“In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text.” Martin Luther
As soon as I ran across this statement I knew that Romans 5 would have some exciting things to give us.
“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.” (Romans 5:1-2 ESV)
The faith we have in Jesus is what brings us peace. That faith is also what allows us to live in His grace and to rejoice in His Hope.
“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 5:3-5)
There it is, one of those times that Paul is telling us to “rejoice in our sufferings”. Kind of like James with “count it all joy” I must admit there is discomfort when I first read passages like this. How can I rejoice in my sufferings? How is it that I can count things joyful when things seem so messed up. Whether it be in my personal life, or in the world at large. Doesn’t it seem crazy to count it joy and to rejoice when suffering comes. Let’s take our children. We would love for them to grow up and never know suffering and to never have a bad day and to always succeed at everything. To always get the trophy so to speak. But we learn and they learn through hardship and through not always winning and through some amount of suffering. Suffering produces endurance. When you suffer at something, when you have to work a little harder at something it produces endurance. You have to keep at it, you have to have discipline. That endurance and the discipline it takes to endure, produces character. Someone’s character is who they are at their core. Wouldn’t it be nice if God just gave us those things without us having to work at them. But God cares more about who we are down deep, our character than to do that and He knows that some of us have to learn these lessons the hard way and some even harder than others. But it produces Hope in us when we do learn the lessons of suffering, endurance and character. God’s Hope, not just a fly by night I hope things turn out okay. When bad things happen and I can look back at the way God has answered past hardships that I have endured I can hope all the more in the present day trials.
Hope in Jesus does not put us to shame. Some translations say does not disappoint. When we accept Jesus we have the love of God poured into us through the Holy Spirit. We just have to cling to that hope and that love. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. Jesus came to fulfill the law because there was no way that we, in our human flesh, could ever keep the law to the point of staying in relationship with God. We do not have to get it all right in order to become a Christian. He died for sinners. He died for us. We are reconciled to God by the death of Jesus. And in that we do not have to endure the wrath of God. We are saved by Jesus. We have Hope in Jesus that will not disappoint us.
Paul goes on explaining how sin came into the world through Adam, through one man. Not through the law. Again, the law was a measure of sin. Death reigned before God ever gave Moses the law. Adam brought sin into the world. However, Jesus and His death on the cross is what justifies us and reconciles us and gives us the gift of peace and the gift of hope and grace!
“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)
The victory of this chapter is in the last few verses. One man, Adam brought sin into the world. We are sinful by nature, babies are born sinful. Sin is something that reigns in our life until we accept Jesus. The Holy Spirit will work in a nonbelievers life to draw them to a saving relationship with Jesus. But once the sinful man is justified through Christ, they can have victory over their sinful nature.
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:18-21)
Jesus thank you for giving your life for us! Thank you for your Peace! Thank you for your Grace! Thank you for your Hope!