Digging Deeper Days
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.
1) How does being justified by faith give us peace with God? (verse 1)
Romans 5:1 says, “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We become justified by faith when we trust in Jesus and accept His free gift of salvation (Romans 6:23), which means we are no longer separated from God because of our sin. Author John Piper explains, “God laid on [Jesus] the iniquities that we performed, and God laid on us the righteousness that He performed. He takes our sin, though He didn’t perform it. And we take His righteousness, though we didn’t perform it.” Though we are guilty of sin, we are justified through the blood of Jesus, and that reconciliation through Christ gives us peace. We have peace because we are no longer enemies with God. (James 4:4) R.C. Sproul asserts, “We cannot understand the full ramifications of this peace unless we are fully convinced of what our relationship to our Creator was truly like before we knew Jesus. Scripture describes this relationship as an all-out war.” In Romans 8:7, Paul describes the mindset of the flesh as hostile to God. Sin creates enmity (bitter fighting) between every human being and God. (Genesis 3:15) Being justified by faith in Jesus erases that hostility caused by sin and brings us into communion with God, giving us peace. We are no longer at war with God because we are one with God who is our peace. (John 14:20, Ephesians 2:14) May we all fully embrace the lasting peace that only comes from knowing God today!
2) How does affliction produce endurance? (verse 3)
When we experience afflictions, we have two choices: give up or keep going. Romans 5:3 encourages perseverance when we face trials because “we know that our affliction produces endurance.” Paul admonishes that, when we experience difficulty and keep moving forward, we become stronger for God uses all things for His glory and our good, even the times we feel most weak or incapable. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10, Romans 8:28) When we believe God can be trusted in every situation (Proverbs 29:25), we are willing to persist in faith even when the situation becomes difficult. The hardships we face with God’s help strengthen us. (1 Peter 5:10) Kathryn Butler suggests, “With our eyes set on Him, our suffering refines us, as iron in the forge. The cross infuses even our most harrowing tribulations with purpose.” Going through trials with God sustaining us, and coming out on the other side victorious, builds our faith and teaches us we can endure anything because God is with us. (Romans 8:31) As He proves Himself faithful, our faith increases. Priscilla Shirer asserts that pain “is the gift that keeps us from further discomfort. When we feel it, it becomes a teacher pointing us to the only correct Answer. . . . [God]. [He] desires for us the blessing of pain because, mysteriously, it keeps us, comforts us, humbles us, teaches us and drives us back to safety.” God uses our pain and problems to teach us to rely solely on Him and, in the process, we realize we can endure all things in Christ alone.
3) Why would Paul say proven character produces hope that will not disappoint? (verses 4-5) Paul teaches in Romans 5 that going through hard things produces proven character, which produces hope. (verse 4) When we come through adversity stronger than we entered it, character is built. (James 1:4) We have to come to know and trust God’s character more deeply by relying on Him and His promises; He has built His faithfulness inside of us. Persevering through struggles builds our character and gives us hope because we know that what God says is true and the love and help He promises is real. R.C. Sproul suggests, “perseverance refines our character, creating stability and integrity, and such stability strengthens our hope. When we see God’s faithfulness to us through our periods of suffering, we are encouraged to grasp the hope of glory.” Romans 5:5 declares, “This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Learning to abide and trust God in harrowing times, allows the opportunity for God to make us more like Christ. (Galatians 2:20) Through perseverance, we know our hope is genuine and we can rely on God’s love and His Spirit’s power to cause us to endure. No circumstance can take us off course because we have a hope we’ve come to know is trustworthy and true. Kathryn Butler asserts, “Those who know Christ have a hope which no calamity or disaster can wrench from us. It points our eyes away from this sin-sick world, toward Christ, who makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).” With disappointment looming large in many areas of our world, our culture, and our everyday lives, what a blessing to have a sure and certain hope in Jesus that will not disappoint!
