Romans 5:1-4 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
his whole passage through verse 11 is so glorious that Paul can barely contain himself as he writes. Joy just explodes from him! The fact that Jesus’ death and resurrection, expressed in the last verse of chapter 4, purchased for us peace with God, no longer shackled by the guilt of our past sins, is more than Paul can express with mere words. It puts everything into a context that enables us to rejoice even in suffering! I think the reason we so seldom walk in the fullness of the joy expressed here is that we fail to realize that our sins have earned eternal destruction for us, and so we discount the grace of God. The devil does all he can to distract us from the glorious reality expressed here, because as Jesus said, he is only out to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) He hates it when we rejoice in God’s salvation, so he seeks to steal our joy by distracting us from it. When we are fully focused on God and what He has done for us in Christ Jesus, nothing can shake our joy and peace. That’s how martyrs, from Stephen on, (Acts 7:54-60) can go to their reward rejoicing. We aren’t being stoned, but we grouse and complain. How foolish! God invites us to receive His peace and joy, but we can do so only by faith, because this world certainly isn’t going to generate it!
I think I have a better grasp on this than many, but I still allow myself to be distracted far too often. Just yesterday, in our weekly Internet video meeting, my daughters, my wife and I were talking about worry, and how it differentiates from caring deeply, and from anxiety. Current events can and do generate all those things in me, and I’ve got to do what I tell others to do all the time, which is to place my focus on Christ, above and before everything else. (Hebrews 12:2) Only if I do that will I be able to maintain the peace and joy that God intends for me. Whatever happens, about the election or anything else, God will still be God and His salvation will still be available for all who will repent and believe. As He told me personally, He’s not pleased at the way people spit in His face and damage themselves and others, but what we see around us isn’t the final answer. Just a few minutes ago, as I was typing these notes, the Lord brought to my mind the song, The King is Coming. Letting it play through my mind, I wept tears of joy, because it is an absolutely true song, and I must not forget it. Satan is indeed frantic, because he knows his days are short. (Revelation 12:12) I am not to let him distract me, but rather rest, relax, and rejoice in my God, just as He has told me to do.
Father, thank You for this glorious reminder. Thank You for all You are doing, both around me and in me. Help me welcome Your hand and not resist, allowing You to do in and through me all that You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!