“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:1-5
The gospel is absolutely scandalous. God creates man. Man rebels from God. Man is condemned. Yet, God loves man, and because of this love, God enters time and space, into our depravity, lives the perfect life we could never live, takes the punishment we deserve, draws us to repentance, births faith in us to believe, allows us to walk free, perfectly & forever justified. And as if that was not enough, God gives us his Spirit, teaching us to walk in His ways, and brings life out of dead bones, gifts and calls us to good works prepared for us to do long before time, that we would bring glory to the one and only God that deserves all glory, all honor, all praise.
Yes, it is absolutely scandalous that God would grace us as recipients of His good news. And for this reason, we rejoice. Yet there is something else as believers that we rejoice in. We rejoice in our sufferings.
At face-value, this sounds insane! Why on earth would we rejoice in suffering? Suffering is something that by default, we avoid.
But as we read on, God, through the writings of Paul, is communicating that He cares not only about our salvation, but also our sanctification— our becoming more like Jesus. God cares about our endurance. God cares about our character. God cares about our hope.
Jesus has not promised us a life without suffering. Rather, He tells us that we will have trouble in this world. But He has promised Himself to us that we would have peace in the midst of our suffering (John 16:33).
It is my prayer that God’s love would be poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, that His love would cause us to endure in suffering, that our endurance would produce in us character, that our character would produce hope in Jesus, and that our hope in Jesus would result in glory to God.
God, would You enable us to be a people that rejoices in our suffering? Would You give us peace in the midst of the storms of life? Would You use the difficulties of our lives to produce in us a greater good, that brings glory to Your name?
This post was written by Chris Gray, Associate Pastor at Redemption Church.
–January 12th is a very big day for Redemption Church! Thank you for praying with us! For more information about the launch of Redemption Church and how you can pray for us, please click here.