Justification Benefits, Part III - Romans 5:2-5

Father, as we begin this Bible study, I pray that you will cause Your word, that is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, to have great piercing penetration into our minds, into our hearts, and to shape us into the image of Christ.  Help this to be more than just knowledge, but help it saturate our souls and our hearts. I pray for these men, that they will receive enormous benefit as I have already been greatly encouraged as I have looked at these versus. I pray this Bible study today will accomplish Your purposes, and as men and women join us around the world as they watch on live stream, I pray that the blessing will overflow into their lives as well. I pray this in Christ's name. Amen.  

 

We are in Romans chapter five. I want to begin by reading verses one through five. We have already looked at verse one and the first part of verse two. We will be picking it up in the middle of verse two, and my goal is to get us through verse five. 

 

Beginning in verse one, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom also we have obtained our introduction" – your translation may have "access" – "by faith into this grace in which we stand."

 

Here is where we are going to pick up today: "And we exult in the hope and the glory of God, and not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, 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 has been given to us."

 

These verses are all about are the benefits of justification, the blessings of justification that accompany justification. The second half of this chapter, which we will look at in future studies, in verses 12 through 21, is the basis of justification. Paul is laying this out methodically. Carefully making his quintessential argument for justification by faith alone, sola fide

 

These verses talk about the blessings that accompany justification. Just to remind us, this began in Romans 3:21 and has extended all the way down to chapter five. It is all about justification. Paul began with condemnation, chapters one through three, and now justification. 

 

Justification is when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.  At that moment, God immediately declares us to be righteous. It does not make us righteous; we continue to live sinful lives. Though, with regeneration, we have a new heart and a new mind, a new direction, new disposition, and we are now headed in a new direction. 

 

But with justification, God legally declares us to be the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are faultless as we stand before the throne of grace, fully forgiven. In verses one through five, he adds on – this is almost like a footnote. There are five things that he lays out for us.

 

The first two we have already looked at. I am not going to go back through it, but I am going to remind you of what they are. We have three to go. The first is peace with God, in verse one. 

 

I.               PEACE WITH GOD

 

“We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Obviously, that implies we were at war with God. God was at war with us. The fact that we now have peace with God is amazing grace. The warfare with God is over – the conflict, the enmity. 

 

We have now entered into a state of peace with God. God is no longer angry with us. We are no longer kicking against the goads with him. We are now in the family and we are accepted in the beloved. That is number one, peace with God.

 

II.             ACCESS TO GOD

 

Number two is access to God. This is at the first half of verse two, "through whom" – the “whom” refers to the Lord Jesus Christ – "we" – referring to all believers – “have obtained our introduction by faith” – the idea is privileged access for only a few, and those few are all who believe in Jesus Christ – "into this grace in which we stand."

 

The idea is that we are presented faultless before the throne of God, we now stand in grace, and we are immediately in the presence of God. We have access to the throne of grace. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week we can pray, we can worship with God. We have this living relationship with God. That is where this begins.

 

III.           HOPE IN GOD

 

Now, we want to build out from this, and the third blessing is hope in God. He says "and." I want to pause for a moment. That word "and" is a very important word, as every word in the Bible is very important. What this means is that what now follows when Paul says "we exult in the hope of the glory of God," is inseparably connected to what preceded. This is not a multiple choice – some of us get peace with God, others of us have access, and a couple others have hope. No – everyone who is justified has peace with God, has access to God, and has hope in God. It is a package deal. It is all tied together.

 

When Paul says, "we," he is referring to every believer. I want to draw this to your attention. This is careful Bible study observation – "We." In verse one, “we have peace with God.” First part of verse two, "we have obtained our introduction." Now, "we exult in the hope of the glory."

 

Verse three, "we also exult in our tribulation." Verse six, "While we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly." The "we" connects all this together. It is the same group. Paul is referring to every believer. This would be you and me. 

