Romans contains some of the most thought provoking words in the Bible. It is impossible to take in all the points until we have read it meditatively many times. It calls for diligent and reflective study and the following up of the cross references and links to other scriptures. The Bible cannot be treated like a school textbook that you go through in a year’s study and then leave on the shelf for occasional reference. God’s word is designed for our lifelong reading and provokes increasing spiritual perceptions and enjoyment.

Paul had been brought up under the Law of Moses with all its rules and regulations. He had been zealous for the Law, but, as a result of his dramatic conversion, he applied his mind to the new reality of eternal things – and learnt the wonder of an ongoing personal relationship with his Saviour. The Law of Moses had been a law for Israel, but it was now superseded by a situation in which each individual could and should have a personal relationship with their Saviour and with the Father.

Paul makes the point; “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing …” (8:18,19). This sense of eagerness is keenly felt by those who see only emptiness in pleasures of today. Paul says we “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (verse 23). Note the word eagerly!

Those who find this life satisfying and enjoyable may not have eagerness for that which is going to replace it. For many in the developing world this life offers little, but a spiritual person can enjoy fellowship with others. Yet, in God’s eyes, those living in difficult situations are likely to be in a far more spiritually acceptable frame of mind.

Meditate prayerfully on these words near the end of Romans 8. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him who loved us” (verses 35,37). However, could not our lack of “eager longing” separate us?