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.

Reflect on this:
What does suffering produce in your life? Have you ever gone through something hard but realize there is hope at the end?

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!

5 replies
  1. bruoho
    bruoho says:

    I love this, Mandy. I hadn’t thought of the word “back-sliding” for years and it brought back memories of my teenage years, as well. You had to be saved and then, it seemed, resaved, after back-sliding. Over and over again. I reached this point, as you did, when I realized that this didn’t make sense when looking at the words of God and not men. We need not fear, but hope. I love you, Nana Bea

  2. Leeta Mackey
    Leeta Mackey says:

    You said it so well, Mandy. Some of my biggest faith lessons have come out of life challenges and illnesses I’ve had to face.. And often they came from the people God placed on my path while I was going through the trial.

  3. kristoajk
    kristoajk says:

    Thanks Mandy. The results of the Grit Scale Quiz were very interesting. I am leaning more toward Nemo’s advice…”Just Keep swimming”!!!! Romans 5:4 says that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Living by Paul’s advice has been a winner in my life!

  4. Julie Kurz
    Julie Kurz says:

    I appreciate your thoughts! I’m so thankful that being accepted by God is not because of me! Their was lots of ‘performance based teaching’ when I was growing up, too, and I am SO THANKFUL Jesus has shown me the Truth! My ‘performance’ can never be better than Jesus’ performance! 😊 I am covered by Him, the perfect Lamb of God!

    As I look back on my life, I am always amazed how Jesus turned suffering that I experienced in this fallen world and consequences from sin in my life to something good for me! Who except Jesus could do that?? Producing strength, character and hope in me! Satan intentions to ruin us are defeated by Jesus! Thank you Jesus!


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