 

Paul says, "and we exult." Now, that is a word we do not normally hear. Your translation may have “rejoice,” and that is really the idea, but the “exult” is a super rejoicing. We glory in this. We boast in this. Now, this is a very important word because he is going to repeat it at the beginning of verse three when he says, "we exult in our tribulation." This is all tied together. 

 

Verse two, "and we exult in hope." Now, let us just pause for a moment on the word "hope." This word has been so deluded today in our conversation. When we say hope, we mean like we hope our football team wins, or we hope it does not rain today. That is not how the Bible uses the word hope. It is not wishful thinking.

 

Hope in the Bible means a confident expectation of what is going to happen in the future. There is no doubt. It is a rock-ribbed confidence. Here is another word, "assurance." It is a confident assurance. You can bank on this. So "we exult in hope." And this hope is future glory. We hope in hope of the glory of God.

 

When he says “the glory of God,” Paul is referring to our being in the presence of the glory of God in heaven. He is also referring to our glorified state when we are in glory, when we stand before the glory of God. It is all-inclusive. It is referring to our future. This is saying that everyone who is justified will be glorified. There are no dropouts along the way. It is the eternal security of the believer.

 

Paul will elaborate on this later in Romans 8:29-30 when he says, “those whom He foreknew, He also predestined…and those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified.” It is God's golden chain of salvation.

 

The group Paul begins with is the group he concludes with, and no one is added or drops out along the way. This is sovereign grace. Paul will elaborate further in chapter eight, but for right now, he is tying together justification in verse one with glorification in verse two.

 

This speaks of the certainty that we have of the glory of God – that we are just as certain of heaven as if we have already been there ten thousand years. In fact, it is so certain, that in Romans 8:30, it is put in the past tense as if it is so certain, it is not even future. It is already a reality. We are locked into the eternal purpose and plan of God. It is a done deal.  It has already happened.

 

In fact, in Ephesians, Paul will say we are already seated with Christ in heavenly places. This is yet one more argument for the eternal security of the believer.  Now, I want to draw this to your attention: “Hope” is found at the end of verse two, and at the beginning of verse five. Do you see that? Hope is also mentioned at the end of verse four.

 

From the end of verse two to the beginning of verse three, it is all about hope. Do you see that? This is what we call a literary device that is known as inclusion or inclusio. It is like bookends, like brackets, or like parentheses, and everything in between is talking about one subject. 

 

Paul begins at the end of verse two with hope, and he ends at the beginning of verse five with hope, and he throws hope in at the end of verse four. Everything in between here is all about hope. That is very important because when we come now to verse three, it is going to seem as if Paul is bringing a subject out of right field, but he is not.

 

In verse three, Paul says, "and" –again, the word “and” is just sewing all this together. What this is like, if you can picture this, is Paul picking up all these different pearls and stringing them together on one strand to make one necklace. Peace with God, access to God, hope in God, and he will go to love of God, and spirit of God – all these pearls of truth are on one necklace.

 

Verse three, "And not only this, but we also." This little phrase is used multiple times by Paul in the book of Romans to indicate something very important he is about to say. That is another literary device. It is a manner of expression, almost like saying, "truly, truly I say unto you." He says, “not only this, but we also."

           

It is like Paul is gathering everything up in his arms, “not only this, but we also,” and carrying it forward, so that none of us are left behind in our thinking. You will see it again in verse 11. If you will, look ahead at verse 11, "not only this, but we also." Paul is advancing the argument, like momentum in a little league baseball game, to keep this momentum going forward.

 

Look at Romans 8:23. I want to bring this to your attention. This is a manner of expression by the apostle Paul. In Romans 8:23, "and not only this, but we also." And then in Romans 9:10 he does it again, "and not only this, but there was Rebekah also."

 

What Paul is doing is reaching back and then reaching forward and holding everything in both hands, "Not only this, but also." He is pulling all this together in one unified laser beam of layering out the truth.

