Whenever we went to a restaurant, my father would immediately flip the menu over and study the deserts. Once he knew which desert he wanted, he would plan his meal around that dessert. Then with desert in mind, he would suffer through eating his vegetables.
But Paul boasted of an even greater gift to look forward to in his letter to the Romans.
Therefore, since we were justified from faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
As if a guarantee of divine access to grace and hope in sharing in God’s glory were not enough, Paul continues to boast about the impact of boasting of God’s grace in this life. Usually we boast about what we have accomplished, but Paul urges us to boast about what God will accomplish through our sufferings.
Not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
I am convinced that my father lived his whole life the same way he ate dinners; knowing where he wanted to end up, he sought opportunities that would get him closer to his goal.
I will have more to say about Romans 5:1-8 and building character on Sunday, June 18th at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor