Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Joy in tribulations

Romans 5:1-5

5:1 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 More than that, 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.

In considering the progression of the verses above, John Murray, in his commentary on Romans, indicates that the process begins with tribulation-we rejoice in our sufferings-and terminates in hope. However, we see in verse 2 that preceding the even the tribulations is a glorying in hope. So, "He [Paul] has described a circle, beginning with hope and therefore ending with hope.This drives home the lesson that the glorying in tribulations is not something disassociated from rejoicing in hope of the glory of God; it is not even coordinate or complimentary. Glorying in tribulations is subordinate. We glory in tribulations because they have an eschatological orientation-they subserve the interests of hope." We as Christians are not masochist; tribulations do not terminate on themselves. Our joy in trials and difficulties is grounded in hope that has its fulfillment in the future; our trials are to be rejoiced in because they terminate on God. We will be with Him. Forever.

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