Assurance of Justification
3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. NKJV
There is another way of seeing the first two verses. Rom 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. NKJV
Instead of saying that when we believe and are justified by faith that then we have peace with God, we could say that peace with God is an indicator that we have been justified. And instead of saying that when we are justified that we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, we could say that those who rejoice in the hope of the glory of God are justified.
The directions that one uses to make something could also be used to let him know that he had found one. So it is that these things that happen by the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life when they are born-again can also be indicators that they have been born again. In our study of First John some years ago we discovered the that John tells us what a person looks like as a Christian. These same things can be used to indicate that one is a Christian or give them assurance that God has done a work of grace in their heart.
Now in addition to the things that Paul mentions in verses 1 & 2 he says “and not only that.” What Paul is saying is there are some even more striking characteristics of a Christian.
I. But we also glory in tribulations
A. The word glory here is the same word used in v-2 (we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.)
1. The idea, remember is to boast, to rejoice.
a. NT:2744 kauchaomai (kow-khah'-om-ahee); from some (obsolete) base akin to that of aucheo (to boast) and NT:2172; to vaunt (in a good or a bad sense): KJV - (make) boast, glory, joy, rejoice. (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
b. Now some may think that Paul here has went off his nut. Are we to glory, rejoice in tribulations! But the truth is that this is common talk in the N.T.
c. Now I know that that kind of talk is contrary to the health and wealth gospel that is preached by so many on radio and television. But let us let the scriptures say what they say.
2. Christians are not exempt from tribulations.
a. Matt 5:10-12 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. NKJV
b. Luke 6:22-23 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. NKJV
c. John 16:33 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."NKJV
(1) How lame is it to tell people that if you just come to Jesus, then everything will be wonderful, no more problems, no more trials.
(2) Now Jesus said we should pray that God would not lead us into temptations, adversity. No one would desire them but they will come. What will we do with them?
d. Acts 5:40-42 .41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. NKJV
e. Rom 8:35-38 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. NKJV
f. 2 Cor 11:23-30 23 Are they ministers of Christ? -- I speak as a fool -- I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.25 three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness --28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity NKJV
g. 2 Cor 12:8-10 .9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. NKJV
h. Phil 1:29-30 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, NKJV
i. James 1:2-5 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. NKJV
j. 1 Peter 1:6-8 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, NKJV
k. 1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. NKJV
l. 2 Thess 1:4-6 we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; NKJV
B. IN Tribulations
1. Some have the idea that this means that we just keep on even in the face of these trials.
a. Sort of like a patient endurance.
b. But that is not what he is speaking.
c. It is a positive rejoicing, boasting glorying on account of these trials.
d. Remember the passage from Acts 5 Acts 5:40-42 .41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.
e. we are not simply to muddle through these and get through them the best we can.
f. We are to see them in a positive light as from the hand of God to work in us, as Paul says, 2 Cor 4:17 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; KJV
2. Paul sees sufferings not as something that we must endure, but as a means that the Lord uses to conform us into the image of Christ.
3. Anyone can rejoice in health and prosperity but God calls us to rejoice in the trials that come our way because they purify us from the things of this world.
4. If you have never read anything from Joni Erickson, you need to. She is a living example of this.
5. Or read some testimonies of Christians who are persecuted for their faith. Read how they love and pray for their persecutors. Read how they suffer all things that they might bring those who hate them to Jesus Christ.
C. There is also another aspect of this suffering as is found in the book of Hebrews.
1. Heb 12:3-9 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. NKJV
2. There is another reason why none of us are without trials. It is because we all need discipline for we are all sin.
3. Paul says quite dramatically here that if you are without chastisement then you are illegitimate and not a true son of God.
D. What is Paul saying?
1. He is saying that those who have been justified by faith have peace with God and they rejoice in tribulations.
2. People handle tribulations mainly one of two ways.
a. Either they complain to God and become bitter toward Him or they submit to the chastening work of God in their lives and rejoice that God cares about them enough to continue to work in their lives.
b. The worst thing God can do to a person is let them go.
(1) Let them go on in their complacency and sin.
(2) That only leads down hill and to destruction.
c. A beautiful illustration of this is found in Hab 3:17-19
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls --
18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer's feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills. NKJV
d. Job 13:15-16 15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. 16 He also shall be my salvation, NKJV
3. It is a defining characteristic of God’s children that they rejoice in tribulations knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
We all have trials in our lives. Some are physical, while others are financial. Some trials are the result of relationships that have gone wrong. But the way we handle these trials is a indication of our relationship with God. A pastor stood bedside the bed of a dear old suffering saint. The pastor asked how he might pray for her. She replied, Pray that I do not waste all this suffering.”
Let these things have their perfect work. That you might come out the other side more like Jesus.