The Higher Heroism -- Suffering and Glory
Romans 8:18
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.

There was an ancient sect who held that the highest virtue was to triumph over pain. The Stoics aimed high; but the road they took was paved with crushed desires, with petrified affections, and strewn with the ashes of distinguished loves. But Christianity does not save us by rendering us incapable of sorrow, but through sorrow, it leads us into the joy of God. Note —


1. It is a reckoning, not a full realisation. The apostle does not say, "I know," for he had not drained the cup of earthly sorrow, and had but tasted the cup of heavenly joy. But neither does he say, "I think or conjecture," for although he knew not the whole, he knew a good deal of both. What he does say lies between the two. "I reckon" is the language of faith, which accepts its present as the sure ground of a larger experience.

2. It is a reckoning about "present" suffering. It was then a time of persecution; but the truth of our text is not to be confined to such a time. Are we not apt to exaggerate the sufferings of a time of open persecution, as compared with calmer times? Do we not pass people every day who are suffering more for the sake of principle than ever martyr did? Their death is no less a martyrdom because it is a slow death. The Christian suffers both as a man and a Christian. He does not escape through faith the common lot. And besides, the spiritual nature has sufferings peculiar to itself. It begins in suffering. We have to pass Sinai, and see the terrors of the Lord. There is the struggle of conscience, with sin and unbelief, and the pangs of the new birth. Sanctification is but the deepening and broadening of our conversion, and it is carried on through suffering. The higher a nature rises, it increases in tenderness and sympathy, and while it has to maintain a conflict with evil, the heart must be the home of many great griefs.

3. It is a reckoning about present suffering in connection with future glory. The mere mention of the two cannot but suggest that the former is unworthy of comparison with the latter. The magnanimity of Paul prevents him from dragging his afflictions into comparison with the glory of God. The memory of past hardships is all but swallowed up in the enthusiasm of hope; and in this he follows his Master, "who, for the joy set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame."


1. The grace of God in the heart, since it so reveals God to the soul, so brings down heaven to earth, that the possessor of it can say that his sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in him.

2. This grace is the root both of the sufferings and the glory. If the two things were really opposed, then some comparison might be made; but this is not the case. Suffering is the first-fruit of grace, glory the last. The one is the fruit of grace in time, the other its fruit in eternity. To have the grace of God in the heart is to have a principle of life there that must come into bitterest conflict with evil. Jesus Christ must needs suffer to enter into His glory. As He was, so are we in this world. We have to "fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ." Dwelling in the believer Christ has still to meet the temptations of the devil and the contradictions of sinners.

3. The suffering leads to the glory. Suffering is in no sense the purchase of the glory. The sufferings of Christ have both paid the penalty of all sin, and purchased all blessing; and it would not accord with justice that we should have to pay the same penalty over again in our suffering. Certainly, if present suffering could purchase future glory, it would be a great bargain. Willingly might we undertake a pilgrimage to any shrine — gladly might we give our bosom to the knife, if the gates of Paradise would thereby open to us. But, although our suffering is in no sense the foundation or price of the glory, the one, nevertheless, leads to the other — is a condition of, or contribution to the other, as is stated in the preceding verse. The suffering, then, is not to be compared with the glory, as if the one were a deduction from the other; for the one enhances the other. As the light of the precious stone is brought out by cutting; as the veins of the marble are revealed by polishing; as the storms that fight with the young tree rock it into sturdier strength; so the Christian life is strengthened and beautified by suffering. Conclusion: Should any one standing on the threshold of the Christian life hesitate in view of its sufferings; or having put his hand to the plough, be disposed to look back; let him know that he is not fit for the kingdom of heaven. Those difficulties before which he pauses as great obstacles to his setting out on the way to glory are the very way itself. Who can show us a way to glory of any kind that is not paved with suffering? Is the glory the soldier seeks to be had with ease? Is the prize of fortune the merchant seeks to be had with folded arms? Are the ends on which the student is bent achieved by laying his head on a soft pillow and dreaming of them? One is apt to say there is no royal road to the glory of God; but that would be a great mistake. Suffering is the royal road, for by it the King passed into His glory.

(F. Ferguson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed toward us.

Suffering and Glory to be Revealed in the Good
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