In Romans 8:14-25 we find the book’s author telling the church that not everyone who calls God “Lord” is His child (Lk. 6:46), that only those who have put the flesh to death and are being led by the Holy Spirit are the true children of God. These sons, along with Jesus, are heirs (future recipients) of the world (universe) to come. The author warns true God-seekers that being led by the Holy Spirit–obeying God’s Word–will automatically bring persecution upon them, and that those who continue in righteous obedience in spite of that persecution will have God’s glory within them. As the Scriptures tell us, God’s glory will not be evident to those who hate His people. However, such glory will be evident to Him. Recall that Jesus said that those who kill His people will think that they are doing His Father a service (Jn. 16:2). God’s saints must expect to be rejected by both the churched and the unchurched, the churched being by far the more hateful. A rule revealed in the Scriptures is that the more religious the persecutor, the more intense the persecution. It is this suffering that brings out God’s glory in the victims of persecution (18). See Persecution.
Concerning the glory of God’s saints, the author of the Book of Romans, believed to be the Apostle Paul, makes an astonishing statement in verse 19: “For the earnest expectation of the creature (creation) waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.” Note this most incredible fact: the whole of God’s creation, having remained in “the bondage of corruption”–decay–for many years due to the war between God and Satan, awaits the manifestation–apocalypsis (revealing, unveiling) of His true sons who are led by His Holy Spirit. This revealing will take place when saints are saved and born again at the return of Jesus Christ. Following their rebirth (being changed from physical to spirit bodily composition–see Born Again) they will go about restoring the universe to its original condition. The entire creation “groans” and “travails” in its corrupt condition (note the deadness of the planets) while it awaits the arrival of God’s saved, born again sons (21,22). Verse 23 notes that those who know this truth–God’s “first fruits”–also “groan” in anticipation of their incredible future. Until then they can only hope for God’s promise because they have not yet received it (24,25). See Hope and Salvation.
Recall that after God showed Daniel a series of visions and told him what was to take place, the prophet said that he did not understand what he was seeing and hearing. Recall that God told him that it was not for him and the people of that day to understand, that it would be understood “at the time of the end.” That time is now. God’s people are receiving understanding of their glorious future and are preparing to enter into it.
In Ephesians 1:16-23 Paul tells the church (then and now) that God will give to His faithful sons “wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” He is bestowing this knowledge and revelation by teaching them His Word, which is man’s only source of spiritual knowledge. By giving them understanding of His Word He opens their eyes to the glory of their inheritance while filling them with knowledge of His power, greatness and “the world (universe) to come.” He will place that world/creation under the feet of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:24-28), Who will then place it under the feet of “the church, which is His body, which is the fullness of Him Who fills all in all.”
Such is the future of God’s Very Elect who have proven their love for Him by obeying His Word/ commandments/Law/Truth until the end, thereby qualifying for eternal life (Mat. 10:22). Those few who do so, we are told in Matthew 7:13,14, will one day rule the universe. L.J.