1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through 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. 3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance, 4and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
I don’t know about you, but there’s something about the peace and tranquility of a quiet Sunday afternoon nap that seems to take all of life’s cares away. I believe God created those occasions to “be still,” and we find in scripture, Jesus even taking time on occasion Himself, to be away from the crowds to become rested, refreshed, and refocused on His heavenly Father. The Apostle Paul begins here with two essential elements of our faith, first being “Justification by Faith” meaning we have gained access to God and salvation through Christ Jesus alone, and secondly, we have “access by faith into this grace (The Free Gift of Salvation – Ephesians 2:8-9) in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
Paul continues to explain that in light of these essential elements of our faith, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” The theme of Suffering continually arises throughout scripture as one of God’s greatest tools for molding and shaping His people to make them more like Him, drawing them nearer to Himself. We must also notice that if we respond rightly to this suffering, God brings about glory and honor to Himself, and life transformation to us. Take note of the progression here – “Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, character produces Hope.” Paul unequivocally states that this “hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,” however, we must remain desperate for the Lord throughout this process in order to receive and maintain His life-giving hope.
Today, as we take small steps of obedience to remain desperate for Hope in Christ, we must set our gaze upon Him, knowing that we are “justified,” saved by grace alone not by anything we can do, and that God pours His grace (undeserved favor) over our lives daily. Being desperate for His hope means our willingness to surrender our lives to Him moment by moment, inviting Him into our circumstances, allowing Him to be our strength when we are weak, to be our refuge when we need a place to rest, and to thank Him for His faithfulness to us amidst trials of any kind.
Father, I thank You today that even in our suffering and trials of many kinds there is amazing hope found in You. You are our ultimate source of true hope by Your word and through Your Spirit within us. Help us to be desperate for that hope in You today and give us the strength to endure as You produce more of Your character in us – even if by means of suffering, knowing that You are with us in all things. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.