Bible Words (16 May 2016)
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. 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.
Words used by Christians – in Bible, theology, hymns…
- results are good but little comfort
- can we have an alternative?
- Some people “enjoy” poor health
- If you “boast” in your sufferings do people listen – or have worse stories?
- There are some forms of suffering we can’t avoid:
- Life experiences; family, neighbours, travel,
- Natural events
- Disease, illness
- There are some forms of suffering we can avoid; eg persecution by keeping quiet
- Bible, in apostles teaching and directly from Jesus we have been warned what to expect:
- John 15:18-20 ‘If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.
- Christians are treated pretty gently
- Romans 8:35-39 (NIVUK) – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 5 – more encouragement: knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope
- Small children don’t have much endurance but learn it
- When we lack endurance we feel guilt; the way life is, you can’t do without it.
- Endurance in adults wins admiration and respect
- It shows in what we call “character”
- If we are suffering for Christ’s sake then we can give thanks – rejoice – that our testimony for Christ is having its effect!
- This is an important word in the passage: “THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified”
- Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
- ? cf Ten Court of Hell for Buddhists.
- Jesus’ judgment on me (and you?): there’s nothing wrong with him.
- Any penalty or punishment for him has been paid: “I took it”, says Jesus.
- Because we place our faith in Jesus; accepting that he died to take the blame, penalty and power of any fault there has been in us then at the judgment we are seen as clean, forgiven, sinless and acceptable as Jesus.
- It is just as if I’d never sinned
- Because of this… “SINCE we are justified by faith” we have the next word:
- Jesus never promised to bring peace to the world; he warned there would be troubles between people, even troubles within families.
- At Jesus’ birth the angels announced:
- Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”
- Because we are justified we are put right with God: there is peace between God and me, between God and you, between God the Father and you the child
- That peace is described as passing all understanding. It’s not something you can pass on, fully describe or explain to people who do not have it. It is a deep and personal.
- we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand
- This is not something we have earned, not something we have worked for, not something we deserve. It comes by the undeserved, unearned, powerful favour of Jesus as a free gift: Justification, faith, peace come to us by grace.
- We can relax in and enjoy the peace we have with God, giving thanks that he has exercised his grace and made us right with him.
- and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. … and hope does not disappoint us.
- Have you ever hoped for something and were disappointed? Do I need to give illustrations or examples?
- The hope mentioned here is not wishful thinking or dependent on chance. The words might and perhaps do not apply.
- Eg You might drop a book and hope it will go down instead of up. Of course it goes down – we have no way of overcoming the law of universal gravitation. Our hope is fulfilled.
- In the same way we are confident that God will keep his word and although we do not in this life share the glory of God, we are absolutely sure that we will. It is a confident expectation we can have because God cannot fail. It is a hope in that it has not yet happened. But it is a sure and certain hope we have since we are justified. This hope will NOT disappoint us.
- As a “down payment”, a guarantee, an assurance that the hope we have will come true “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
- With such assurance “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God
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