Monday, April 15, 2013

Exulting in Tribulations

“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, AND NOT ONLY THIS, but we also EXULT  in our tribulations…”Romans 5:1-3
The context of this incredible, jaw dropping, how do I really “get this” truth, should not be overlooked.  This letter (my personal favorite) was written to the Roman Church.  We know that the church at Rome (not begun by Paul) was a church that was renowned among Christendom.  Romans  1:8 “your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.”  Paul longed to go there “to impart some spiritual gift to you that you may be established.”(Rom.1:11)  In the meantime; however, God through Paul imparted a spiritual gift to all of us through this letter that has often (and rightly so) been called the constitution of our faith.  The letter, I might add that God used to change one of my favorite spiritual heroes, Martin Luther.
Yes, I digress, sorry.  Ok, so back to the context and interpretation of our verse. Because Paul did not establish the church in Rome, nor had he been able to even visit Rome (at the time of his writing), God through him explains all of the particulars of our faith.  Romans 1, God is evident through the creation and all men are “without excuse”, Romans 2, The Jews are also “without excuse” in that they teach truth they do not live, and then Romans 3, so everyone is “without excuse” and we all need Jesus.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”  Romans 4, the chapter of chapters in the Bible, explaining and liberating all in that Righteousness comes by faith, by faith Abraham was made righteous.  Not by his works.  So, I did nothing to deserve God’s salvation and cannot lose it.  A gift is not a payment.  Praise Jesus!
Now to our verse, Romans 5 begins with (in Sarah-speak) “How cool is it that we (being the worms we all are) actually have peace with God, and we stand (or live) in this peace.  So, this is something we are naturally so pumped up about that we Can’t stand it, AND because of that continual amazement, we are able to rejoice in our trials.
So, our rejoicing in our trials is invariably connected to our hope in salvation, this link is often overlooked and to our detriment.  What does the fact that I am saved, not by works, and even stay in peace with God, have to do with the fact that:
I am in a terrible financial fix
My child is undergoing very painful trials (albeit some by her own making)  
          Sometimes, I can’t breathe well… etc, etc,
EVERYTHING!  I have peace with God.  He loves me and accepts me.  I cannot lose that.  Our lives are like a blade of grass, so does anything else truly matter?  Think about that for a minute...  Think of the big IF of God not changing a single thing in the trials in your life.  Does it matter?  Truly?  You may say, “does not faith consist of assurance of things hoped for?” (Hebrews 11:1)  Yes, but are these “things hoped for” necessarily given in this life or are the things hoped for more eternal in nature?  God wrote the Bible and His  perspective is always eternal, and does not line up with ours. Our perspective is unfortunately tainted by the here and now.
We know from Hebrews 11 that the “hall of famers” of faith were desiring a better country, a heavenly one (11:16).  Many of them died without seeing the awaited promise of the new covenant (the city they desired) men of whom the world was not worthy…(11:37)  When their earthly circumstances put them through horrors unimaginable to us (i.e., being sawed in two, etc).  They were still desiring the heavenly country.  You don’t see that they petitioned God incessantly for a better deal here.  This is not our home so why should we be comfortable?
You see our lessons from scripture should be: NOT to “hang in there” and then God will give you what you want, which is quite possibly something earthly and passing away.   NO, our lesson is DESIRE the things of God.  Party, as a way of Life, that you are a partaker in the new covenant and so able to “stand” in peace with God.  We have received everything worth having and that my friends, cannot be taken away.
Yes, God wants us to be happy and yes He does answer prayers with exceeding and abundant blessings; quite often, and always for His glory.  My point is, He has already given us more than we could ever sincerely be thankful enough for, why not live in light of what you and I neglect instead of bemoaning the passing away silliness of this world, which is not our home anyway.  J  I am preaching to myself, believe me. ‘
May we all be women “of whom the world is not worthy” and fix our eyes on Jesus, knowing we are given breath to correctly glorify or show HIM, with every minute we are given.  Everything else is incidental……

Sarah Beasley


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