"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:1-5
I just love this part: "justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." What is the meaning of "justified"? - I looked it up - "defended, validated, to declare free of blame; absolve." Also, we "gain access by faith"!
WOW - through our faith (our belief that Jesus Christ died for our sins) we gain 2 things:
1. We gain freedom from our sins and become blameless - we have peace.
2. We gain access to God - we are filled with the Holy Spirit. The word "grace" is very important here - we did not gain this access by our own doing - it is by God's grace - a gift that we do not deserve and therefore only Jesus can be glorified.
The next few verses are very difficult for some people. The Christian walk is not all candy and lace - it is difficult and many times we as Christians will suffer. I looked up the 3 steps of suffering in the Thesaurus: Perseverance produces Character which produces Hope.
Persevere - endure, stick it out, persist, keep on going, keep at it, carry on, proceed
Character - honor, integrity, strength, reputation, moral fiber
Hope - confidence, expectation, anticipation, faith
And let's not forget that "hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us" - we have God's love inside us through His Holy Spirit!
The most difficult part for me is to rejoice in our suffering - I have not mastered that part yet (I'm working on it though).
Next time you are going through a hardship - remember to walk in your faith in Jesus Christ - you will become a stronger and better Christian at the end of your suffering.