Second Reading: Romans 5:1-5
Life in the Trinity
1 Since we now know that God loves and accepts us, we are at peace with the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Because of Jesus, we have the right to God’s gift. (Remember, as Christians we took our stand on his gift.) Because of Jesus, we brag about our hope in sharing the glory of God, just like our Lord does now. 3 But, there is another reason for our hope. We brag about what we suffer because we know what will happen. We can suffer, but we won’t give up. 4 When we refuse to give up, our character becomes stronger. And a strong character gives us hope. 5 This hope will never let us down. Why? Because God pours his love into our hearts with his Spirit, the gift he gave to us.
1 Having been made righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we also have had access to this grace in which we have stood, and (through whom) we brag in hope (of sharing) in the glory of God. 3 Not only (in this), but we also brag in (our) sufferings, knowing that suffering (completely) produces patient endurance, 4 patient endurance a proved (nature), a proved (nature) hope. 5 (This) hope is not disgraceful because the love of God is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, the (One) having been given to us.
5:1 “made righteous by faith” can also be translated as “justified by faith.”
In these brief verses, Paul listed the two sources of Christian hope: a gift from God and growth in character. First, we have hope when we realize God has forgiven us and gave us “a place at the table.” This gift came through Christ. He is the mediator of God’s grace to us and the promise of our destiny (the glory of God).
As we live out this hope, it is reenforced with a strengthened character. In other words, Christian maturity is the second source of hope. When life’s trials give us a choice, and when we choose to remain faithful to God, we endure and gain strength of character. Living through the bad times gives us hope, simply because we have survived by and grown in God’s grace.
Paul’s comment in 5:5 might seem strange on the surface. Why would Christian hope shame us? Critics of the early Christians questioned the logic of faith in a crucified man. Why would this faith bring hope? Was this hope rational? Paul answered as a hard headed Jew. “Look at the results,” he seemed to say. “We have hope because we experience the love of God and the power of his Spirit!”
So, what is the source of Christian hope? The grace of the Triune God and a life lived in relationship with the Trinity. Could anything be better than that?
How does life in the Spirit lead you to Christ? How does your relationship with Christ give glory to the Father?