Article of the Month
In Romans 5:2-5 there is
a beautiful thought for sincere Christians which can
easily escape our notice. In these verses, the Apostle
uses the word “EXULT” twice, but with very
different objectives. In the New American
Standard translation, the passage reads:
“…we exult in hope of the glory of God.
And not only this, but we also exult in
tribulations, knowing that
tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope;
And hope does not
If we analyze this
passage in some detail, we find practical blessings for
our Christian growth that give us a stability in our
relationship with God.
1. First, notice that two exultings are mentioned —
exulting in HOPE, and exulting in TRIBULATION. It is
easy to see how our hope would cause exultation; but
Paul wants us to see how tribulation can do the same
2. Next, we notice that Paul shows a THREE-STEP
process which will CONNECT tribulation and
hope. We will consider this in a moment.
3. Some definitions are needed before our
understanding can increase.
HOPE is something we are
awaiting. In this context, Paul says it is “hope of the
glory of God.” What does he mean? He is referring to
the Christian’s hope of attaining the same nature as God
— the Divine nature (immortality). Jesus has already
attained this, and the Apostle John promises that we
will also if our hopes are fulfilled. (See I John 3:2,
refers to the difficult experiences which a Christian
must have in order to eliminate his fleshly thinking and
to perfect his spiritual thinking.
is not just putting up with something over a long period
of time, but it is (more importantly) a demonstration
that we don’t give up BECAUSE WE PERPETUALLY AND TOTALLY
TRUST God to work out our experiences for our good. (See
is just that! It is a character which has proven itself
over time regardless of the nature of the experiences it
has had to endure. With these definitions made, we can
now analyze Paul’s message with confidence.
4. Paul is saying this:
♦ We are very excited
and uplifted; we are exulting in the prospects of
the Divine nature and the blessings it will afford to us
for future service to our God. But this excitement is
still ONLY A HOPE.
♦ While we await that
hope, we can find another very current and ongoing
excitement or exultation. We can, unlike everyone else
in the world, look at all of our negative experiences
(tribulations) as PROGRESS — as stepping stones to being
worthy of attaining our hope. We can actually learn to
have an appreciation and thankfulness for our
troubles. How can this be? It is the case because of a
The longer we have negative experiences, the more we
need, request, and rely on
God’s help and direction. This continual looking
to Him and trusting Him is called perseverance. It is
not just “putting up with” our lives, it is
RELYING ON GOD to weigh our experiences for our good.
Perseverance demonstrates TRUST. We persevere BECAUSE
we trust, not because we are strong or stubborn
or because we can’t find another way out!
Because long-term trust is the very proof and the
requirement of our character maturity, perseverance
brings about character. It molds it, and it seals it.
Thus Paul is saying that our perseverance in tribulation
is in fact the brick-laying of our character.
Finally, if we have the character which God approves,
our “hope” has its security. It no longer is a
shaky hope; it is an established hope. Thus Paul
concludes that “proven character (brings about secure)
hope.” That Paul means SECURE or CERTAIN hope is
proven by his final statement: “And hope does not
disappoint.” In other words, some hopes are
not realized; but this hope, having developed the
required character, IS secure — it won’t be
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The lesson is so faith-strengthening. It comes down to
the simple truth that the real objective of our
consecrated lives is to bring our every thought into
willing and joyful acceptance of God’s over-rulings.
Once God is assured of this total acceptance on our part
of all He does, He puts His stamp of approval on our
character and says, “Well done! Your hope is reached.”
Once we have seen this
concept which Paul presents, we begin to find it in many
places in Scripture. Just one such place is in James
1:2-4. James uses different words from Paul’s, but his
conclusion is the same: Enjoy your trials
because this produces an enduring trust in God.
That enduring trust makes you complete in your Christian
character, lacking nothing. James’ exact words are:
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter
various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith
produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect
result, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete,
lacking in nothing.”
James has the same
three-step explanation as Paul:
(1) Value your trials; they will give you perfect
(2) Your perfect trust will be your maturity.
(3) Your maturity is your objective.
The world of mankind has
no reason to exult in tribulation. What an honor it is
for us to have this special perspective!
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