Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that he is the “bread of life, and whoever comes to him shall not hunger, and whoever believes in him shall never thirst.” This week, may we go to the bread of life. May we remember that he is our substance and portion – that we are citizens of heaven, and that our food is heavenly food, the word of God. The devotional for today is a reflection on the future hope we have as believers from Romans 8.
Again, just a few reminders:
Saturday morning (9/7) is the men’s breakfast at the ‘Egg and I’ on Hwy 6 at 8:00AM. We’ll be looking at Rom 1:18ff.
Next Saturday (9/14) the ladies will gather at Prem and Annie’s home at 10:00 for Mugs n’ Muffins.
Friday, 9/27, is our Fall Conference with Dr. David Murray. See here for details and registration: www.csopc.org/conference.
Please let me know if you have any questions regarding what is going on in the life of our church!
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Present Joy and Future Hope”
Romans 2:2, “…we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
The Christian life is filled with suffering. Such suffering can take a multitude of shapes – from persecution to sickness, from depression to discouragement, from heartache to chronic disease – but no matter the shape, the simple truth is clear: the Christian life is filled with suffering (Job 14:1; Ps 39:4; 1 Pet 1:6; 4:12). The Scriptures, however, fill the believer with great hope. One such passage dripping with Christian hope is Romans 8. The Apostle Paul, after describing his (and all believers’) battle with indwelling sin in chapter 7, moves on to describe our glorious assurance of final victory in chapter 8. For the Christian, says Paul, “there is therefore now no condemnation … in Christ Jesus” (8:1); Christians are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (8:17); and Christians are “more than conquerors through [Christ] who loves us” (8:37). There is, however, much more to the picture. The Bible teaches that the blessings we enjoy now in Christ are but a foretaste of the fullness of blessings to come. In other words, believers now experience a ‘present portion’ of blessings in Christ, and the ‘future fullness’ awaits.
Romans 8:23 succinctly captures this ‘present – future’ experience: “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.” There are several points to note regarding this text: first, Christians – those who have repented of their sins and rest in Christ for salvation – possess the ‘firstfruits of the Spirit.’ That is to say, the Holy Spirit who indwells Christians is the ‘firstfruits (see Lev 23:10-11)’ – the foretaste, the pledge, the guarantee – of the full harvest to come at the resurrection.
Second, although we presently possess such glorious blessings as the Spirit, Paul says we still ‘groan inwardly (cf. 2 Cor 5:2-4).’ We live in a fallen world and we daily battle against our indwelling sin. Indeed, we are called to be good soldiers of Christ (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 2:3); indicating that at present we are engaged in a great spiritual battle (Eph 6:10ff; 2 Cor 10:3-5).
Third, we ‘eagerly await’ the fullness of our salvation. And in this particular verse, Paul mentions our ‘adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.’ Although today we are adopted children of the Lord (1 John 3:1-3), there is more to come. Specifically at the last day we will receive our resurrection bodies as the Lord brings to completion the process of salvation that he has begun (Phil 1:6). And for eternity we will enjoy communion and fellowship with our King unhindered by sin, sadness, and suffering (Rev 21:4; 22:3; 1 Cor 15:42-44).
Finally, how do these grand truths from Romans 8 impact our lives as believers today? In at least two fundamental ways. First, we are to rejoice because of what we have in Christ (1 Cor 1:30). Paul says there is ‘now’ no condemnation for the Christian (8:1). No longer do we stand before God like guilty criminals before a judge, rather we stand before God like beloved sons and daughters before our Heavenly Father (Rom 8:15). We have peace with God today (Rom 5:1). And second, we are called to hope. Believers are to be a hopeful people. We are on the road to the celestial city! The fullness of our salvation when we will join the heavenly chorus unto eternity awaits us! In closing brothers and sisters, may we heed the words of the writer to the Hebrews, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful (Heb 10:23).