Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
What’s your response when trials and tribulations come into your life? What do you do when you have a bad day? What is your attitude when things get hard or difficult or troubling? Do you rest in the grace of God and experience the joy in God or do you forget the grace of God, overflow with complaining and become self-absorbed and critical instead of loving?
Paul encourages us here to glory in tribulations. The gospel is not just for our past to provide a cleansing of our sins, nor is it just for our future salvation in which we hope, no it is for this present life. We can glory IN our tribulation because they are God’s means to build in us perseverance, character and hope.
But Paul is not one to speak pious platitudes; he lives by what he teaches. In 2 Corinthians 12 read how he dealt with suffering:
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
My friends, as Christians this is where our faith in Christ makes us different from the world. The world responds to suffering in many different ways – they despise it, they try to grin and bear it, they complain and become critical, but one thing the world does not do is glory in it. As Christians we can glory in tribulation knowing that the trials we suffer are for Christ’s sake and come to us with a purpose – to conform us to Christ.
So be encouraged for their will be tribulations in your life, but God is using them for his glory and your good.