 

Now come back to Romans 5:3, "and not only this" – this refers to verses one and two – "not only this," – it is as if he is saying, "but there is more," – "but we also exult." So just as excited as we are about future glory, we also exult and look to see what else we should be excited about. We are very surprised at the next three words, "we also exult in our tribulations."

 

Wow. Well, every man in this room needs this beginning with me because our tendency when tribulation comes is to coward away. But Paul says, "We also exult in our tribulations." Now, in order to exult in our tribulations, the next word is critically important, “knowing.” Because you have forgotten something, you are going to have to know this.

 

You may have to write it down just so that you remember it. You may have to underline it in your Bible so that you do not forget it. Before we look at what we have to know, let us look at this word “tribulations.” Please note it is in the plural, not the singular. It is in the plural, many tribulations. It is a Greek word that means to be put under great stress, to be put under great pressure.

 

It is almost like a beach ball that you are trying to hold under water, and there is great pressure coming down heavy upon it. This is not talking about missing a red light. This is not talking about, "Oh, I do not get the parking place immediately next to the entrance into the restaurant. I actually had to park on the next row."

 

This is tribulations – big heavy, stressful problems in life. What Paul is saying here is very important. Everyone who is justified is going to be under great pressure in life. This is the anti-prosperity gospel. There is no free pass in the Christian life.

 

This is a locked-in guarantee. Just as guaranteed as you are that you have hope in the glory of God, you also have the guarantee that you will have tribulations, and tribulations of every kind – physical, emotional, relational, professional. Whatever it is, it is par for the course.

 

We should not throw up our hands in the air and say, "Oh, what is wrong with me?" This is a part of living the Christian life. God does not guarantee us that there will not be storms. God actually either sends us into the storms, like He did with His disciples, or He sends the storms into us.  One way or the other, they are coming. These tribulations are a part of the Christian life.

 

In fact, Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have tribulation.” We can all just post that on our refrigerator as a promise to claim. In this world, we will have tribulation. Now, the irony – what I need to hear this morning, what you need to hear this morning – is that when these tribulations come, we need to rise above the fray, and we need to exult in them because we know that God is providentially at work to use them for His glory and for our good.

 

God uses the pruning fork in our life to remove certain things from our life that are un-Christ-like, to conform us more into the image of His Son. Look at verse three. There is a goldmine here in verse three, "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations." And the little personal pronoun "our" is just as all-inclusive as "we" in verses one, two, and three.

 

Everyone who is justified has peace with God. Everyone who is justified has access to God. Everyone who has hope in God has tribulations, in the plural. Now, how are we going to exult in our tribulations? This is very practical. “Knowing,” the word "knowing" here means that we must have an eternal perspective.

 

We must have the divine perspective. We must have a certain mindset as we are in the midst of the whirlwind. “Knowing that tribulation brings about” – and the idea is ‘produces’ – “perseverance.”

 

Our tendency when we are in the midst of trials and tribulations is to cut bait and to run, checking into a nice hotel some place until the storm blows over and order room service, not coming out of the room until the storm is over. No – strong Christians have perseverance, they drop anchor and persevere in the midst of their storm.

 

That does not mean that in the will of God, God does not move you someplace. But what it does mean is that we cannot be a spiritual tumbleweed blown about by the wind whenever tough times come, and blown all over the highway. No.

 

God wants to develop our endurance. He wants to develop steadfastness. That comes when He blows storms of tribulation into our life. He is wanting to build up our – listen to this – staying power.

 

We are not supposed to just run away. We are supposed to face it head on. The word "perseverance" is a Greek word, and it is a compound word, "hupomone." "Hupo" means ‘under,’ like a hypodermic needle goes under the skin. Hupo – under. "Mone" comes from meno. The very first Greek word they teach you how to conjugate in seminary is "meno," which means ‘to abide.’ It is the word Jesus uses in John 15, "abide in Me and I in you."

