“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
I really love the book of Romans. The Apostle Paul not only tackles some deep theological topics that are vital to the formation of our Christian faith and beliefs, but he also provides some practical words of encouragement, like in the passage above.
In just a few short verses, we are reminded of the key benefits of putting our faith in Jesus Christ. The passage clearly states that our relationship with Jesus is the source of peace with God and blessing of his grace. We now have confidence in the hope of the glory of God. This means that the promises that God has made on our behalf, being declared righteous and free from the penalty of sin and the promise of eternal life in God’s presence, are the basis of our confidence and proud celebration or boasting.
We are also encouraged, or should I say challenged, to glory in our sufferings, not because of the suffering itself, but because of the results. I can say that I personally, do not like suffering, but I can testify that through those difficult times I have been shaped and molded to become more like Christ. Those times of suffering have produced in me a resolve to trust God, changes to my character, and a renewed focus on the hope that I have in God’s promises.
The fact that the Holy Spirit lives within us and we have the promise of eternal life with God confirms our hope for what is better and for the resolution to our suffering in this life. We will eventually, be rescued from this world and its sorrows. This is not the end for the Christ follower; we are just passing through this life to a greater and far more fulfilling eternity with God.
Read the passage again and spend some time in reflection and prayer focusing on the following questions and thoughts.
God, how are you developing my character through my suffering or the difficulties of my life?
God, how should I respond to you and your promises during this time?
God, help me to focus on my relationship with Jesus, the grace that you have given me, and the hope that you have promised for my tomorrows.
God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life and your never-ending love for me.