Read: Romans 5:1-11
Doubt creeps in on all of us. As we watch a world in turmoil, there is all the more reason to be unsure about things like faith, peace, and love. So how is it that Paul proclaims these very things with confidence? It wasn’t because he lived free from the suffering we see raging around us. On the contrary, one could say his life was marked by suffering. Before his conversion, he inflicted suffering on others. Then throughout his ministry, he faced suffering and persecution at every turn. His life was ultimately cut short in suffering a martyr’s death. So, we ask again: How is Paul so confident?
Perhaps he reveals his strategy here. He shares a unique formula in that suffering, through perseverance and character, leads to hope. “And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts.”
This is not just any hope. It is a hope in the love of God, which has been demonstrated in the giving of his own Son, Jesus, to us when we were powerless, ungodly, sinners, enemies. By leaning into the revelation that Christ suffered unto death for us, Paul discovers and taps into one of God’s great gifts for all believers: HOPE in God’s love.
Don’t miss this. This love was not earned; in fact, it couldn’t have been less deserved. As odd as this sounds, we should find this freeing. Because there was nothing we did to get this love, there is nothing we can do to lose this love. It is unconditionally offered for us to receive through Jesus. This is why we can confidently hope, as Paul did, in a way that overcomes doubt, disappointment, and even suffering.
- In addition to hope, what other gifts does Paul identify as being available to those who have put their faith in Jesus?
- Pay attention to your words, your behavior, your attitude. What do those things reveal about what you are hoping for and the security of your hope? Is your hope in the eternal and unshakeable, or might it end up disappointing you?
Loving God, we rejoice as Paul did in the hope of your glory, knowing that you will not disappoint. Through your Son Jesus, you overcame sin and separation to bring us reconciliation to yourself. Your love transforms us from enemies to children. Help us to hope evermore in your eternal, indomitable love. Amen.