Saturday, December 25, 2010

Are You Experiencing God’s Peace and Joy?



Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)


These verses introduce a section that contains some difficult concepts. To understand the next four chapters in the book of Romans, it helps to keep in mind the two-sided reality of the Christian life. On the one hand, we are complete in Christ (our acceptance with Him is secured). On the other hand, we are growing in Christ (we are becoming more and more like Him). At one and the same time we have the status of kings and the duties of slaves. We feel both the presence of Christ and the pressure of sin. We enjoy the peace that comes from being made right with God; but we still face daily problems that often help us grow. If we remember these two sides of the Christian life, we will not grow discouraged as we face temptations and problems. In stead, we will learn to depend on the power available to us from Christ, who lives in us by the Holy Spirit.




In Romans 5:1, Peace here is not a subjective feeling of peace. Rather, this peace is the state of being at peace instead of at war. The hostility between God and the believer has ceased. The believer has been reconciled to God.



In Romans 5:2, to have access means “to approach,” as if by introduction into a king’s throne room. Believers have been granted admission to stand before God. Even though they were once rebels, they do not have to face His judgment. Instead they approach His throne in the realm of grace, or in the King’s favor. Rejoice means “to boast” and hope means “expectation.” Believers boast in the sure expectation of the glory of God. They are confident, for God Himself has placed the Holy Spirit in their hearts (Romans 5:5).



Paul states that, as believers, we now stand in a place of highest privilege (“this grace in which we now stand”). Not only has God declared us not guilty; He has drawn us close to Himself. Instead of being enemies, we have become His friends – in fact, His own children (John 15:15; Galatians 4:5).



As Paul states clearly in 1 Corinthians 13:13, faith, hope, and love are at the heart of the Christian life. Our relationship with God begins with faith, which helps us realize that we are delivered from our past by Christ’s death. Hope grows as we learn all that God has in mind for us; it gives us the promise of the future. And God’s love fills our lives and gives us the ability to reach out to others.



In Romans 5:3, glory is the same Greek word that is translated “rejoice” in Romans 5:2. Believers can rejoice, glory, and boast not only in their future hope (Romans 5:2) but also in their present troubles. Tribulations refer to physical hardship, suffering, and distress. Perseverance means “endurance.” Trials and tribulation produce endurance when we exercise faith during those difficult times (James 1:2, 3). As believers endure tribulation, God works in them to develop certain qualities and virtues that will strengthen them and draw them closer to Him. The result is fortified hope in God and His promises. Such faith produces its own reward (Matthew 5:10–12; 2 Timothy 2:12).



For first-century Christians, suffering was the rule rather than the exception. Paul tells us that in the future we will become, but until then we must overcome. This means we will experience difficulties that help us grow. We rejoice in suffering not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life’s difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build our character. The problems that we run into will develop our perseverance – which in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the future. You probably find your patience tested in some way everyday. Thank God for those opportunities to grow, and deal with them in His strength (James 1:1-4; 1 Peter 1:6, 7).



The hope that believers have of their future glory with God will not disappoint them by being unfulfilled. They will not be put to shame or humiliated because of their hope. The reason the believer can be so confident is that the love of God has been poured out. The moment a person trusts in Christ, that person receives the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), who constantly encourages them in their hope in God.



All three members of the Trinity are involved in salvation. The Father loved us so much that He sent His Son to bridge the gap between us (John 3:16). The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit to fill our lives with love and to enable us to live by His power (Acts 1:8). With all this loving care, how can we do less than serve Him completely!



Here is my question to you this CHRISTmas morning: Are you experiencing God’s peace and joy today as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? I hope the answer is Yes!



Merry CHRISTmas to all of my blogging friends and followers. May our Lord bless you all abundantly. And please always remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. God bless and Amen.



References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), and the Nelson Study Bible.

33 comments:

Clint said...

Thank you, Lloyd, for your wonderful blog. Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours. God bless.

Lon said...

Thank you for sharing this post! And a Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family!

God Bless!!!

Lon

A multi-dimensional life said...

Dear Lloyd,
This is such a beautiful explanation of the scriptures and the message of the gospel. Bless you and bless your blog/your ministry as you speak the truth in love. Thank you for stopping by to wish me and my family a Merry
Christmas! We are slowing down this morning to enjoy the reason for the season!

YES...I'm experiencing God’s peace and joy today as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Amen.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Bevy Lucy Ruthy said...

Thanks for dropping by Lloyd! God bless you and your family and Merry
CHRISTmass to you too. ;)

Stapofam said...

A vey merry xmas to you and your family Lloyd. I trust grace and love abound, not only at this time but all through the year. Take care. Ian

Gorges Smythe said...

Good post, Lloyd. I've met many non-believers that think Christians are supposed to be perfect and many Christians who think they ARE! A bit of balance goes a long way toward the Christian life more sensible.

dfish said...

