I have been studying through Romans 8 with the Doorposts blog “Busy Mamas Bible Study.” This chapter is so rich that we can barely scratch the surface in a 30-day study. I am currently digging into verse 18:
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.
As part of the lesson, we read Matthew Henry’s commentary on Romans 8:17-25. (I find it on the Blue Letter Bible app, or BlueLetterBible.com for free). I love his description of “I reckon.”
“I reckon, as an arithmetician that is balancing an account. He first sums up what is disbursed for Christ in the sufferings of this present time, and finds they come to very little; he then sums up what is secured to us by Christ in the glory that shall be revealed, and this he finds to be an infinite sum, transcending all conception, the disbursement abundantly made up and the losses infinitely countervailed. And who would be afraid then to suffer for Christ, who as he is before-hand with us in suffering, so he will not be behind-hand with us in recompense?”
A couple of other thoughts on this verse:
1. The word for "suffering" is translated as "affections" in Gal.5:24 - crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts. I was digging into the relationship between suffering and "affliction" and trying to understand why it was translated that way. I think the base word is really a strong feeling.
Think of the strong feeling - the aversion, the weight, the "suffering" - that we feel when we are going through a trial or difficult circumstances. Its a strong feeling. A passion. Christ's suffering on Calvary is sometimes referred to as passion week or the Passion of Christ.
But our affections for the world, which we are to "crucify" in Gal.5:24 are also strong feelings - strong attachments to the world. And if we keep those fleshly affections, they ultimately bring suffering because of the consequences of sin.
2. As I was meditating on glory I was struck with the fact that the Hebrew (OT) word for glory is kavod or "weight." To ascribe glory to something was to give it due importance because it was weighty. It also has a reference to the fact that in that day, payment was made in gold (so a heavy amount of gold was something of great value).
When I skimmed through the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge verses for "glory" (in the NT) I came away with the constant comparison that our suffering here is light and our glory (weight) in heaven will be "heavy" - great, important. Maybe it's insignificant, but I never thought of the "heaviness" of the glory compared to the lightness of the suffering.
This falls right in with the meaning of “reckon” also. As an accounting term, it was to weigh things in the balance. As Matthew Henry described, when we weigh the minute suffering here on earth with our heavenly inheritance, the latter far outweighs (or counter-balances) the light suffering.