We have been made right with God because of our faith. Now we have peace with him because of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through faith in Jesus we have received God’s grace. In that grace we stand. We are full of joy because we expect to share in God’s glory. And that’s not all. We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never bring us shame. That’s because God’s love has been poured into our hearts. This happened through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5:1-5, New International Reader’s Version
Have you ever read the same scripture at a different time, or under different circumstances, and it means something completely different to you? Romans 5 has done exactly that for me.
When I was growing up, the church that I went to believed in something called “backsliding.” This is basically where you lose your salvation because of some sin that you did. Believing this put me in a state of constant fear, thinking I was never good enough or that God would change his mind on me.
Romans 5:1-2 says we have been “justified by faith” and “obtained access (to God) by faith.” NOTHING ELSE. This is something that I wish I could go back and tell past me—that nothing that I could do could ever separate me from the love of God. Salvation isn’t something that can be lost (like car keys) but is something that is forever and eternal.
Being with God doesn’t mean that life is perfect, but it does mean that God does have a perfect plan for us. Romans 5:3 talks about our attitude toward life, that we rejoice in suffering and also in good times. Endurance, sometimes translated as patience, is a lot like the recently termed word “grit.” Take the Grit Scale Quiz (citing Angela Duckworth). Having grit means to not succumb under tremendous weight and pressure, or as Nemo says, “Just Keep Swimming.” Later on in Romans 5:4 it says that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
Hope is the ultimate and end goal.
Dear God, thank you for your unending promise to save me, and for the reminder that all I need is faith in you. I understand now that salvation is not something that I can lose but instead is a gift from you. Please help me to persevere and have patience with myself and others. Amen.
Mandy Atherton lives in Prescott, AZ
I am a math teacher and I love plants, reading, baking and doing anything outside. I’m also trying to pick up crocheting, so any advice would be appreciated!