The “problem” with a favorite passage of Scripture might be the tendency to read again what you already know is in the passage rather than take of note of that which is perhaps over-shadowed by the familiar. Case in point, my reading in Romans 5:1-11 this morning (almost afternoon . . . have I mentioned before how much I enjoy Mondays).
I am always brought to amazement and wonder-filled appreciation as I read these verses. ” . . . while we were still weak . . . while we were still sinners . . . while we were enemies . . . Christ died for the ungodly . . . Christ died for us . . . we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (5:5-10). Doesn’t get much better than that! No merit I bring . . . solely to the cross I cling!
But interestingly enough something else jumped off the page this morning. A thrice repeated word. And as I noodled on it, a thrice enforced encouragement.
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. . . . More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, . . . More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
(Romans 5:2, 3a, 11 ESV)
Rejoice! That’s God’s word for me this morning. Rejoice!
We rejoice in hope of the glory, that’s our future. Because of that we can rejoice in our sufferings, all too often a part of our present. And we do so because we rejoice of what has occurred in our past–we have received reconciliation in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s all covered. Our past, our present, and our future. And in whatever “season” we can rejoice . . . rejoice . . . and rejoice even more. So why don’t we?
Rejoice. To be joyful in our eternal lot. To be boastful in the work accomplished on our behalf. To be triumphant in that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. To glory in the grace we have known, that “I am His and He is mine.”
Spend just a bit of time counting your blessings and it’s enough to make you giddy . . . regardless of what’s going on in your life. For even in the storm He can be known as our Anchor . . . in the clouds He shines forth as the Light . . . and, despite being pressed hard from every side, He abides within filling us to life-sustaining endurance.
So why don’t we rejoice more? What’s the thorn in the side of the joyless saint that keeps them from tilting a smiling face toward heaven once in a while? What’s missing, that at some point, even amidst suffering, there isn’t some trickle of gladness that pours forth from knowing that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18)?
I’m not minimizing anyone’s pain. Not, in any way, saying we need to just “suck it up.” Not at all. But, for those who know Christ, how can we not rejoice? How can we not know an authentic inner joy that transcends all else?
Too easy to take our salvation for granted. Too commonplace for us to just go through the motions when it comes to our worship and walk. Too understandable that we might turn our eyes on our struggles on earth, or the treasures and pleasure of this earth, and the things of heaven grow strangely dim. I get it. But I don’t think we should settle for it.
While we were still weak, Jesus died for the ungodly. Rejoice! While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rejoice! While we were still enemies we were reconciled to the Father by the death of His Son. Rejoice!
Because of grace . . . by grace . . . and for His all deserving glory . . . Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say rejoice!