 

To abide means to stay. It means to remain. When you put the two together, it means to remain under the pressure. Do not go looking for greener pasture. You hang tough. You hang in that marriage. You hang in with that demanding boss. You stay put until God moves you because God is up to something.

 

God is working in your life to grow you up and to mature you. God brings tribulation. God also allows tribulation whether He directly blows it into our life, whether He sends us into it, whether He allows it to come through our own bad choices or someone else's bad choices, nevertheless there it is. 

 

The pagan view is that this is just random and there is no purpose to it. Well, the Christian view is that this is all under the administration of divine providence. God has sovereign eternal purposes within time for this storm.

 

It is Romans 8:28, “and we know” – do you hear the word "know" again? – "and we know that God causes” – not God merely is a spectator and watches, but God causes. His hand is on the throttle. “God causes all things” – not just good things, but even bad things, evil things – “to work together for good.”

 

That does not mean that God is the author of evil, but it means that God uses evil, even in our lives. Think of the most evil moment in the history of the world – the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That was the premeditated murder of the second person of the Godhead, and yet God foreordained it for our good and for His glory. We would not go to heaven if it had not been for that evil.

 

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) That is a condensed form of what Paul is saying here in verse three.

 

One more thing to say about this perseverance – it involves patient waiting. I hate patient waiting. I abhor patient waiting. I want it yesterday. Two fast-food drive-thru windows is not enough.

 

Perseverance means that we bear trials patiently and do not have an emotional meltdown. This is a chain reaction here. From tribulation under pressure, heavy pressure, to God trying to build your perseverance.

 

I remember when I used to play football, going into the weight room and the coach coming up and putting more weights on the bar. He is trying to build up my strength. If it was just a bar, we would just be a bunch of sissies.  The more weight, the greater the strength. The greater the trial and tribulation, the more God is building our fortitude and our perseverance. 

 

Anybody can be a Christian in good times. An unbeliever could act like a Christian in good times. It is the real Christian who perseveres in the midst of tribulation. But there is more.

 

Notice what is in verse four, "and perseverance" – and please note the word "and." This is all sewn together. These are all welded together. This is not a multiple choice. It is all of the above.

 

Verse four, "And perseverance, proven character." There is a greater goal in mind for the tribulation, and perseverance is the means to a greater end. It is going somewhere. Proven character. This word, "proven character," is just one word in the Greek. When translating it into the English language, some translations, like my New American Standard, have two words, "proven character." I think the ESV just has "character."

 

It is a Greek word that simply means to be tested and to pass the test. To be tested and to be approved. The idea is to be put through the fire and found to be real. Like you would put a piece of metal into a furnace to see if it is real or just plastic. If it is plastic, it will melt and evaporate. If it is real gold or real silver, it will withstand the fire.

 

That is actually the word for proven character here, and it is so hard to get it into the English language in just one word, but the idea is tried and true character. We know what that character is from the rest of the Bible – it is Christ-likeness. 

 

It is being made into the image of Christ, and Paul will tell us that in Romans 8:29, "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son."

 

That is the end. That is what God is about in my life, and that is what God is about in your life, to make you as much like His Son, Jesus Christ, as someone can be, and still be on earth and have a sinful flesh. He is whittling away and pruning back, and melting down and removing things, and what He is using is tribulation.

 

None of us want to sign up for this. This is not an elective course. This is a core course. It is a core, it is unavoidable. We are going to have to do it. But we should be encouraged that God has divine design for this. It is to shake things up in our lives and to deepen the roots, deepen our faith in Christ.

 

There is one more thing at the end of verse four, "and proven character, hope." Paul just went full circle. We started out with hope, now we end up with hope. What Paul is telling us here – do not miss this – is that it is our tribulations that are weaning us off of this world and making heaven look a whole lot better; trying to cause us to live for the world to come, so that we would have our hope not in this world, but in glory.

 

Just because we are glory-bound, God does not want us to have a cushy ride where we are pampered in a golden chariot to glory. It is going to be a bumpy road, but there is a purpose in every single bump in the road. With God's sovereign providence, He is causing all things to work together for our good.

