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 boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 NIV)
It is clear from this passage that we have been brought back into relationship with the Father. Through Jesus, we now have peace with God and this enables us to come freely to him irrespective of how we feel or what we think we might have done. We have the assurance, not only of our sins being forgiven but also a right relationship with God, our Creator and Father. Despite this (which, of course, is very good news) we live in a world where there will be suffering. It is because of the assurance of our right relationship with God, the Father that we are able to hang on and endure the suffering that is thrown at us. As we do, we are inevitably changed. Hope, that for which we long for, the certainty of our future with him can be drawn into the reality of our day to day life.
What I particularly want to draw out of these verses is that the ability to go through suffering is based on his love being poured freely into our heart. It is not the consequence of our own works.
The Father’s love is not the end of the journey. It is not a reward for persevering through suffering, allowing our character to change and somehow finding hope for the future. No, it is because his love has been poured into our heart that we are able to endure suffering (through which we are changed). I often say that God does not pour his love into our mind in the hope that, one day, it will drop into our heart. Receiving his love is not an exercise of our will or mind, it is the free gift of HIM pouring HIS love directly into our heart.
It does not end with love but begins with love. His love is the foundation on which we build our lives, it is a solid rock, anything else is shifting sand.
The Passion Translation says: “we can experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit”.
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Mark Gyde - A Father to YOU