Christian Groaning — Romans 8:23–25

Christian groaning is acknowledging our present suffering, waiting eagerly for our bodily redemption, and living courageous until the final day.

Christian Groaning — Romans 8:23–25
Photo by Road Trip with Raj / Unsplash


We have a Bible study group that meets regularly in my home. In recent months, we experienced up close the reality of physical death. Three of our attendees mourned the loss of loved ones. One woman loss her brother to a sudden, unexpected death. Another gentleman gave a eulogy after losing his aging mother. Still another man recently presided over his first cousin's funeral.

Because of this, I wanted to look and study Romans 8 to see what God has to say regarding suffering and the reality of Christian groaning. This devotional will focus on Romans 8:23–25.

1. Reality of Present Suffering (v.23)

  • “And not only this” refers to creation’s suffering and groaning (v.18–22)
  • “but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit”
    • referring to all Christians. (See Rom 8:9–11)
    • first fruits = Holy Spirit (appositional)
  • “even we ourselves groan within ourselves”
    • Emphatic pronoun (ourselves) is used 2x. [KJV, NASB, LSB]
      • This is the only time in the Greek NT.
    • “within ourselves” - reflexive pronoun
      • indicates the personal nature of the “groaning”
      • each and every Christian groans within themselves.
  • Read 2 Corinthians 5:1–5
    • “earthly tent” is an analogy to our present human bodies
  • “groan” στενάζω - (Rom 8:23, 2 Cor 5:2, 4) [3x used by Paul]
    • “to express oneself involuntarily in the face of an undesirable circumstance, sigh, groan” “to express discontent, complain” [BDAG]
    • “make a deep inarticulate moaning sound in response to a disturbing stimulus” [Danker]
    • “to bemoan, lament” [Brill]
  • What are we groaning for?
    • “eagerly waiting for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
  • Story: my twin size bed and mattress (age 5–35)
  • Present suffering: Like creation, all Christians experience suffering. And every Christian groans within himself, longing for his future redemption of our body which has been guaranteed when we received God’s Spirit.”

2. Looking to Future Hope (v.24–25)

There are two truths about this future hope.

A. We were saved in hope.

  • Hope accompanies our salvation. [Adam and Eve in Gen 3:15]
  • Salvation here is a completed action.

B. Our hope is unseen.

  • “hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he already sees”

  • ἐλπίς - “a state of looking forward to something that is desirable” “basis of firm expectation” [Danker]

  • Story: Luke opened all his presents before Christmas day.

    • Luke had nothing more to look forward to on Christmas morning.

3. Persevering with Courage

So as Francis Schaefeer asked, "How should we then live?"

A. “We wait with perseverance”

But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we eagerly wait for it. (Rom 8:25)

B. “We live with courage”

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord⁠—for we walk by faith, not by sight⁠—we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (2 Cor 5:6–8)

What is Christian Groaning?

"Christian groaning" is (1) acknowledging our present suffering, (2) waiting eagerly for our bodily redemption, and (3) living courageous until the final day.