 

Our good is not to put us in a soft place. Our good is to make us like His Son, Jesus Christ. That glorifies God. It is preparing us for glory to make us as much like His Son as we can possibly be before we get there. 

 

In verse five Paul says, "and hope does not disappoint," meaning God is going to come through on the hope that we have. There is a purpose for the tribulation, and that is to cause us to hope more in the glory of God. To not have wishful thinking for a soft place here, but to have confident expectation of what is going to happen in glory.

 

What awaits us in glory – and this is just James 1:2-5 – “consider it” – that is like knowing – “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” The word "various" is used in the Septuagint for Joseph's coat of many colors. All different kinds of trials and tribulations.

 

Again, marital, relational, financial, physical, professional.  All the above. “Consider it all joy, my brethren.”  I am telling you, that is hard for me and it is hard for you, if we forget this. "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when we encounter various trials.”

 

"Knowing" – hear that word "knowing" again? – "knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect" – and the word "perfect' there means mature. It is the Greek word teleios, meaning ‘mature, brought to maturity’ – “that you might be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives liberally to all men…”

 

This is woven all through the Bible. If we had time, we could go back to Psalms, and starting pulling out psalm after psalm as David wrestles through his trials and tribulations, and ends up on the high ground of hope in God.

 

For example, look at Psalm 42 and 43. "Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God." Repeated three times – twice in Psalm 42, once in Psalm 43 – which indicates it was probably originally one psalm.

 

Martin Lloyd Jones said "You must preach this to yourself: ‘Why are you downcast O my soul?’" You are preaching to your own soul. You need to remind yourself what you know. You need to preach to your heart what you have already heard preached to you. Why are you so downcast? Why are you falling apart? Why are you unraveling like a cheap sweater? Why are you having an emotional meltdown? Why? Put your hope in God. God will come through.

           

That is exactly what is going on here. The third benefit is hope in God. Certainty in God through the storms of life that God is at the helm of the ship, and this ship is not going down, and no one is going overboard. He is going to steer us into the safe harbor of heaven.

 

Do you think the Christians in Rome needed to hear this? They were not living in Dallas, Texas, with four churches on every corner. They were living in Rome under the heel of Cesar, under the dominance of that pagan cesspool of iniquity. Do you think they needed to hear this? Absolutely, they did. They needed to have their pillars shored up and strengthened in the midst of living in a decadent society.

 

In some ways, we are in a little bit of a cul-de-sac here in Dallas. Great place. I just moved here. I am happy here. But man, we get on a plane and go to some other city – such as San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles. This is more real than tomorrow's newspaper. This is where we are living and what we need, but we need it here in Dallas as well. We are not exempt from tribulations.

 

IV.          LOVE OF GOD

 

Number four, we have the love of God also. This is more than just a legal transaction in heaven. If all we do is harp on justification by faith alone and this legal transaction, which it is, I do not mean to demean it, but if it is just an island unto itself, no wonder there is not the dynamic Christian living that there ought to be. This is more than paperwork up in a file someplace in heaven.

 

In a real, living, active way in our Christian lives, this is all tied together, and Paul says now, in the middle of verse five, "because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts."

 

That is about as real, personal, and internal as it gets. It is not splashed on the skin, on the façade or external wall of our life. God is pouring out His love, and He is not doing it with a little eyedropper, a few drops here and there – no, it is pouring. This is Niagara Falls gushing into our hearts, filled to overflowing.

 

In addition, this is a package deal. If you are justified, the love of God has been poured out, oceans of it, into your heart. This is not our love for God; this is His love for us. The experiential reality of the love of God within our hearts and souls. When we go through tribulations, we need to know that God has not abandoned us.

