The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans

By G. Campbell Morgan

Chapter 15

iii. GLORIFICATION. Rom 8:18-39


1. Introductory Declaration. Rom 8:18

Present Suffering and ultimate Glory incomparable

2. Fellowship with Creation. Rom 8:19-30

a. Fellowship in Creation's Groaning. Rom 8:19-25

Creation's Need. Rom 8:19-22

Waiting. Rom 8:19-20

Hoping. Rom 8:21

Groaning. Rom 8:22

The Saints' Fellowship; Rom 8:23-25

Groaning. Rom 8:23 a

Waiting. Rom 8:23 b

Hoping. Rom 8:24-25

b. Fellowship with God. Rom 8:26-30

The Spirit's Interpretation. Rom 8:26-27

Making Intercession with Groanings. Rom 8:26

Intelligible to God. Rom 8:27 a

According to God. Rom 8:27 b

The Saints' Assurance. Rom 8:28-30

The Conditions. Rom 8:28 a

The Process. Rom 8:28 b

The Issue. Rom 8:29-30


1. Introductory Affirmation. Rom 8:31-32

a. The Inquiry. Rom 8:31

What shall we say?

If God . . . who is against?

b. The Answer. Rom 8:32

The Gift of the Son.

The Gift of all things.

2. The Threefold Challenge and Answer. Rom 8:33-39

a. The Accuser. Rom 8:33

Challenge. Who?

Answer. God justifies.

b. The Judge. Rom 8:34

Challenge. Who?

Answer. Christ Died.




c. The Separator. Rom 8:35-39

Challenge. Who? Rom 8:35-36

The things of suffering.

The Answer. The Love of God in Christ Jesus.Rom 8:37-39

The incompetent Forces.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


The last phrase in the previous section, "glorified with Him," naturally leads on to the discussion of the final fact in the salvation provided by God, that of glorification. There is nothing like a detailed description of the conditions of the coming glory, either on earth or in heaven. The apostle's dealing with the subject was rather that of an onward look from the midst of that suffering to which he had referred, and which is seen in the light of the consummation. The section falls into two parts; the first dealing with the fellowship of the saints in the process that leads to the consummation; and the second with the assurance of the certainty of that consummation.


After an introductory declaration the apostle proceeded to deal with the subjects, first of the fellowship of the saints with creation; and secondly of their fellowship with God.

1. Introductory Declaration

In his introductory declaration the apostle suggested and declined a comparison between the sufferings and the glory. So stupendous and overwhelming was the radiant vision and the ultimate issue of the work of grace as he saw it, that set in the light of it, he reckoned the sufferings of the present time incomparable. All that follows in this section emphasizes that conviction. It is impossible to read his teaching without discovering how keen his sense of the suffering was, and yet through all the movement the dominant note is that of a joyful confidence, born of his assurance of the certainty and overwhelming sufficiency of the glory.

2. Fellowship with Creation

In dealing with the fellowship of the saints with creation the apostle affirmed the fact of their fellowship in creation's groaning; and then that of their fellowship with God in relation to that groaning.

a. Fellowship in Creation's Groaning

The apostle first described creation's need, and then the saints' fellowship therein.

The need of creation as the apostle understood it is revealed by three words of which he made use. He saw it, waiting, hoping, groaning.

It is waiting "for the revealing of the sons of God." In that declaration the apostle recognized man's place in creation to be that of its lord and master. He also recognized that man's power to exercise beneficent rule results entirely from his relation to God. That relation being interfered with by sin, he had failed to realize the creation beneath him, or to lead it to its full development. The creation had therefore been subjected to vanity.

He next described it as expecting, or hoping, that it would also find its way into the liberty of the glory of the children of God, that is, that in answer to the dominion of redeemed man it also would be redeemed.

Finally he taught that while creation thus waits and hopes it does so in suffering. This he declared in the words, "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain . . . until now." How much of sorrow and of agony is pressed into this one pregnant sentence! It includes man himself in his spiritual ruin, in his mental limitation, in his physical suffering; and all the lower forms of creation in their sighing and suffering for lack of the kingly government of the being created to have dominion over it for its perfecting.

In dealing with the saints' fellowship, the apostle made use of the same words, groaning, waiting, hoping.

He began at the point of creation's pain, as lie declared that "we ourselves groan." The saints of God in the midst of the suffering are conscious of it, and, indeed, the consciousness is more acute than that of the creation itself, for with the restoration in measure even, of the Divine ideal, there comes the new capacity for pain, which is indeed part of the privilege of partnership with God in Christ.

The saints are also waiting for the redemption of the body. The bodies of the saints have not yet been brought into full realization of the renewing forces of salvation. They remain the media through which the saints experimentally enter into the consciousness of creation's suffering. Nevertheless the spirit is renewed and alive, and in their spiritual life the saints wait for the redemption of the body.

While in the midst of this fellowship of suffering and of waiting they also share the hope of creation, and that hope is so sure and certain as to create patience in waiting, even in the midst of suffering.

b. Fellowship with God

The deeper secret of the fellowship of the saints with creation is that of their fellowship with God. The indwelling Spirit exercises a twofold ministry in this respect; that first of interpreting the real meaning of the world's agony, and that secondly of creating the assurance of the ultimate deliverance. The supreme consciousness of suffering is in God, because of the perfection of His love. He, by the Spirit indwelling believers, interprets that consciousness, and thus makes their intercession. That intercession, even though it cannot be expressed, is intelligible to God, because "He . . . knoweth . . . the mind of the Spirit." This intercession is therefore "according to the will of God." By this interpretation of the Spirit, the saints are brought into fellowship with the suffering of creation through fellowship with God; and they co-operate with God by intercession in the midst of suffering creation.

