“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:1-5, HCSB).
Commentators differ as to whether Romans 5 belongs thematically with Chapters 3 and 4 where the Apostle Paul argues for the imputation of righteousness through Christ or with Chapters 6-8 where Paul describes the new life in Christ.
I see it as a transition from one theme to the next because it summarizes Paul’s case for righteousness in Christ and then briefly describes how this new life of righteousness in Christ is applied in our personal lives.
These verses are like a concise narrative of the normal Christian life.
When we are at peace with God, then we have access to His grace that strengthens and empowers us to live righteously in this world in Christ by the empowerment of His Spirit!
God empowers us to live out this new life of righteousness in Christ in our everyday lives. Because we have obtained access to God’s grace through Christ, then we can confront adversity with joy because that’s part of the process, that’s the way this new life in Christ works!
So suffering adversity is what really gives us the opportunity to experience this new kind of life in Christ.
It’s the falling down that gives occasion for God to pick us up! It’s the normal Christian life!
Confronting troubles, trials, and tragedies builds our faith and our endurance because we learn to trust God. The bigger our problems, the harder we lean on God.
And when faith and trust in God become a way of life for us, a lived-out faith, then it builds our character in Christ.
And when we become people of deep faith, that lived-out faith generates hope that God will see us through any adversity in this present life and completely eliminate adversity in the life to come–eternal life.
In other words, you become the kind of person that when life hands you a lemon, you make lemonade!
Hoping in Christ will never lead to disappointment because not only has God demonstrated His love for us in Christ, but He has actually transmitted His love to us by virtue of the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom God has given us and dwells in us!
So, you can rejoice when adversity strikes because if you’ve got problems, then in Christ you’ve got hope! And if you’ve got hope in Christ, then you’ve got God’s love in your heart!
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18, HCSB).