AND NOT ONLY SO, BUT WE GLORY IN TRIBULATIONS ALSO: KNOWING THAT TRIBULATION WORKETH PATIENCE; AND PATIENCE, EXPERIENCE; AND EXPERIENCE, HOPE: AND HOPE MAKETH NOT ASHAMED; BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD IS SHED ABROAD IN OUR HEARTS BY THE HOLY GHOST WHICH IS GIVEN UNTO US. (Romans 5:3-5)
We are living in a society which seems to have abandoned God Himself - many profess opposition to godliness. One political party in particular is now passing the laws and promoting the murder of babies after they have been born alive! Many in that same political party, and others, are promoting all forms of sexual misconduct. They promote promiscuous sex; they promote homosexuality, and even assert that homosexuality is good; they promote transgenderism, apparently depending on how one feels on a particular day as to whether or not that one is male or female! These ungodly, unrighteous, and sinful positions are not limited to one particular party, however. People who support these ungodly and unrighteous and sinful actions do so for a variety of “excuses and reasons" and many of them also support Marxism, openly professing to be opposed to capitalism.
In the 20th chapter of Exodus, we find that God set forth 10 commandments which He gave to His servant Moses. These 10 commandments are as follows:
“And God spoke all these words, saying:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of [a]bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor [b]serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting[c] the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
The 10 commandments were given by the Lord God in part to show man that he could not keep the law, and thus, the 10 commandments are our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. God's Holy Word tells us that “none are righteous, no not one”. (Romans 3:10) “That all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23) “By the works of the law shall no flesh be saved”. (Romans 3:20) However, amazing love, for God's great love wherewith He loved us, He has made us alive in Christ Jesus. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish [for their failure to keep the whole law for their ungodliness and unrighteousness] that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17).
Many people in the world today simply do not know God. The great expository preacher of the 20th century, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, said that the big problem with the world today is that they do not know God. They have a wrong attitude toward God. He stated in circa 1960, the amazing truth that there is no new sin! Man in all of his professed wisdom has not invented any new sin. Man just keeps on repeating the same sin as that which is described in the 2nd chapter of Genesis, when the serpent deceived Eve, and Eve gave to Adam, and they both disobeyed the law of God because they thought they were smarter than God. In the 3rd chapter of Genesis, we see the great deception carried out in Adam and Eve's attempt to hide from God. They hid behind the trees. Their problem was the same as our problem today. They had a wrong attitude toward God. They didn't realize that you cannot hide from God. “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13) They didn't realize that God made the tree, He made the earth, and all that is therein, and he made the heavens and all that is therein, and he sees behind the trees. He knows all that every person has ever done or thought or said – altogether. He knows you.
When God directed the Apostle Paul to write his letter to the church at Rome, the apostle wrote “therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20) But he went on to say, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21 – 26)
God also tells us in His Holy Word, through the Apostle Paul, that we are therefore saved by the law of faith. “A man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:27B – 28) God giving the example of Abraham in Genesis 15:6 who “believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness". Therefore, salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in the Lord Jesus Christ. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8 – 10)
In the 5th chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, the Lord God says, “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." (Romans 5:1 – 2) Therefore, we are saved by grace and we can rejoice in hope of the glory of God. However, what do we do when we encounter difficulties and yes, even persecution that we see in the world today especially addressed toward Christians? The Holy Scriptures tell us that these matters which are growing rampant in our society are sin. In Romans chapter 5, God sets forth in His Word that we are to glory in tribulations. We are to glory in these particular oppositions, difficulties, persecutions, and tribulations. A brief look at how we as Christ's people are to face difficulties and tribulations may also help us understand how a person who has been saved by God's sovereign grace through the proclamation of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ which is God's power unto salvation, should live.
We know, for God's Word says in the beginning of the 5th chapter of Paul's letter to Rome that (1) we have been justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ; (2) we have peace with God through our the Lord Jesus Christ; (3) in Christ Jesus we are given access into this grace wherein we stand; and, (4) we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
The particular problem of dealing with opposition or tribulation, which can be regarded as difficulty of all sorts, including active persecution, or illness, show the importance of this particular subject. When our Lord Jesus Christ was dealing with this matter toward the end of His ministry, He told His disciples, “these things have I spoken unto you that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer I have overcome the world" (John 16:33) Here we see our Lord Jesus Christ telling His disciples that this was not a matter where they were just “going to live happily ever after". They were going to encounter what He describes as tribulation! Dr. Luke says the same thing in Acts chapter 14 verse 22 where he says it is “through much tribulation that we must enter into the Kingdom of God".
