“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 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. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 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)
In his magnum opus of theology, the Apostle Paul, after setting forth the need for salvation in Romans 1:18-4:25, articulates the benefits and blessings of salvation beginning in 5:1-5. He immediately communicates that those who have been justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone have three specific blessings: (1) peace with God; (2) access to God by grace; and (3) hope in the glory of God.
Additionally to rejoicing in the confident expectation of eternally being in the presence of God, the apostle then says the believer in Christ is to rejoice in their sufferings. Sufferings (θλίψεσιν; thilpsesin) refers to troubles, persecutions and pain. It may also be defined as tribulation.
The believer in Christ is to presently and actively have confidence in the Lord, even while in the midst of their tribulation, because the believer in Christ knows and understands these specific sufferings produce endurance. Endurance (ὑπομονὴν; hypomonen) is the capacity to continually bear up under difficult circumstances.
The verb “produces” (κατεργάζεται; katergazetai) means to cause to be, to make or to result in a goal being accomplished. It is something being done with thoroughness.
Endurance then produces character. Character (δοκιμήν; dokimen) means proven and tested reliability. It refers to an individual who possesses and examine and tested genuineness. The individual is a person of integrity.
Character results in hope. Hope (ἐλπίδα; elpida) is confidence to that which is good and beneficial. The confidence we have is that God is doing a work within our souls to conform each believer to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and that He promises to complete that work (Philippians 1:6).
Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon writes, “Here is a precious truth for you, believer. You may be poor or suffering or unknown, but for your encouragement take a moment to review your calling and the consequences that flow from it, and especially the blessed result spoken of here. As surely as you are God’s child today, so surely will all your trials soon come to an end, and you shall be rich to an extent that is hard to imagine. Wait awhile, and your weary head will wear the crown of glory, and the worker’s hand shall grasp the palm-branch of victory. Do not bemoan your troubles, but rather rejoice that before long you will be where no longer “shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore.”1 The chariots of fire are at your door, and it will take only a moment to transport you to the glorified. The everlasting song is almost on your lip. The portals of heaven stand open for you.”
Spurgeon concludes, “Do not think that you can fail to enter into your rest. If He has called you, nothing can divide you from His love. Distress cannot sever the bond; the fire of persecution cannot burn the link; the hammer of hell cannot break the chain. You are secure; that voice which called you at first shall call you yet again from earth to heaven, from death’s dark gloom to immortality’s unuttered splendors. Rest assured, the heart of Him who has justified you beats with infinite love toward you. You will soon be with the glorified, where your portion is; you are only waiting here to be made ready for the inheritance, and with that done, the wings of angels shall carry you far away, to the mount of peace and joy and blessedness, where Far from a world of grief and sin, With God eternally shut in, you shall rest forever and ever.”
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!