Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)
Don’t worry if your children get overly excited about little things, they can always get a job in one of those annoying TV adverts: “But wait, there’s more! But wait, there’s more!” Usually what’s being offered is always all out of proportion to the excitement of the advertiser. Not so with Christianity. It really is that good. There’s always more. In our passage there is a list of benefits that come from being justified by faith and just when you think it can’t get any better, wait, there’s more to come! In the previous chapters Paul has explained that ‘justified by faith’ means to have been declared righteous by God through His giving to us the righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ. God stamps us as perfectly, delightfully acceptable to Him. Our sinful unacceptability was transferred to Jesus who died in our place bearing the punishment we deserve. By having faith in Him, we are ‘righteousified’, to put it literally. But there’s more. As a result we have ‘peace with God’. Yep, you heard that right. We are now friends with God! We get all that the rich Hebrew word ‘shalom’ refers to. It means all the covenant blessings promised to Israel are ours. But there’s more. We have access into grace! We can tap into grace whenever we need it. Which is always. Which is why Paul says we stand in that grace. But wait, there’s more. We rejoice in hope. We are filled with the guaranteed certainty of what lies ahead: the glory of God. Yes, nothing less than the glory of God! Experience will prove that the longing for God is sweeter than the receiving of any other treasure. But there’s more. We even get to rejoice in suffering. Not that suffering itself makes us rejoice. But now, thanks to justification by faith, our suffering has purpose. When we faithfully endure suffering it produces character and that character takes us full circle back to even more hope. What a joy that is! Our suffering contributes to our joy! And solid hope never disappoints because, by His Spirit, God pours out His love into our hearts. Pray that you be justified by faith. Then ask the Father to give you His Spirit so that you will be assured of His love. Then today, keep thinking about these four blessings: peace with God, access to grace, rejoicing in hope, and endurance that produces character.