Editorial: 2+2=4

W. E. Vine tells us the word ‘reckon’ is ‘properly used of numerical calculation’. Here is one instance where Paul used the word, ‘For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ (Rom. 8:18).

In Romans chapter 8 Paul was assuring suffering believers that their sufferings in no way were evidence that the security of their salvation was in question. The thrilling chapter that begins with ‘no condemnation’ concludes with ‘no separation’. What an encouragement to know we are secure in Christ. My security is dependent on Him, not me.

But in so comforting the believers Paul states an unchangeable fact. Present suffering is ‘not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.’ This encouragement from Paul was not based on mere sentiment or emotion. It was a statement of fact. Like a numerical calculation which will always yield the same results Paul says, ‘I reckon’. I’ve calculated this and it will always be the same, no matter how many times I go over it. ‘…the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’

The prospect of future glory was ever before Paul. And it was a shared glory. We notice the previous verse, ‘if so be that

2 + 2 = 4
we suffer with him, that we may

be also glorified together.’ (Rom. 8:17) Glorified together! With Him! What a prospect for us!

But we also notice that the suffering is ‘with Him’ too. We never suffer alone in this life. It may seem that way, but it is not. The Lord is with us and is ‘touched with feeling of our infirmities’ (Heb. 4:15). In our times of suffering it is a privilege to know fellowship with Him alone. We can pour out our heart to him and He will hear, understand, share and minister to us. In fact as we follow this chapter of Romans 8, we notice the Holy Spirit too is active in our trials. ‘Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh interecession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.’ (Rom. 8:26) Even when we do not understand how to pray, the Holy Spirit ‘helpeth us’.

Paul’s calculation tells us more. Present trials, as deep as they may be, are disproportionate to the coming glory in us. The corresponding and compensating glory far exceed the present trial. So much so Paul says in another place, (without minimizing the severity of suffering, something Paul knew intimately), ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal

weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the this which are not seen are eternal.’ (2 Cor. 4:17, 18) An exceeding and eternal weight of glory is coming to you who are passing through times of trial.

Such trials Paul says, remind us that the temporal are just that. It is the eternal that is our goal. What matter is it then if the temporal has sorrow, the eternal never will.

The apostle Peter heartily agreed with Paul’s calculations and he took the truth even further. He links our present trials to a direct counterpart at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Here are Peter’s words, ‘Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:’ 1 Peter 1:6, 7. Peter’s statement indicates we will bear a glory that was forged in time of trial. The pain of the trial will be gone forever, but it will leave in us a glory that will appear in the final revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can count on this to always be true. 2+2=4.

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