FORGIVENESS AND HOPE
Read: Romans 5:1-5
1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ” (NIV Romans 5:1-5)
Study: The apostle Paul sketched the spiritual growth process through which every Christ-follower can develop a character that meets challenges with hope and trust, not despair. God, the apostle said, has the power to bend even bad things to good purposes in our lives. Paul said that as we meet trouble in God’s grace we grow in the kind of resolute, grounded hope needed to survive and thrive. The apostle didn’t write through naïve, rose-colored glasses. Human nature is not at all inclined to view tests as something to “take pride” in. That’s why he focused on God’s wisdom and love as the divine gifts that can turn hard times into times of growth. When has God given you wisdom to face a tough challenge, or surrounded you with love and support for the strength you needed? In what ways does God’s ability to “grow you” through life’s challenges help you view hard times differently? Later in Romans, Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). How close to “overflowing” is your inner supply of joy and hope today, whether you face good situations, hard ones or a mix? How can you open your heart and allow God to fill you to overflowing with all joy and peace?
Pray: Lord God, come and fill me. Replace fear, doubt and despair with your joy, peace, faith and hope. Let me walk every day in the light and love you pour into my heart. Amen.