Romans 5:3 “And not only that”
This is one of the most amazing sections in all of Scripture. I have it highlighted signifying its importance. The road to heaven is paved with joyful suffering!
Paul begins by laying the foundation for every Christian. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). God, by His grace, declares sinners righteous through faith in the finished work of Christ. Thus, removing sin and guilt! Paul continues, “Through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2). So, we have benefits that flow from the foundational truth of justification by faith.
1. We have forgiveness and peace, “For He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14).
2. We have access to the throne of grace. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
3. We stand secure in Christ. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
4. We rejoice in hope. “But Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (Heb. 3:6).
And then Paul says, “And not only that” (Rom. 5:3). By God’s amazing grace, we have forgiveness and peace, access to the throne of grace, no condemnation, and confident hope. Wow! No wonder we can sing “Victory in Jesus!” Yet, Paul says, “And not only that” – all the benefits that flow from being justified by faith – and still, there is more. Can you believe rejoicing in suffering is actually a benefit?
“And not only that, but we glory in tribulations” (Rom. 5:3).
Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Likewise, Paul affirms, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). To one degree or another, every Christian experiences pressures, distresses, and persecutions for His name sake. But, as we encounter suffering, we rejoice. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12). Similarly, Peter wrote, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s suffering, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1Peter 4:12-13). There you have it. The road to heaven is paved with joyful suffering!
But why did Paul write as if suffering is a benefit? Does God really have a purpose in our partaking of Christ’s suffering? Can we really rejoice when family and friends revile and persecute us? (Matt. 10:34-39) What about when we don’t get that promotion because we are Christians, can we rejoice in that? When we experience loneliness for contending for the faith against false doctrine, abortion, and homosexuality, can we glory in that? When our brothers and sisters around the globe have their possessions plundered and spend time imprisoned because they will not renounce their faith, can they even rejoice in those severe tribulations? Tune in next time for part 2. Amen!
Written by Chuck Hayes