Verse of the Day Devotion Romans 5:3

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance.” – Romans 5:3

Chapter five begins with the word ‘therefore’.  This denotes that it is a continuation of an idea that was at the end of the previous chapter.  “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2.  In fact, “Having  been justified by faith” summarizes the entire argument of the first four chapters. Those who have placed their trust in Christ can rest assured that their faith has been credited to them as righteousness. And because we have been justified by faith, we also have peace with God through Jesus Christ.  This speaks of the new relationship that exists between God and those who turn to him in faith. As Paul used the term, it does not primarily depict a state of inner tranquility. It is external and objective. To have “peace with God” means to be in a relationship with God in which all the hostility caused by sin has been removed.

Their confidence is based on the fact that Christ was put to death for their sins and raised again that they might be declared just. “Now not for his sake only was it written that it was reckoned to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” Romans 4:23-25. And because of this we stand, and we exult in hope of the glory of God. However, what comes next in our focus verse can be very difficult. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance.” Romans 5:3.

From our focus verse, we see that not only do we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, but we also rejoice in our sufferings.  The believers’ joy is not simply something they hope to experience in the future but a present reality even in times of trials and distress. Their joy is not a stoic determination to make the best out of a bad situation. Christian suffering is a source of joy because its purpose is to build character in the believer.  James puts it this way.  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4.  We are to regard trials as a thing to rejoice in; a matter which should afford you happiness. We are not to consider it as a punishment, a curse, or a calamity, but as something we can experience joy in.  Thus it is the experience of coming through a time of testing that produces hope. Our confidence in God’s ability and willingness to bring us through difficult times leads to an ever brighter hope for that which lies beyond. Hope is not superficial optimism but the confident assurance of that which will surely come to pass. It distinguishes those who have kept the faith in times of severe testing.

In essence, we should be confident in God regarding everything we may experience, both what ‘we’ deem good or bad.  If we find ourselves in times of tribulation, we should rejoice knowing that God allows it because we can be strengthened,  “knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and 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.” Romans 5:3b-5. No matter the situation, realize that it will strengthen us to do God’s work.  And because of this, we can be thankful.  “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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