Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tribulation to hope...

[Bible study on Romans - post 8]

 Romans is calling me again. The truths it contains are just so profound!  And so important to understand!

So this morning I opened up to where I left off in my Romans Bible study way back when... and I'm not sure I understand all of what comes next. 


I last shared these verses:
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 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."

But those verses are followed by these, which are Romans 5:3-5:
"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 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."

How often do you exult in tribulations?

I can't help smiling as I ask that question, because I'm thinking your response to that question probably isn't all that different than mine.  Exult? I think that's something a little more than "trust God" or "endure with patience."  It probably doesn't mean "hang tight to God and want to hide until the tribulation is over." 

Yes? No?

You see... I know what the word "exult" means. As some other translations put it, it's "to glory" or "to rejoice."  Yeah. It is not a natural thing to do in tribulation.

There are two ways of translating that "in tribulation" though. This verse is not saying that we exult "about the tribulation." It's saying we exult "in the midst of" or "through" our tribulation.

Many of us still are not a part of the "we who exult" group, though, are we?

I wonder if maybe this is because we don't truly understand the rest of the verse?

The end result of it... is hope. A hope that does not disappoint. A hope that is not empty and worthless.

How is that possible?  That's what I am asking the Lord this morning, for I don't quite think I've received the full understanding of it. I see how tribulation brings about perseverance, and I totally understand how perseverance brings about proven character.  But how does all this result in hope?

It says it does this "because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Can it be that, in walking through tribulations and developing perseverance, we we somehow come to know the fullness of the love that God has? That somehow it helps us come to see how it is even poured out toward those who persecute us? That it is poured out... poured out... even on us?

Lord, show us what the links are between tribulation and hope. Show us where we've missed it so that we are not excluded from the "we" who are free to exult and rejoice even in tribulation, and show that we fully understand and see and know the hope that exists because of it. 


(If you like, you can go to the index of posts on Romans.)

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