Friday, July 15, 2011

We're Coming Out Stronger! - July 15th, 2011

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory 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.
Romans 5:1-5

History and Context:
Romans is sometimes called 'the Gospel according to Paul'. It is a letter written to the church in Rome, but it contains the most complete Gospel message out of all the Epistles. In fact, one of the most taught methods of evangelism contains what is known as the 'Romans Road'; a series of scriptures from Romans which lead one down the path of salvation. Bible historians believe that the church in Rome was self established, without the help of one of the apostles. They were a mixture of Jews and Gentiles and often quarrelled on what the requirements fr salvation were and which rules from the Torah needed to be followed.Paul's letter is attempting to answer those questions while also presenting a thorough overview of the Gospel message. For a little bit more on Romans see my post here.

The Text:
The first big issue that Paul tackles in his letter to the Romans is the issue of law vs. grace. This is a huge issue for his audience as the Jews in Rome kept insisting that the Greeks do something for their salvation; namely circumcision. Paul contends that we are justified simply through our faith. Our faith brings us peace and access to the grace of God which then allows us to glory, not only in God, but also in our trials and tribulations. Paul then lists the sequence of benefits from the hardships that we go through; perseverence, character, and hope. And that hope has already been fulfilled in the fact that we already have God's love through the Holy Spirit. In short, our faith allows us to recieve the grace of God which not only gives us forgiveness, but also gives us the ability to achieve perseverence, character, and hope by rejoicing in our hard times.

The Challenge:
Are you going through a difficult time? Maybe you are short on your finances this month, or you're stuck in a job you hate. Maybe a family member just passed, or you had to move from all your friends and family. It could be something small or something big, the principle is always the same. Paul shows us that through our faith in God and in His grace, we recieve the ability to rejoice in these trials. So wherever you are, Rejoice! Glory in these trials! Because you know that God is not only bringing you out on the other side, but He is bringing you out stronger! He is bringing you out perseverence, character, and finally hope. Hope in the salvation and blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Prayer:
Lord, thank you for the trials you have put in my life. I understand now how they are benefiting me and helping me in my growth. Thank you that you are bringing me out of them, and bringing me out stronger, ready for your work! I pray Lord, that you would help me to understand and recognize what it is you are doing in me in this time.Give me your thoughts, give me your understanding, help me to see the world as you see it. Thank you Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen!

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