Summary: Part 13 of the Romans series dealing with the necessity of trials in achieveing glory.
Chico Alliance Church
August 26, 2001
Pastor David Welch
“The Rugged Path to Glory”
I. Receive the gift of God’s righteousness by faith 1-5
A. God proves every man needs His righteousness 1-3
B. God explains and illustrates His way to righteousness 3:21-4:25
C. Justification results in multiple benefits 5:1-21
1. Benefits of justification highlighted 5:1-11
Paul bounces back and forth through time looking at various benefits stemming from God’s work of grace in our life – justification. Justification is to declare righteous or pronounce not guilty.
The fact that Christ died on our behalf made this pronunciation of not guilty by the judge of the universe possible without compromising His own law or holy character. God established the punishment for rebellion. Jesus bore the punishment for us. With sin out of the way, restored relationship with God became possible. It was this past grace of justification that makes present peace possible. We have been reconciled with God and may now enjoy a relationship of peace. The war is over. Paul encourages these believers to internalize or personally celebrate this new blessing of peace with God.
He also encourages them to confidently proclaim with enthusiasm (exult) their sure expectation of one day fully reflecting the glory of God. It is our destiny to become like Jesus both spiritually and physically. Both His soul and spirit were glorious and we are promised that we will be transformed into both the image of soul and of his glorious resurrected body. That is our sure future, but what about in the mean time?
a) Enjoy peace with God
b) Exult in hope of reflecting the glory of God in the future.
Max Lucado summarizes the change from chapter three to chapter 5.
“Because of God’s grace we go from being people whose “throats are like open graves” (Psa 5:9) to being participants of God’s glory. We were washed up and put out; now we are called up and put in.”
Paul whisks us back from a future glimpse at the end product to follow the daily process operating in the present. Not only can we exult in the hope of the end product but in the process as well.
c) Exult in present tribulations that produce future character
Since the end of the war with God, we acquired a different outlook about things. Since the end of the war with God we begin to adopt a new outlook concerning difficulty. Enmity with God caused a suspicion, fear, distrust, blame, anger, and disappointment. Justification paves the way for a new understanding of life in a rebellious world. One of the areas affected by this new relationship is a new outlook regarding pain, suffering and tribulation. Not that it all gets figured out but a new attitude toward it begins to come into focus. This passage describes the character developing process.
Lets look at each stage.
“Exult in tribulations”
This is the same word used previously meaning to boast or verbalize something with confident and enthusiastic fervor. Paul instructs us to continually boast or verbalize our enthusiastic attitude regarding “tribulations.”
What are tribulations? The word is used often in the New Testament.
It is translated by the following English words -- affliction(14), afflictions(6), anguish(1), distress(2), persecution(1), tribulation(16), tribulations(4), trouble(1).
Literally, it means “to crush, press, compress, squeeze, to break.”
It describes the pain of persecution by those in opposition to Christianity. Jesus said in the world you WILL have tribulation.
• It is used in relation to the pain of childbirth.
• It is used to describe the difficulties experienced by Joseph that God delivered out of eventually. That includes rejection, the trial of pompous, jealous siblings, slave labor, hard work, false accusation, isolation, rejection, ridicule, ungratefulness, improper sexual advances.
• Paul uses it to describe marital mayhem.
But if you should marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin should marry, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. 1 Cor. 7:28
• It is used to describe emotional trauma. (Concern for the churches)
• It is used to describe financial difficulty.
• It is used of the general difficulties associated with life in a fallen world.
Paul calls a number of the difficulties he experienced as “tribulations” or afflictions.
Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 2 Cor. 11:23-28