Hope That Doesn't Disappoint
Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed us great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. -Romans 5:1-8 Read the whole chapter.
Our text for this morning is from Paul's letter to the Romans. Romans is probably the greatest work of Paul in which he fleshes out and explains his understanding of what it means to be God's people saved and justified by faith through grace. Paul begins this letter and talks about a number of things. Chapter 5 is when he really just puts it all out here and says "all right, so here's what it is". Because in chapter 3 in Romans is where we hear him write those words "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He basically is making the case for why we need God in the way that we do. So we begin chapter 5 with him saying "therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." This word justification is one that we use in our everyday language by to be justified is not just what you do on your computer for where the words line up on the edge of the page. To be justified doesn't just mean that you are entitled or right to something, but rather in the sense that Paul is talking about justification means literally just as if you hadn't sinned, just as if your relationship with God had not needed restored. Justification means that we are in a place of being set right with God and that happened through Jesus Christ on the cross and through the empty tomb we were set right with God. So Paul says we are justified by our faith, by our trust, by our conviction, and by our acceptance of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Because of that, we have peace with God. It is through him that we've obtained access to this grace in which we now stand and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
This word boasting is another one of those words that we use often but we don't always use it in a positive way, in fact, we kind of condemn it. We don't like people that are arrogant, proud, puff themselves up and say how good they are. Yet Paul uses this word to say "you know what I'm not boasting about me, I'm boasting about this God who has done so much for us. Who through His Son has put us at a place where we can stand with confidence in this grace to share His glory. That friends, is the hope that he points us to. Paul points us to a short road and a long road to hope. This short road, it is just that he says God has given us this hope and made it available to us. We boast about this hope that God has given us but Paul also points us to the fact that sometimes life isn't neat and tidy.
He goes on to say we boast of our suffering as well. I don't know about you but I've suffered some. I wouldn't say I've suffered a lot in my life. Some of you maybe more so, but suffering isn't something that we take a lot of pride in. Suffering isn't something that we feel proud to go, share and tell other people about. Yet Paul is saying we boast in our suffering. Then he gives us this litany of this progression about boasting: that suffering leads to endurance and endurance leads to character and character produces hope and hope doesn't disappoint us. He says that the road to hope through suffering isn't an easy one. In fact, it's a long one. Endurance implies that this is gonna take a little while. To be honest, when we look at what Paul has to say here we might want to qualify it ourselves. We might even be tempted to say you know we boast in our suffering knowing that suffering sometimes produced endurance or suffering might produce endurance. The truth of it is, we know people who have been broken by their suffering. We know people who have emerged from their suffering bitter