Special Emphasis on Election
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Romans 8:18-39 brings about the age-old question of "cur alii prae aliis" (why some and not others) and the doctrine of election. However, rightfully understanding these verses requires seeing the Forest - the bigger picture. Through these passages, Paul gives the comfort beneath the cross - that is “the cross” of self-denial and suffering appointed to individual Christians. The first of the three Trees that make up the Forest is the “Greatness of Our Future Glory” within verses 18-27. This future glory will be the joy and splendor that surpasses all struggles, discomfort, or pain we experience. Christ has given us this glory as a possession that will be revealed. All creation yearns for the transformation of the world, which has decayed from the time of Adam and Eve. We sigh for this greatness only as the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, sighs from within us for the indescribable coming glory. As believers, we possess the “Certainty of Our Future Glory” (Tree 2) through God, who works all things for good for our future glory. Our loving God does all the work, from faith to the fruits of faith. As he has predestined, he assured us that we are called, justified, and glorified. None of this comes from showing favoritism to sinners who can offer nothing. However, God chose us underserved sinners and comforted us with the doctrine of election. These all stem from his plan from eternity to save us. God did not spare his own Son of pain or discomfort for us so that there would be the “Triumphant Declaration of Victory” (Tree 3). Though Satan continually charges against the elect, God has provided comfort amidst tribulation that no one can sever the bond that God established. Jesus’s blood has won our glorious goal.