 

In fact, Paul will conclude Romans chapter eight in a fuller expression of this when he says, "And what shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus?... For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing" – Paul is going north, south, east, west, up, down, all around – "Nothing" – read my lips – "Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Through the storm, through the tribulation, God is pouring out His love upon us in many expressions of His encouragement, His support, His direction, His presence, His provision, etc., etc., etc.

 

This word for love, it is the first time love is mentioned in the Book of Romans, it is the agape love – self-giving, sacrificial love that seeks the highest good of the one loved. God is giving, giving, giving. It is not just sentimental mush – God has warm fuzzies in heaven about us and pours that into us – no. It is God giving of Himself, giving His Son, giving the Holy Spirit, giving grace upon grace upon grace.

 

In fact, giving us everything that we need. Nothing is withheld. And Paul will tell us later in Romans 8:32, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"

 

If God has given us His Son, do you not think He will give these other little things to us? He has given the greater. Will He not also give the smaller?            God has given us the greater day by day by day by day. He will give us the lesser in full measure. All things. Not some things. Not a few things. All things. If you do not have it, you do not need it. He will give you what you need.

 

I told you I used to drive to seminary when I was getting my doctorate. I was driving through the rice paddies of Arkansas, just Nowheresville. You have to go towards town to go hunting. Out in the middle of nowhere. The city sign says hello and goodbye on the same sign.

 

There was this one general store, I do not even remember what town it was, and on the front of the building it said, "If you cannot stop, wave." And then it said, "If we do not have it, you do not need it."

 

Well, that's kind of what is being said here – if you do not have it, you do not need it because God will give you everything you need. If you will at least ask for it, He will give it. And so the love of God has been poured out within our hearts. It is deep down within our soul. It cannot be any more in the epicenter of your being. 

 

V.            SPIRIT OF GOD

 

Let me give you the last one, the Holy Spirit. We get the Holy Spirit too. This is a good deal. It would be nuts not to believe in Jesus Christ. Paul continues in Romans 5:5, “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

 

First of all, it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to channel this love into us. The way He channels it into us is not by air dropping it.  The Holy Spirit moves in and sets up home within us and distributes everything that we need from the inside.

 

Please note several things about the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit,” Paul says, "who" – please note the pronoun here, "who." Not "What." The Holy Spirit is not a what. The Holy Spirit is not an it. The Holy Spirit is not the force. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal energy. It is “who.” It is the person of the Holy Spirit. 

 

He is as much a person as Jesus Christ is a person. He has all of the attributes of personhood. He has a mind, He has emotion, He has a will. That belongs to a person, not a rock or the wind.

 

We had the mind of the Spirit. We can grieve the Holy Spirit. The will of the Spirit gives gifts, etc. I do not have time to persuade you and layout the case for the personhood of the  Holy Spirit. But this is how personal it is on the inside. It is not that God has dropped off this thing inside of us. God himself has moved in and will never move out. 

 

He is in us to give us every single thing that we need to live the Christian life. Living the Christian life is impossible in our strength. He provides everything that we need to live it, and so Paul says – please note the verb here – "was given."

 

We do not have to go to church and pray for the Holy Spirit. He was given. You see how it is translated as a past-tense. It is an aorist tense verb which means He has already been given to us. Was given. And please note, we did not earn him, He was given as a gift by God. We were passive; God was active. It is a passive verb. “The Holy Spirit who was given” – and please note the last two words – "to us." The "us" is as broad as the "we" in verses one, two, three and six.

 

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have the Holy Spirit who has been given to you. If you do not have the Holy Spirit, I promise you, you are not a believer. Paul will belabor this case in chapter eight.

 

Everything is pointing ahead to chapter eight, and Paul says in Romans 8:9, “if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

 

That is crystal clear. Paul then says in verse 11, “if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” He is in us, enabling us to cry out "Abba Father" because He is pouring the love of God out within us. We're responding to the love of God by crying out to God as such.

 

This is what accompanies justification by faith. Justification never rides solo. Justification is always in the passenger seat. Peace with God. Access to God. Hope in God. Love of God. Spirit of God. It is all a package deal and it is related to our daily Christian living.

