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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #16 “Eight Blessings of Belief” (A Study of Romans 5:1-5) Blessing #5a

06 Jan

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 5 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

Here are the eight blessings that I see in this passage:

1. Justified through faith (v. 1)

2. Peace with God

3. Gained access into this grace (v. 2)

4. Boasting in the hope of the glory of God

5. Glory in our sufferings (vv. 3-4)

6. A hope that does not put us to shame (v. 5)

7. God’s love poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit

8. The Holy Spirit has been given to us

We will think about each of these blessings — one by one — in subsequent posts. Let’s notice this morning the fifth blessing: WE CAN NOW GLORY IN OUR SUFFERINGS (vv. 3-4)!

That just seems pathological, perverted, twisted, abnormal, doesn’t it? We flee suffering. We avoid it like the plague (and we do all we can to avoid plagues too). Why in the world would we “glory” in our sufferings?

Well, we are never told in Scripture to pursue suffering. But suffering inevitably comes to the child of God. Suffering we did not choose for ourselves. Suffering we cannot escape. But what use do we make of suffering?

We follow our Savior, that’s what we do! And He told us clearly that we would suffer.

In the West we suffer from a poor theology of . . . suffering! We do. We need to get back to the Scriptures and recover a biblical glorying in our suffering!

The Lord Jesus said in John 15:20 “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” Acts 9:16 records God’s declaration about the newly converted Saul: “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Here are several clear, biblical statements about the believer’s suffering:
1. We share in Christ’s sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Rom. 8:17).
2. We are to do a cost/benefit analysis and realize that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18).
3. Suffering and glory are often connected with each other in Scripture, such as in Ephesians 3:13- “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.”
4. We learn that suffering is a grant, a gift. Philippians 1:29 says, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him . . .” According to the Apostle Paul, it is a privilege to participate in Christ’s sufferings as integral to getting to know Christ (Phil. 3:10).
5. Paul actually invites the believers in 2 Timothy to “join with me in suffering for the gospel” (1:8; cf. 2:3).
6. We also have several references to suffering in I Peter (we’re to follow in Christ’s steps in suffering, 2:21; we’re to suffer for what is right, 3:14; we’re to rejoice in participating in the sufferings of Christ, 4:13; we are to praise God that we suffer as Christians, 4:16; we’ve been called to God’s eternal glory in Christ after we have suffered a little while, 5:10).

But how do we glory in our suffering? We will tackle that question in our next post on this topic of suffering.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2021 in Romans 5

 

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