Many Christians suffer much in this world because of their relationship with Christ (Hebrews 13:13-14). Paul knew that from his own experience. His troubles had been especially severe in the year before he wrote the Book of Romans (2 Corinthians 1:8-10). However, his attention was not upon his troubles, but on the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The glory of a king means his honour and wealth. The glory of a nation means its richest and best products. The glory of the sun is the power of its light and heat; the glory of the moon and stars is their delicate beauty. In all of these, we see the idea of true greatness that affects everything round about.
The glory of God, of course, is much greater than any of these. People have sometimes seen his glory (Exodus 33:18 to 34:7; 1 Kings 8:11; Mark 9:2-9). That is the greatest and most wonderful experience that a person may have in this world (Isaiah chapter 6; Ezekiel chapter 1). However, Godís plan for the future is not just that his people will see his glory. God actually intends to share his glory with his people. That is possible because God has chosen to adopt his people as his own children. In the future world, they will have the great honour to be Godís own children.
Therefore, Paul declared that his own troubles, however severe, did not really matter. Actually, Paul would still serve God even if he (Paul) gained nothing from it (9:1-3). However, Godís people gain the most wonderful and splendid life when they serve God. When people care only to please themselves, their lives achieve nothing worthwhile (6:21-23).
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© 2017, Keith Simons.