I hope you've had a great Christmas today. I had a great day, and have been richly blessed.

Great post. I'm am so glad the peace he promised is not about earthly peace, as most people define it, but peace in our hearts with God. Peace with other people is a byproduct of that peace with Him.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

Doris

noah chong said...

Yes!Jesus Christ is the Reason for the Season.We should know that He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Crystal Mary said...

Well written Lloyd. Happy Christmas and New Year. God Bless you and your ministry.Crystal Mary

Paulo César said...

Deus abençoe você e sua família, um feliz natal, deixa eu te falar uma coisa sou casado tenho uma filha e o meu Sonho é um dia poder fazer uma visita nos Estados Unidos tenho fé para isso, não sei como vai ser um dia isso vai acontecer, ainda vou louvar o Senhor a i, fica na paz de Deus e obrigado por lembrar de mim, fica na paz.

Zim said...

Last time I had time of doubting - I thought "Why should I be testimony for unbelievers in my nearest area? They don't look at this". I started to read Psalms - this reading raised me in the spirit. Everyone has time of doubting - some years ago one Lutheran priest said me, that every believing person doubts. Even prophets doubted. We have Holy Spirit - the promised Comforter and if we start scream to God - He will hear us.

Heavenly Muse said...

happy new year ....and merry Christmas.

One Heart said...

Yes, He is the reason for the season. Praise His name.

Thank you so much for your prayers for Sarah.

Have a beautiful day.

Jeannie said...

Hey Lloyd,

I just wanted to say that I appreciate your blog and you stopping by to read mine. Happy holidays.

The Angulo's said...

Brother Lloyd,

Yes, I remember how relieved I was to be right with God 9 years ago. I did feel a divine peace that was nothing like I had ever felt. I felt such a security. I was loved by GOD.

There is no feeling more great than to know I could come boldly to GOD and call him Heavenly Father and mean it and believe it.

There is no happiness better than to know we have a glorious future with God. Thank you for this reminder. :)

I wish I could rejoice in all tribulations. I shrink back during the really fiery ones instead. Like the famous "Footprints" poem, instead I ask God to carry me through certain trials and He has. Maybe one day I will feel the reality of rejoicing in those trials.

Thank you for blessing us with your greeting over at our blog. We are grateful to you. We replied to it. I want to encourage you to leave us your thoughts anytime you can.

God bless you.:)

Mrs. A

Tamunoibifiri Mobolaji-Kamson said...

Hi i love your blog. i read the article on So, why is incest wrong and i loved it... we as Christians should be able to stand for what is right and homosexuality, incest they both bring destruction to the family unit and it is against the laws of God... I am now an avid follower and keep up the good work...www.secretlilies.blogspot.com.

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Amen! Good Bible study Lloyd :-)

Happy New Year from Southern California. No snow here but a lot of rain storms and mud slides!

I hope you and your family had a Wonderful Christmas Celebration.

God Bless You, ~Ron

Mumsy said...

Thank you, Lloyd for stopping by my blog and becoming a follower again. I lost my other blog and had to start another one. I am now following yours again.

I enjoyed the music while here. Have a happy and blessed new year!

Andreas Lim said...

Thank you Lloyd, for your wonderful blog. i love to see it. Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family too. God bless.

Tiber Jumper said...

Lloyd
Thanks for stopping by my blog. You said you liked my blog.
Can I ask you what do you like about it?
Are you interested in learning more about the Catholic faith?
If you read my profile you will see that I spent 31 years of my life as an evangelical thinking that Catholicism was false based on propaganda that was fed to me through chick tracts and other such trash.
By the grace of God he has lead me back to the Church Jesus started and I am in awe of his love He has lavished on me through the tremendous power and grace I have experienced on the sacraments of The Eucharist and Confession.
I hope and pray you were sincere and honest in posting on my blog because if you were, I'd love tell you more about how you can get closer to Jesus through the Catholic faith.
Please do let me know what your motivation was for visiting my blog.
God bless

Sharon Kirby said...

Great post, Lloyd. I especially liked how you contrasted our completeness in Christ with our growth in Christ. This was inspired: "At one and the same time we have the STATUS of kings and the DUTIES of slaves. We feel both the presence of Christ and the pressure of sin." How very true. That tug-pull of the Christian's walk.

I'm going to be pondering the thoughts you've brought up. Thank you for sharing.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas - and it's going to be a great 2011!

GOD BLESS!

chimakuni said...

Merry Christmas Lloyd. May you continue to enjoy the Christmas Season.

David C Brown said...

"And this man shall be Peace", Micah 5: 5. It's good to know the one Man that this relates to!

Prayer Notes by Cynthia said...

I love this hymn. It reminds me of church when I was younger. Many blessings!

Lloyd said...

