Romans Bible Study #17
3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. NASB
3-5There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit
6-8Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. The Message
Verse 3. The tribulations push us beyond our self. They cause us to rely on, lean on, trust in, One who is greater than us. We glory in the tribulation that reveals we are poor and needy. As “poor and needy” we can receive the great grace that is available to the broken and contrite. The prideful, skating thru life unhindered by any ‘hard times’ are in an illusion. The grace and mercy of God, must one day reveal this lie. The revelation will come in the form of tribulation that ‘breaks the hip’ of the self-sufficient and causes them to walk with a limp the rest of their lives. A step-by-step reminder of their dependence on God.
Perseverance is cherished by God because it says to all the world, “I’m going to keep going in this direction because I know God’s word is true.” It sees beyond the temporary circumstances and proclaims the faithfulness of God.
Verse 4 Christians and non-Christians go thru tribulations. The difference for Christians is knowing and trusting that behind such times stands a sovereign, loving God with a good purpose. From the “ground” of this knowing, sprouts the “plants” of perseverance, hope and virtue.
An example from one of the churches that Paul visited and that supported him.
2 Cor 8:1,2 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,
2that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
There is no “physical explanation” for those two sentences, only a deep trust and belief in a God who cannot be seen could cause “deep poverty to overflow in liberality.” I have heard of this in poor nations where the people are so ‘hospitable’ that they give you there very best, even though it might cost them a months wages.
Verse 5 This verse isn’t an “I know that” verse in an educational sense, but in a revelation sense. God has sovereignly moved on my heart in such a way that I know I am forgiven and the recipient of His great love Ephesians 3:19
This is the “love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.” The depth of your heart cries out “Father ” and you know that He hears you. What Jesus did on the cross becomes personal and powerful. Things that didn’t use to make sense, are clear, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit and you can “see” better than you ever have. You have a deeper appreciation for the lives of others and want the best for them=love.
Verse 6 Paul has made this point before, but now he is making it again to emphasize the “personal” aspect of it. We, you and me, were helpless, you and me were ‘ungodly.’ There was nothing in us that was attractive to God, His love chose us anyway. It was all Him. It was all Mercy. If you truly, deeply know that and keep that truth at the core of your being you will be saved from many sorrows.
Verse 7 Paul will ‘give you’ that for a “good man” someone might lay down there life, but that analogy has nothing to do with what Jesus did for us.
Verse 8 God’s love is so much higher and more amazing than any comparison that could be made. We the ungodly, horribly stained sinners, offenders of God, breakers of every commandment. Here we stand with absolutely nothing to offer God... And YET, And YET, He chooses to give His life for us. Amazing Grace
Word– Tribulation- anything that tests your faith. Loss of health, broken relationships, accidents, natural disasters, verbal or physical assaults, or even
everyday inconveniences plumbing problems, cars break down, traffic jams.
Anything that makes life harder and threatens your faith in the goodness and power and wisdom of God is –tribulation. They are normal Acts 14:22. They are necessary, they are for our good.