But, there is another note that is struck by Paul’s reflection on inheritance. He writes that if the “children” of God are to be heirs of God and heirs with Christ, then, it is necessary that all suffer with Christ in order that they may be glorified with Christ. While there are Christians who suffer terribly in some places around the globe like in Syria, Afghanistan etc; the North American varieties of Christians live in essential freedom to believe and to conduct themselves in worship and in life as they see fit.
Nothing however should be tempting us to and easily remove the issue of suffering from our midst by focusing on Christians in far places who suffer for their faith. Yes, we may not be suffering in the manner that they do, but we have our own suffering with the heinous crimes and untoward conduct that are on our lands. We should be interceding for them as well as they should be doing for us. So then, their suffering that we sometimes are tempted to trivialize calls for us to empathize and do whatever the Holy Spirit leads us to do to assist them in their plight.
As Paul moves ahead in vv. 18-25, he takes a new angle in his teaching by presenting life in the Spirit as a life of hope. He focused on the particular situation of the Romans up to this point, but here he widens his scope to see the Spirit at work in the Christian world. This is a teaching that Christians today find very challenging, if not difficult because we are not really accustomed to think out of our box. Indeed, we should be daily responding to the need of creation itself for redemption, for that is what Paul taught his believers and it where his teaching is leading us as we follow his reflections. Let us follow sound exhortation.