Lesson 15


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

5:1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 5:2 through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering works perseverance; 5:4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: 5:5 and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given to us.


 Today's Lesson 

Paul goes on now to begin to tell the Romans what the righteousness of faith can mean to our lives. He begins by telling them that when we are justified by faith we have peace with God through Jesus Christ. The prospect of peace with God is a magnificent thing. Most people do not even understand that they are not at peace with God. They deny God and ignore the conflict in their soul and in their lives. They cannot acknowledge the existence of God so they cannot admit that they are at odds with him. In verse 10 of this chapter, Paul will go so far as to say that we were all once enemies of God. God has declared peace with his enemies.

 

We gain access to this peace, to this grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus becomes Lord for us because our relationship with God is granted through Him. If we place our faith and trust in Him we may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Our anticipation of the glory of God is never fully experienced, but in Christ it is a certain hope.

 

Just because we have been justified by faith does not mean that our lives will be without suffering, but God promises to use the suffering in our lives to our benefit. Paul writes that we may rejoice because "suffering works perseverance." When we live at peace with God we have the opportunity to persevere in the midst of the storms of life. Troubles and trials cannot truly harm us because our souls are kept safe in Christ by God. It does not mean that Christians do not hurt and bleed. It means that God can allow us to see beyond the hurt and the blood and see the eternal reality of our lives.

 

When we allow God to turn our sufferings to perseverance He will, in time, turn our perseverance into proven character. People who have persevered through trials can be trusted. They have been tried and have passed the trials. We all know people whose character has been proven by the fire. Until a person has been tested we don't really know how they will respond to pressure.

 

Proven character produces hope. Hope develops when we see that we can stand up to the difficulties of life and endure. Life becomes more certain because we have faced difficulties and survived. Our faith becomes more certain, our relationships with other people more unshakable.

 

And hope in God does not disappoint us. From the depth of our sufferings and from the pain of our perseverance we have been experiencing God's love being poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. As we grow in grace we can see His work in our lives more and more. His love confirms our faith and makes us stronger all the while.

 

Everywhere around us, even in the best of lives, we see people suffering. There is good in this life and joy. But in every life there is a full measure of pain. There is loss and disappointment; there are unmet expectations and false hopes. And worse, in every life there is death, our own and the death of those who we love. But God can turn the despair of this life, even the despair of death, into hope and love. The creative power of God can turn even the tragedy of this life into a blessed hope for the next.

 

Faith, hope and love. When we have faith, hope grows from the love that is given to us through His Spirit in our lives. Do these words describe your relationship with God: faith, hope, love, peace, joy, perseverance? Can you feel the love of God being poured out in your heart even in the midst of your sufferings? Such love is available to you, through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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