For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits 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; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Romans 8:18-25)
Eager Like A Roman
The first-century Christians lived within the lifespan of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Many of the early saints were disciples of Jesus who had walked with Him, saw His miracles, and heard His stirring sermons. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to more than five hundred people. The early church consisted of those who had seen Jesus after He died. During the ministry of the Lord, He told how He would return from the Father. One of the primary teachings of the early church was the imminent return of the Son of God. It was to this belief that many held firmly to their expectations of the return of Christ.
Two thousand years have passed since Jesus promised to return, which has jaded the feelings of God’s people to expect His return at any moment. There is little eagerness for the return of Jesus. Life is so busy for most people that little thought or care is given to considering that at any moment, the shout of the archangel and the trumpet of God will sound, and the world will end. Unless the preacher presents a lesson on the second coming of Christ, no thought is given to its reality. People are eager to know what next week will bring or how the economy will survive in the new year. Jobs consume the thoughts of the heart, worried about paying the bills and taking care of the family. Everything weighs heavy on the mind but eagerly waiting for the Lord is noticeably absent.
Paul wrote to the Roman Christians in the spirit of the quick anticipation of Jesus’ return. Life was difficult for the apostle, but he could see the sufferings of this world could not be compared to the glory awaiting the faithful. Because of this, Paul expressed an eager anticipation for the coming of the Lord. He knew there was much to do in this life, but he could not wait to see his Lord face to face. He was eager for the adoption that was sure and steadfast. His salvation was promised by God, who cannot lie, and Paul lived to be adopted. His hope in Christ came from his eagerness to serve the Lord and his desire to die in the Lord.
Having a desire of eagerness is to fill the heart with a promised hope. This eager spirit was not trusting in the wisdom of men. Paul’s eager spirit fully trusted in the promises made by God to save him. He was looking forward to the coming of the Lord with great anticipation as though it would take place in his life. For the Christian thousands of years removed from the life of Jesus, it becomes hard to be eager about the return of the Lord. There is more anticipation for the events of life than the joy of eternity. Death is feared and dreaded. There is little thought given to eternal life.
The earnest expectation for the coming of Christ can only come from hearts longing to leave this world and seek for eternity. Life will take on a different meaning when, instead of being anxious about this world, the heart is eager to embrace the world to come. Having an eagerness requires faith to take the eyes away from the comfort of this short life and fill the heart with a “can’t wait” attitude of being with God. Learn to be eager. Allow the promises of God to loosen the chains of a world destined for destruction. Be excited. Eternity is coming.