Summary: Our faith starts with, and ends with, our great hope of glorification
“THEREFORE HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, 2 THROUGH WHOM ALSO WE HAVE OBTAINED OUR INTRODUCTION BY FAITH INTO THIS GRACE IN WHICH WE STAND, AND WE EXULT IN HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD. 3 AND NOT ONLY THIS, BUT WE ALSO EXULT IN OUR TRIBULATIONS, KNOWING THAT TRIBULATION BRINGS ABOUT PERSEVERANCE; 4 AND PERSEVERANCE, PROVEN CHARACTER; AND PROVEN CHARACTER, HOPE; 5 AND HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT, BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD HAS BEEN POURED OUT WITHIN OUR HEARTS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO WAS GIVEN TO US. 6 FOR WHILE WE WERE STILL HELPLESS, AT THE RIGHT TIME CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY. 7 FOR ONE WILL HARDLY DIE FOR A RIGHTEOUS MAN, THOUGH PERHAPS FOR THE GOOD MAN SOMEONE WOULD DARE EVEN TO DIE. 8 BUT GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS OWN LOVE TOWARD US, IN THAT WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US. 8 MUCH MORE THEN, HAVING NOW BEEN JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, WE SHALL BE SAVED FROM THE WRATH OF GOD THROUGH HIM. 10 FOR IF WHILE WE WERE ENEMIES, WE WERE RECONCILED TO GOD THROUGH THE DEATH OF HIS SON, MUCH MORE, HAVING BEEN RECONCILED, WE SHALL BE SAVED BY HIS LIFE.”
These verses contain material for a whole lot of sermons, and I included all ten so you could get a full picture of what Paul is saying. But I want to focus primarily on what has been referred to as “THE CIRCLE OF GLORY”.
Paul says something here in Romans 5 that sounds very strange to our human ears. He says that as Christians we can actually be content and even joyful during bad times.
Here is why. First of all, notice that verse one says we have Peace with God through our relationship with Christ.
Absolute peace. God holds nothing against us a believers.
Why? Because through our faith (believing), Christ has ushered us into God’s grace and we stand before Him clean.
In addition to this, says Paul, (verse 3) we can exult (which means ‘rejoice’, or ‘have joy’) even in our tribulations (which means trials, testings, bad times) “knowing”, ...see that word? He presupposes that we know this truth. He can do that, because the Spirit of God in us helps us understand these things...
“Knowing that tribulation produces perseverance” That word perseverance means endurance. We all know that when we work our muscles, they get used to the stress and work becomes easier with time. Right? Well, when we go through bad times trusting God, we build endurance for those rough times. The result of that is “proven character”. Now the best way to describe proven character, is this way; “We get a sense of God’s approval”. When you’ve done a good job, and you know you’ve done a good job, and you look up and see your boss nodding his head and smiling, you get a feeling of ‘approvedness’, or, having been approved. Same here.
When we go through tough times remembering to trust God, our faith gets stronger and we become more like Jesus, and in our spirit we sense God’s approval.
And that builds our hope, or our expectedness of final victory and life in God’s presence. And we’ll never be disappointed for having that hope, because, (says verse 5), the Holy Spirit in us gives us a sense of God’s love...and His very presence in us is like confirmation of His promise that we will one day be with Him.
So to recap: we hope in the glory of God (in other words, wait patiently for glorification), which helps us trust Him through tribulations, which builds perseverance, which brings a sense of His approval (proven character), which builds our hope.
THE CIRCLE OF GLORY.