This is a very important test of our profession of the Christian faith. The Lord Jesus Christ teaches in the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13:21 that tribulations means afflictions, pressures, stresses, difficulties, illnesses perhaps or persecutions. Tribulations can take almost any form. What we see in this particular passage of scripture is that it's not sufficient that we merely do not grumble, or do not complain, because we believe or feel that we are being dealt with harshly. Also, it is not that we merely put up with adversities. It is not that we just grit our teeth and persevere or are still weak in encountering these difficulties. What we are told here is that we are to “glory in tribulations also!” This means of course that we “boast in” the tribulations. We exult in the tribulation. We rejoice in the tribulation. It's not that we glory in spite of the tribulation. Nor that we simply persevere through them. Actually, what is being said here is we are to glory in tribulation, on account of, the tribulation itself. We glory because of the tribulation!
The Lord Jesus Christ again said substantially the same thing in Matthew 5 verse 10 through 12 where he said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Thus, we see that we are to “rejoice and be exceeding glad!” This is difficult, however, we see that we are told that while apart from Christ we can do nothing, in Christ Jesus we can do “all things”. We are enabled to do “all things in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4)
There is a reason for this. God's Word tells us in 2nd Corinthians 4:17 that “tribulations and difficulties are important for our growth." “Our light affliction which is but for a moment, (says Paul) is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17) When the Apostle Paul was writing to the Church at Philippi he says substantially the same thing where he says in chapter 1 verse 29 “unto you it is given on the behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake".
It's not just Paul. James says, “brethren count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations”, which could also be read trials (James 1:2) Peter also says in the 4th chapter of First Peter verses 12 through 14, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.” Thus, we see that the New Testament is full of this teaching and that is that we rejoice because of tribulation. We rejoice on account of it. It's not that we have to like these things, but we realize that God is working in us that which is according to His will to make us be His people. To refine us even as gold is refined in the fire.
Next, we see that tribulation works patience. The word works or worketh is important. It shows us that tribulation is actually producing in us patience. And the patience that is stated here really means “constancy” or our “ability to go on patiently enduring”. Another word would be “steadfastness”. So tribulation produces in us that “steadfastness” which we need to hold firmly our faith to the end. ( Hebrews c. 2 ,3)
This production of steadfastness comes about as we encounter the difficulty, persecution, or; tribulation because we realize anew and afresh our need for the Lord Jesus Christ and His grace and strength. Those difficulties send us to Christ and make us pray to Him and to spend more of our time with Him. We ask for greater strength and understanding. Thus, we see that “tribulation” produces “steadfastness” and drives us back to Christ Himself whom we always need.
Of course, we already know that God's Word does not stop with just steadfastness. We see that patience produces or worketh “experience” and here “experience” doesn’t merely mean something that has happened to us. It means proof or trial or “approvedness”. In other words, what we see God's Word saying here is that patience, endurance, or steadfastness produces a proof to us that we really are truly Christ's people. He shows that we have been able to pass the test. Again, as set forth herein above we see what James says, and Peter says, and this appears throughout the New Testament. Thus, we see tribulation produces patience, which produces experience, and we see the final result in verse 5 that experience produces hope, and hope makes us not ashamed, for the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us.
IV. HOPE AND LOVE
We see that the ultimate result is that this tribulation produces steadfastness in us, which produces approvedness in us, which produces hope, which makes us not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. The term, makes us not ashamed, really means a positive way of using a negative term to mean the opposite of what is stated. It is a figure of speech. So when he says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” in Romans 1:16, what he means is, “I'm very proud of the gospel of Christ and I make my boast its object. So while he puts it negatively, what he really means is the affirmative statement, I'm proud of the gospel of Christ. Likewise, when he states that “hope maketh not ashamed", what he is really saying is that hope, far from making me ashamed, rather produces the opposite effect; it leads to my rejoicing in and glorying in the hope of the glory of God, which brings us back again to what was said at the beginning ,not only so but we glory in tribulations also.
Finally, the love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us is not our love for God. This is actually an expression of the love of God to us, God's love to us. That is, of course, vital. It is because of God's great love wherewith He loved us that he has made as alive in Christ Jesus. Thus, we see that we are not talking about our love for God, but God's love for us. It is because of this great love that he has made as alive in Christ Jesus. He has taken us who were dead in trespasses and sins, by nature children of wrath, aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, and made as alive in Christ Jesus.
Thus, we see why we are to glory also in tribulations. It is my sincere hope and desire that your knowledge of these passages of scripture will help you grow in your walk with the Lord.
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you [a]complete in every good work to do His will, working in [b]you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Worldview Weekend Foundation
PO BOX 1690
Collierville, TN, 38027 USA