Such fellowship with God creates the assurance of the saints that the whole process is moving toward a consummation. "We know" wrote the apostle. Here is no indefiniteness, no speculation, no expression of a hope that faints or falters. Upon the basis of the profound and magnificent arguments of the Divine method of redemption, the apostle founds a confidence that nothing is equal to shaking. In an introductory phrase, "to them that love God," he indicated the one condition upon which all that he was about to say concerning the process to consummation, is true. The confidence he expressed in the present tense, "all things work"; they do so even here and now, amid conditions which seem as though they would make the ultimate issue impossible, or at least indefinitely postpone it. The soul in fellowship with God rests assured that everything is contributing to the consummation.

The word "together" is in itself a luminous explanation of much that perplexes. No lonely circumstance, no event of an hour, no isolated incident, must be used as interpreting the whole process. All such circumstances, events, incidents, are inter-related, and each must be viewed as part of all. The apparent defeat is a preparation for certain victory. The seeming mystery holds within itself, in relation to other facts, the making of a revelation. The present is part of the whole. The whole needs it, and alone is equal to explaining it. This is the faith that tinges the darkest cloud with the light of the sun hidden behind it, and transmutes its sable into the purple promise of coming glory. This is the confidence that whispers words of infinite peace amid all the babel of contending voices. This is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith, and faith is at once the law and the offspring of fellowship.

What, then, is the good toward which the "all things'' work together? We find the answer to this inquiry stated only in regard to the central fact. The sons are to be conformed to the image of the Son. This revealing of the sons of God in the likeness of the Son of God will issue in the healing of creation, and the ending of its groaning.

There can be no doubt that at last the sons will be conformed to the image of the Son, for to this they are foreordained of God, and those "whom He foreordained, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.''

Thus the great glad certainty of assured finality of glory accounts for the statement with which the section opened. "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to usward.''


The last section ended with the apostle's affirmation of the assurance of the saints in fellowship with God, that the process is inevitably moving toward the consummation. This second half of the division dealing with glorification looks out into the future, and challenges all opposition, affirming its impotence in the presence of the great salvation.

It is sometimes helpful to read this paragraph in close connection with, the first section of the book, that dealing with the ruin of the race. There the apostle declared that the whole world must be silent in its condemnation. Here the saints are no longer silent, but challenge to silence all the voices that can be raised against them.

The first movement in the paragraph is that of an introductory affirmation, which is immediately followed by a threefold challenge and answer.

1. Introductory Affirmation

The introductory affirmation consists of an All-inclusive inquiry and reply. The attention is first arrested by the question, "What then shall we say to these things?" which is immediately followed by the inquiry, "If God is for us, who is against us?" Already he had demonstrated the fact that the very forces of sorrow and of suffering which seemed to be opposed, are working together for good. In

the light of that assurance he looked out through all space and all ages, and demanded "Who is against us?"

The answer is really an exposition of the assumption of the inquiry, that God is for us. He has proved that He is for us by the gift of His Son. It is therefore inconceivable that He will withhold anything. Indeed the gift of the Son is the gift of all things, for as the writer declared in another of his letters, "In Him all things consist."

2. The Threefold Challenge and Answer

The inclusive inquiry is then expressed in a threefold challenge, followed by a threefold answer.

The first challenge is as to the possibility of an accuser. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?'' The answer is immediate and brief, "It is God that justifieth.'' Nothing more need be said, because in the earlier part of the letter the fact has already been dealt with, that it is possible for God to be just and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.

The second challenge is as to the possibility of a judge who will condemn, "Who is He that shall condemn?" The answer re-states those facts of the work of Christ Jesus, belief in which made possible the declaration of an earlier section, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus"; the facts of His death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession.

The third challenge is as to the possibility of a separator, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" and the challenge is emphasized by the naming of some of the terrible experiences which may form part of the process through which the ultimate glory must be reached - tribulation, anguish, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword. So far from these being able to separate, in them "we are more than conquerors " because they are of the number of the things which work together for our good, and thus are compelled to serve us, and to co-operate with God toward the accomplishment of the highest purposes of His heart. There are other things which may be against us, and the apostle finally named them only in order to reveal the fact that the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, is mightier than either of them, or all of them united, in an attempt to separate us therefrom.

Neither death, the foe ever threatening; nor life, with all its trials and testings; nor angels and principalities, the beings of the spiritual realm; nor powers, those in earthly authority; nor things present, the circumstances of the hour; nor things to come, the possible contingencies of the coming days; nor height, heaven itself; nor depth, hell beneath; nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God, Who is the Creator, and therefore the supreme Lord of all because life is resident in, and manifested through, Christ Jesus, Who is our Lord.

In this final affirmation there is incidentally a fine note of assurance in the little phrase, "any other creature"; for by its use the apostle recognizes the fact that all the things which he has named are but creations, while the One in Whose love is the assurance of the victory is the One from Whom all these have come, He being the Creator.

This threefold challenge and answer becomes the more wonderful when we realize the remarkable change of relation between God and man which it exhibits. On account of sin, God was against man, and man was silent. Through His salvation God is for him, and the opposing forces are silent. By reason of sin God was the supreme Accuser. By the way of His salvation He has become the Justifier. As the result of sin it was God Who as Judge condemned man. As the outcome of His provision of salvation, the triumphant word is uttered, "No condemnation." The inevitable issue of sin was that God had excluded man from fellowship with Himself. The equally inevitable result of salvation is the restoration of man to such fellowship with Him in love that no force in the universe can separate between them.