Tiber - The reason I became interested in reading the posts on your blog was because I am always curious as to why a person, who was a devoted evangelical for so many years, would turn to Catholicism. I can only believe that you did not find the church that offered our Lord's fellowship and teachings. I am very sincere and honest in my posting...but my motives may be on the same line as yours...too bringing you back to the TRUTH of God's Word.

If you check out my blog you would know that I am not connected with the RCC nor will I ever be. However, it is my mission to witness for Jesus to whoever will listen to me. I respect your judgment regarding the path you have taken. I also see that, like me, you will probably not be converted. I will leave it up to you whether to post your comment and my reply on my blog. God's blessings to you and your ministry. Lloyd

Gislene... said...

hi,

Thanks for your gracious comment. I'm glad you enjoyed my post. Well, i'm latter day-saints. I will not have to worry about their post about my religion. It is wonderful to know that you speak of Jesus Christ, but since you do not speak ill of other religions. It's hypocrisy! Jesus left us the commandment not to judge!
Sorry if I was rude!
I believe everyone should live their lives without criticizing other people or religions!
See ya!
Happy New year! God bless you too!

Lloyd said...

Clint and Lon - Thank you for your visit and comments. Bless both of you and may God work in your lives this coming New Year. Blessings.

A multi-dimensional life - I want to personally thank you for your visit and encouraging comments. Blessings to you this coming new year.

Bevy and Stapofam - Thank you for your comments and visits. Blessings to both of you this coming new year.

Gorges - Thanks for the visit and comments. I agree with you. I think sometimes believers need to get off of their soapbox and humble themselves before the Lord. Blessings my friend.

dfish - I had a wonderful Christmas day with my family... so happy that you also had a great day. You are so right in saying, "peace he promised is not about earthly peace, as most people define it, but peace in our hearts with God. Peace with other people is a byproduct of that peace with Him." God's blessings to you and your family this coming new year.

Hold my hand, Noah, and Crystal Mary - Thank you all for your visits and kind comments. It is my prayer that all of you have a blessed new year.

Paulo Cesar - I want to personally thank you for your visit and comments. I hope that you, your wife and daughter all had a Merry Christmas. I will lift you and your family up to the Lord that someday you will be able to make it the United States for a visit. Let me know if you are going to visit the west coast (Oregon) so maybe we can get together. God's blessings

Zim - Thank you for your visit and inspirational comments. You are a blessing to all who reads this post. God bless you and your family.

One Heart, Jeannie, and Heavenly Muse - Thank you so much for your visits and comments. I am still praying for Sarah and family One Heart..... you are such a blessing to your readers. May God bless each one of you the New Year.

Mrs. A - Thank you for dropping by and giving such a great witness to our Lord. I really enjoy reading the posts on you and Mr. A's blog. It is my prayer that you and your family will be blessed this coming new year.

Tamunoibifiri and Old Geezer - Thanks for the visit and comments. Tamunoibifiri, I agree with you totally and believe that all Christians need to take a firm stand when it comes to sexual immorality. Thank you Ron... we are also having lots of rain here in the coastal areas of Oregon. My family had a wonderful Christmas. May God bless you.

Mumsy and Andreas - Thank you both for the visit and comments. I am glad that you got your blog up and running again Mumsy....and so happy you enjoyed the background music on my blog.

Sharon - Thank you so much for your encouraging comments and visit. It is always good to meditate on the Word of God and allow the Spirit of Truth lead you where God wants you to be. Blessings.

chimakuni, David, and Cynthia - I want to thank all of you for your visits and kind comments. Blessings.

Gislene - Thank you so much for your visit and comments. I really enjoyed looking over your blog. Please read my side post "Should Christian's Judge Others?" because Jesus was not against believers making judgmental choices when it came to His teachings. Also you mentioned that you are an LDS member. I always respect the "religious" choices that people make, but when it comes to our eternal life with our Heavenly Father, it is very important to have all of the facts regarding a religious organization or denomination before you join them. That is why I have two very important videos posted on the sidebar of my blog for Mormons or folks that are thinking about joining the Mormon Church to view. Then after viewing these videos, ask yourself if you are worshiping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I am praying for you. Blessings

Suely - HD said...

Dear Lloyd,

Happy New Year,

God Bless,
Suely

Crystal Pistol said...

Thank you for this post. I found it very uplifting. I feel more peace just for having read it.

WORLASI said...

Thanks Loyd and God bless you too. Thanks also for your nice comments on my blog and the visit. An invitation to follow your blog is something I will never turn down and am even following you now. Stay blessed and may God grant you peace that is above all human understanding in this new year and beyond.

bibelaventyr said...

you have a nice blog ^ ^ thanks for your nice comment. I have to translate from Swedish to English: P so you can understand .. have a good year! / Ellen

normy said...

Thank you, Lloyd

from Agentina♥