1) How does being justified by faith give us peace with God? (verse 1)
There is no magic number of good deeds we can do, or amount of money we can donate to a worthy cause to make us “right” before the Righteous Lord. (Titus 3:5) We like to think God accepts us if we are “good” people, but truthfully, without Christ’s redemption, there isn’t one person who is righteous. (Romans 3:10) However, if we believe in Jesus and accept His redeeming love, we are justified by faith in Him. Jesus took our sins upon Himself, so God sees us as righteous because Jesus is righteous. David Guzik explains, “because of what Jesus did, the righteousness of God is given to all who believe. The guilty sentence is transformed into a sentence of justified, and justified by faith.” There is deep peace in knowing we don’t need to do anything to earn God’s love or His forgiveness. There is no pressure to keep all the rules without making a mistake, because God has already perfectly done the work that saves us. We can add nothing to it, for even our “good deeds” are considered “filthy rags” according to God’s standard of righteousness. (Isaiah 64:6) God knows we will mess up, even after we have surrendered to following Him in faith (1 John 1:8-9), but His grace sets us free, forgives us completely, and equips us to follow Him. Titus 2:11-12 states, “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age.” We can enjoy God’s declaration of righteous over our lives because of Jesus and we can delight in the peace of living life inside the very life of God.
2) How does affliction produce endurance? (verse 3)
When I look up endurance in the dictionary, I expect to find a picture of my friend, Timothy. He grew up in an abusive home and relied on the Lord to sustain him. (Psalm 55:22) He became a missionary in a war-torn country and lost a loved one while there. Again, he allowed the strength of the Lord to carry him. (Isaiah 46:4) He lost his first child and spent months in the hospital with another baby, praying alongside hundreds of believers and watching that child grow and heal against all odds. He was replaced in a ministry position he loved, but he allowed the Lord to use that loss to birth a new ministry which blessed and served others and eventually led him into pastoring. He lost his church building due to denominational red tape, which led him to an under-served area of town where he now has a thriving congregation. He is a brilliant example of Paul’s teaching, “And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance.” (Romans 5:3) The first time Pastor Timothy trusted God to get him through a situation, his faith was strengthened, and he learned he could endure because of God’s grace. This growing faith helped him face each subsequent situation with the belief that God would come through. He faced these afflictions and others, including betrayal, rejection, and life-threatening illness, by persevering in faith, enduring with the Lord, and coming out stronger because of his reliance on God. I think of my friend when the going gets rough for me, because his example reminds me that God can handle anything, which means I can handle it because I have access to God and His strength! (Philippians 4:13)
3) Why would Paul say proven character produces hope that will not disappoint? (verses 4-5)
One of my favorite poems is Emily Dickinson’s “Hope Is The Thing With Feathers.” “Hope” is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul/and sings the tune without the words-/And never stops – at all.” This stanza reminds me that hope goes against expectation and outlasts when it seems like it shouldn’t. These lines come to mind as I read Romans 5:4-5, “…endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Hope in God will never disappoint, even when that hope seems to go against everything the world and the culture tell us. Our hope in God is an “anchor for the soul, firm and secure.“ (Hebrews 6:19) When we know God will constantly be with us in everything (Joshua 1:9), seeing us through anything (Psalm 121:8), our faith is built stronger. Having a proven character that trusts the Lord completely (Proverbs 3:5) makes us hopeful for all God will continue to do according to His promises. When we have hope, we believe God is in control no matter what the prognosis or the projected outlook. (Psalm 22:28) We don’t feel lost or shaken when unsettling news comes our way because our hope is anchored in the steadfast love of a God who faithfully sustains us. We understand that “The reality of God’s love in a believer’s heart gives the assurance, even the guarantee, that the believer’s hope in God and His promise of glory is not misplaced and will not fail.” (preceptaustin.org) This hope we have in God sings in our hearts as we realize His unfailing love will never disappoint us!
Digging Deeper is for Everyone!
1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!
Why Dig Deeper?
Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.
In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!
Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.
We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.
Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!
Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))
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