Romans 8:24-25

Passage: 

"For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience" (Romans 8:24-25 RSV).

Question: 

I don't believe the correct words are "patience" and "waiting" used in this verse. Neither one resonates as an awareness of God's indwelling Spirit.

 

Comment: 

It is also difficult to approach these verses without considering those that precede them, specifically 8:18-23.  

Paul is writing from Jerusalem, rather late in his ministry, to a group of believers in Rome—a group he didn't establish, and a city to which he has not yet carried his message. His intention is to travel to Rome and enlist the support of Christians there as he continues his missionary work in Spain. He uses the letter to set forth his own understanding of the message of Jesus Christ.  

Here he is discussing the certainty of the coming of the kingdom of heaven. "The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing the glory that is to be revealed to us" (v.18 RSV). I don't think he's referring to an individual "awareness of God's indwelling Spirit," but to the new dimension of experience that Jesus called the kingdom of heaven. The individual awareness of our true identity as the Christ, the creative expression of the divine, is the essential step in making the kingdom of heaven our collective life experience. However,  it is a means, not an end. We must still continue to live in a dualistic human experience, and to "wait in patience" as we create the kingdom, choice by creative choice.

So I have no problem with "wait" and "patience" as words describing our present state—awake and aware of spiritual Truth, but not yet experiencing the kingdom that we are to create. I somewhat question the word "hope." I think "hope" suggests the possibility that what we hope for might or might not happen. Faith, on the other hand, is a state of certainty that we will, indeed, create the kingdom.

Blessings!

Rev. Ed