We rejoice in our sufferings... some of you may think- why on EARTH would I do that? Once you have suffered while believing in Christ, you realize that although the suffering is painful while in the midst of it, they transform you to be more like Christ. How? God uses all things for His glory. All circumstances of suffering are different, and God doesn't use them all in the same way. But He uses suffering to turn our hearts to Him. Maybe we have tried to live life on our own for so long, and amidst this specific suffering God allowed, we realize we can't get through the pain on our own- we need Him. Maybe it's only by the power of God that your marriage was restored after a spouse acted unfaithful. Maybe it's the comfort given to you by God when someone close to you passes away. Whatever the suffering, God wants to be right with you. When we suffer, and know we are not alone, and get through it by the grace, mercy and power of God, the next time we suffer- we have faith and knowledge that God will get us through the next. That is endurance! We are then able to endure all things because we know that God, who loves us and has infinite control will do what's best. Even when it seems the worst, God will be right by our side. Sometimes, God uses what Satan meant for evil and turns it into good. An unfaithful spouse that repents and is reconciled with the forgiving spouse is a great example of that. Satan intended to ruin their marriage and win a heart over to death, but God because of His great mercy and power, took what was made for evil and made it good. Once we have faced a few trials through endurance, we begin to have more faith and trust in God and less faith and trust in ourselves. This makes a change in our character. We become more reliant on Him, we become more fruitful because of our faith, we have more confidence in Him, we look at our circumstances differently. Our character becomes more unified with Jesus. Because of our faith, confidence, and trust in Him it builds our hope in Him- and so it should, because God's love is inescapable, and we will see more and more of His love the more we have hope in Him.
6-8 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I love the reality of these verses. A man may choose to die for someone that is a good person- but for a 'bad' person, would someone sacrifice their life? That makes God's love so much different than a human's love and separates His magnificance from our insignificant selves. Jesus died for us while we were in sin. He did not come to die for the righteous- but for the greedy, the malicious, the drunkards, the idolaters, the adulterers, the murderers, the liars, the selfish. All of us, at one point in our lives fell into one of those descriptions. For some, including me, I fell into a few. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11~ Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor the idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (Emphasis mine.) How amazing.
10 For while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
18-19 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.
This verse is neat because it takes us back to Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve. It parallels the sin of Adam to the righteousness of Christ. What Adam did in leading all men to condemnation is made right by Jesus dying on the cross that leads all men to justification and life. Through Adam's disobedience we were made sinners, but through Jesus' obedience we were made blameless. I absolutely love when we can connect or when Scripture connects Old Testament with New Testament!
...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.