Romans 5:1-5 – “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  NKJV

This is a compelling declaration by the apostle Paul to the Romans, a declaration we all need to hear, learn, adopt, and incorporate into our lives.  He makes a progression that cannot be short-circuited nor bypassed.  He begins at the starting point of Spiritual Life and progresses to the ultimate of experience and overcoming.

The starting point is Justification by Faith.  If we have not received Jesus as our Savior, we most assuredly do not have the next portion, Peace with God.  Our Peace comes through the finished work of Jesus and comes through the door of faith.  We enter into Grace through Faith, not works or pedigrees.  It is not hereditary. It is faith that opens the door to God’s Grace and Salvation.  It is faith that brings us to a state of Justification.  Without faith, we are told it is Impossible to Please God, and I might add, Impossible to Access God. 

Paul speaks of “This Grace” in which we stand and then the result of “Rejoicing in the Hope of the Glory of God.”  Hope is defined as “to trust, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.”  In the Old Testament, several words are translated, Hope.  Jeremiah 14:22 declares, “Our hope is in You.” 

In this case, it means Trust, and he identifies God as worthy of trust.  The Israelites were also encouraged to Wait on the Lord.  Psalm 25:21 declares, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.”  Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”  Jeremiah 8:15 identifies the reality that Looking is akin to Hoping, “We looked for peace, but no good cause came; and for a time of health, and there was trouble!”  In the New Testament, Paul speaks of “setting our hope on God.” (1 Timothy 4:10).  Jeremiah proclaimed that God is the Hope of Israel and Paul declares in 1 Timothy 1:1 that “Jesus Christ is our Hope.”

But Paul did not stop with the beauty of Hope in Christ. He addressed the real-life issue of difficulty, tribulation, trials, struggles, and trouble and said, “…we also glory in tribulations….”  What?  Do you remember the words of James, “Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations…”?  Paul explains his assertion by telling us the benefit that comes to the believer after or during testing in trouble.  It helps us to Persevere! 

I think of the disciples’ words when the crowd left Jesus after He delivered a difficult message.  Jesus turned to them and asked, “Will you also go away?”  They said, “Lord, where would we go? You have the word of eternal life.”  There is no hope, name, or source of salvation, so we must Persevere!   Giving up is not an option.  Paul tells us that perseverance produces or builds character. 

I preached this once and had a man tell me, “Preacher, I could stand a little less character.”  No, we cannot.  We need the development of Christlikeness in our lives, and as we endure trials, we develop a determination to Stand. As we Persevere, we find that Character is developed and produces Hope in our hearts.  Hope can be identified as Trust, Confidence, and Expectation.

The next statement of Paul is incredible and explains something that too many seem to miss.  Hope does not disappoint.  Human hope may and often does, but Hope in God does not disappoint Because…   That’s the key!  Hear what he says, “Because the Love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Hope is anchored in the Love of God, and as God’s Love is poured into our hearts, our Hope, Confidence, Trust, and Assurance are solidified.  If you are struggling with difficulty and it seems that the flood waters of life are too overwhelming, cry out for More Love, not Less Trouble.

May the Lord richly bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

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