In his letter to the Romans, Paul provides a summary of the Gospel. Chapter after chapter is filled with powerful language about the work of God in this world. When Paul reaches Romans 8, he introduces the idea of life through the Spirit. As Paul explains, the purpose of the Spirit is to provide guidance and support as we navigate the challenges of this world. It is a helpful reminder that we are not alone.
As Paul continues to write about the Holy Spirit, he informs the reader that the Spirit testifies that we are God’s children. You can feel the intensity of this sermon build as Paul latches on to the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s after this foundation that Paul discusses the present suffering that he, and likely his readers, are enduring.
The idea of suffering is one that is often disconnected from one’s reading of Romans 8:28, especially in the way that Paul talks about it. Often, well-meaning friends will offer this verse to someone going through a difficult circumstance that they believe is in need of encouragement. While this verse can certainly be used in that way, Paul uses it in a different context. In fact, Paul ties this verse to our future glory in heaven. Paul is highlighting the fact that life is hard. It can be challenging and painful at times, but God has not abandoned us. God has provided the Spirit to journey alongside us and because all things work for the good, God has a future glory in store for those who trust him.