Do We Rejoice in our Sufferings?

Romans 5:1-2 ESV

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

What does it mean to be justified? It means to be made righteous, to be made right with God via God-given faith in Jesus Christ. And it means to be conformed to a proper standard, i.e. to be made upright. By faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with him in death to sin and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. But this is not just a status, for the Scriptures teach that whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as God is righteous.

And what is faith? Well, Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith, so this faith conforms to his righteousness. And faith is gifted to us by God, and we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, i.e. unless he persuades us as to his righteousness and holiness and of our sinfulness, and of our need to turn from our lives of living in sin and for self to walks of obedience to him and to his commands. And faith is obedience, for the Scriptures teach that disobedience is unbelief.

But it isn’t just that, for we have many examples in the Scriptures of people living out their faith and that faith involves obedience. In Hebrews 11, which is often regarded as the faith chapter of the Bible, we have many examples of people who by faith obeyed the Lord and did as he commanded. And then we have the teachings in the Scriptures which tell us that if we do not obey the Lord and if we do not walk in his righteousness that we do not have eternal life with God, so there again obedience is necessary to our faith.

And faith is not a one-time thing which takes place in our lives and now our eternal salvation is secured us no matter how we live our lives. Faith has to be ongoing and it has to be present, not just past, and it has to continue until the very end or we do not have the hope of heaven as our eternal destiny. As well, our salvation is not a one-time thing which takes place and now we are “good to go.” Every day we must die with Christ to sin and walk in obedience to his commands, as a matter of life practice.

And our salvation is not going to be complete until Jesus Christ returns and he takes his bride to be with him forever. So, we are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) provided that we continue in Christ steadfast to the end in the forsaking of sin and in walks of obedience to our Lord and in walking in his righteousness and holiness and in loving our fellow humans. For if we walk in deliberate and habitual sin, instead, we will not enter into the kingdom of heaven, no matter what we profess with our lips. If we don’t obey God, heaven is not our home.

So, just know here that you can’t just claim to believe in Jesus and now you are made righteous in God’s sight and now heaven is your eternal home regardless of how you live your life on this earth. True faith involves true repentance (dying to sin daily) and walking in obedience to our Lord, and it must be continuous until the end. But the good news is that when our faith is genuine, and when we are walking by that faith, we do have peace with God. Amen!

And one more thing here. God’s grace to us is not permission to keep living in deliberate and habitual sin, for if we do, we will not enter into the kingdom of heaven, but hell will be our eternal destiny, instead. For God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to renounce (or to say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts (passions), and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; Rom 8:24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; Ac 26:18]

Romans 5:3-5 ESV

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

The Scriptures teach us that we are blessed who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. We are blessed of God when others revile us and persecute us and utter all kinds of evil against us falsely on the Lord’s account. We will be hated for the sake of the name of Jesus who follow Jesus Christ in obedience and who do as he commands. Especially if we are those who are proclaiming the truth of the gospel and who are testing the spirits and who are exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness, we will be opposed.

But persecution is not the only suffering we will face. We will face all kinds of sufferings. We will get hurt, be in pain and agony, grieve, go through trials and tribulations, and face all kinds of difficult circumstances. But all these are for our good to produce in us steadfastness, perseverance, endurance and godly character and hope. And suffering helps us to grow to maturity in Christ and that we might share in God’s holiness. Through suffering we learn to rely on God and not on ourselves and we gain compassion for others.

Although suffering is difficult and it is painful, if we respond properly to our suffering in faith and in trust in the Lord and in his sovereignty over our lives then we will reap the benefits of suffering. And suffering also serves to test the genuiness of our faith to either prove that we are not in the true faith or to prove that we are, and if it proves we are not, then we need to repent of our sins and turn to follow Jesus Christ with our lives in obedience and in submission to him as Lord. And one day we will be with him forever.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

Songwriters: Cordelia J. Whiteside Bridgewater, 1920 / Andy Pickens Bland

We read of a place that’s called heaven,
It’s made for the pure and the free;
These truths in God’s word He has given,
How beautiful heaven must be.

In heaven no drooping nor pining,
No wishing for elsewhere to be;
God’s light is forever, there shining,
How beautiful heaven must be.

How beautiful heaven must be
Sweet home of the happy and free;
Fair haven of rest for the weary,
How beautiful heaven must be

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