I've Been Doing Some Figuring!
The expression "doing some figuring", is an idiom common to the Southern dialect which means to logically calculate, or to reason. One often hears the older generation say, "Well, the way I've got this figured." Or "I think I've got this all figured out."
Paul does some "figuring" in Romans 8:18, and he shares his conclusion:“For I reckon, or consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
The Greek word that translates "consider" or "reckon" in the KJV, is "logizomai" which means "to estimate, calculate, or logically deduce", i.e. "to do some figuring!"
What Paul says in essence is, “I've done some figuring and my reckoning, or calculations have lead to me to some firm conclusions. On the basis of the gospel's reaches and riches, the sufferings of the NOW, painful as though they are, are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us, in us, and with us!"
J.B. Phillips paraphrase of Romans 8:18 reads, “In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.”
Spirit-led figuring (not natural figuring or reasoning without God) energizes biblical hope in the faithfulness of God so that we are confidently expecting to receive all that God has provided for us in Christ, in due time. In our pain and perplexities, hope sends us out of ourselves to the world of people who sit hopelessly in their pain and suffering. Empathizing with them, we lovingly show them how we’ve got it figured, based on the good news of God’s Glory Story. Our figuring shows them that if they bring their little personal story onto the stage of God’s Big Glory Story, they’ll find that they have a strategic place in Christ, the only Star of the story. As a result, they’ll begin to get the big picture and perspective that will “Hope them Up” – not with placebos, but with promises from the God who cannot lie and does not change!
Hope is unseen but not unreal. Christ, who is our hope, intends for us to live in security in the midst of all the storms of life. Dear Christian, you may get pressed way down by the problems and pressures of life, but you can't get beneath biblical hope. It will take you back up.
No wonder the hymn writer, Thomas Chisolm, was moved to write, using Lamentations 3:23 as the heart of hope for his hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness! In one of the stanzas he writes, "Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright HOPE for Tomorrow, blessings all mine with ten thousand besides!"
Another hymn writer sang with joy: “When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gail my anchor holds within the veil. His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the overwhelming flood: when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay! On Christ the Solid rock I stand!"
John Newton’s song Amazing Grace declares: The Lord has promised good to me… His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be… as long as life endures."
Spirit-led “figuring” leads to confident waiting in the expectation and guarantee that after this brief time of suffering, we believers will SEEthe All-satisfying Beauty and Greatness of God Unveiled!
The "glory" Paul refers to is that unutterable splendor, majesty, and worth of the eternal, immortal and incorruptible God. Glory is the beauty of God unveiled. It’s all that makes God, God, and shows Him to be worthy of our worship and praise!
John Piper defines “glory as meaning, "overwhelming, all-satisfying beauty and greatness." And to "Be revealed to us" he takes to mean, "We will see it." Hope of being saved in every way one can be saved is much more than this. But focus on this part for a moment, meditate on it and let it sink in.
God has built into our hearts a deep long and passionate desire to gaze upon beauty, greatness, grandeur and glory. We get pleasure from seeing beauty and greatness in movies and museums, in mountains and meteors, in nature scenes like the Grand Canyon or the sunrise or sunset over the ocean’s horizon at the beach. Seeing beauty and greatness is a huge part of our joy in life.
Everything of worth, beauty, and greatness that we see in the now of history are but images, fleeting shadows, and road signs that point to the ultimate in beauty, greatness, and worth -- the glory of God. Seeing this will be the end of our search for lasting beauty and greatness. This is why Jesus prayed for us the way he did in John 17:24, "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory." This was the greatest thing Jesus could pray for on our behalf. It was the climax of his prayer. Notice that He didn’t pray for our sufferings to end but that after we have suffered with Him in this life we might see Him in His glory.
1 John 3:2, “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like Him, because we shall SEE HIM, as he is”.
Rev 22:4,“They will SEE HIS FACE, and his name will be on their foreheads.”
"Figuring," using the common denominator of biblical hope, will enable the child of God to rise above the pain and perplexity of the seemingly senseless sufferings and sorrows that life throws at us and our loved ones.
The great temptation when faced with the hurts, hardships, and heartaches of life is to give up in despair and throw away our hope in Christ. But the manifold promises of our good, good Father are written so that you and I will be ready and able to fight the fight of faith and not be conquered by hopelessness or unbelief in the midst of life’s futilities. They are written to help us answer, “YES” it’s worth all the temporary stuff we must go through because His children will ultimately experience the glory of God in glorified bodies, along with a liberated creation so that we can see, share in and savor His glory forever!
The great miracleof the gospel of Christ is that it saves us from the pleasure of sin. The grand marvelof the gospel is that it saves us from the penalty of sin. The great mightof the gospel is that it saves us from the power of sin. And the glorious magnitudeof the gospel of Jesus is that it saves us from the presence of sin. We are taken from guilt through grace into glory!