 

What Paul is preparing us for is this massive theological truth that justification and sanctification are welded together, inseparably bound together, and the moment you are justified, immediately your sanctification begins. It is not three years later at camp or five years later once you get out of college. The moment you are justified, in that moment sanctification begins.

           

Picture a train with all these cars hooked up together. They are all coupled together. Foreknowledge. Predestination. Calling. Justification. Glorification. In the middle is sanctification – being conformed into the image of Christ. When the image pulls out, all the cars are pulled together.  That is the way of the Christian life.

 

What a case that Paul is making here. I am excited about this, and I need this, because who knows what tribulation is getting ready to blow into my life today or tomorrow as I head home, as you head to the office, as you sit down at the desk, as you go home tonight after work. Who knows what tribulation? Are we going to exult in it? That does not mean we rejoice if there is a death in the family, but we do, in a sense, exult because we know that God is at work.

 

I remember the day that my father died. I had the hope that this was God's eternal purpose and plan. This was the day that God had ordained for my father to go to glory. I had to rejoice in God's purposes in the midst of my loss and tears and sorrow. There is kind of a both/and that's going on. We weep, but we also exult because we know that God is working this for His glory and for my good.

 

So that is our study. I have gone a little bit longer, but I just needed to try to get my arms around all this with you and not keep going half a verse at a time. The next time we meet, we are going to look at some of the greatest verses in the New Testament beginning in verse six.

 

I do not even want to start reading them. They are just so great that you cannot stop reading once you start. If there has ever been a Bible study you have been a part of, you are going to want to be a part of the one in two weeks. For those of you watching, please join us.

 

We inventory all these lessons on our webpage at OnePassionMinistries.org, you can access them there. We are beginning to post the transcripts of the studies as well. You can watch, listen, or read. We want to be able to minister to you and to encourage you in your Christian walk.  

 

Audience:        While you were teaching I thought it was fascinating, back in Job 19:25, in one of the great statements of the Old Testament, the oldest books, he says, "I know that my redeemer lives." I love the way you said, "That's the way to get through tribulations. Stop looking at the hood ornament or looking at your feet, and look up." That's what makes the peace of Christ seem to come back into our lives. But it's fascinating that even Job had to know. That's why doctrine is so practical. It's what's in your head that really can change your life.

 

Dr. Lawson:   You're exactly right. I think we tend to be, I tend to be, an emotional roller coaster at times. Because I forget certain things, and I'm up, down, all around. When I'm up you can hear me laughing from 12 blocks away, dogs are coming. But when I'm down, I'm playing handball with the curb. I'm just lower than low. I'm looking at the other side of the oriental rug. I must not allow myself to forget what God is about. I need this more than anyone else in the room.

 

We will close in a word of prayer. Father, thank You for these truths. I pray that as tribulations are blown into our lives, and as You send us into the storms, help us to remember and to know this. Give us an anchor for our soul that we can have hope, and to know that you are working out perseverance and producing proven character in us. Continue to pour out Your love by Your spirit into us. Father, we are so leaky, and it leaks out of us. We need fresh outpourings of Your love within us. Thank You that You will never forsake us. In Christ's name, Amen. 

Dr. Steven J. Lawson

Dr. Steven J. Lawson is President and founder of OnePassion Ministries, a ministry designed to equip biblical expositors to bring about a new reformation in the church. Dr. Lawson hosts The Institute for Expository Preaching in cities around the world. Dr. Lawson is also a Teaching Fellow for Ligonier Ministries, where he serves on its board. Moreover, he is Professor of Preaching and oversees the Doctor of Ministry program at The Master’s Seminary, where he also serves on its board. Dr. Lawson is also Professor in Residence for Truth Remains, a work designed to promote and proclaim God’s written Word. Further, Dr. Lawson serves as the Executive Editor for Expositor Magazine published by OnePassion Ministries.