Paul continues to share what faith in Jesus Christ has purchased for us. Through faith we have forgiveness from sin, grace, justification, and finally, reconciliation. They are all tied up in one another, but each aspect is essential to our ultimate hope in God.
When we take God at His word concerning the work Jesus did for us on the cross, we get the “full meal deal.” Jesus didn’t go to the cross just to atone for our sins. If that was all there was to our relationship animal sacrifices would have been sufficient.
God wanted a personal relationship with us again. Our understanding and faith in Jesus’ sacrifice was/is the only way that could happen. First came the belief (faith) that God and Jesus were exactly who they said they were. Only then could we ask Jesus to apply His blood to our sins. He already did the work but we had to have faith that it was for us personally before we could accept it.
The next step in this process is accepting God’s grace in spite of our past. Jesus willingly gave Himself for us but it was the Father’s grace that brought that opportunity about. If God hadn’t been willing to extend His grace to us, His unmerited favor, Jesus’ work would have been for nothing.
Through grace, bought with Jesus’ blood, we are justified, just as if I never sinned. We are no longer soiled by sin and trying to sneak in hoping He doesn’t catch us. We are clean. We are washed in Jesus’ blood.
Because we are clean we can then enter into relationship with God. An everlasting relationship. “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (verse 2).
Once we have a right relationship with God we have the ability to stand against whatever suffering life has in store for us. It doesn’t become all lollipops and sunshine when we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for us. There are still miles to go before our final home with God.
We have lessons to be learned along the way. God grows our faith through those lessons and brings us closer to Him. “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does no put us to shame” (verse3-5).
Our relationship with God grows through endurance/patience. We grow in character/spiritual maturity in our relationship and hold even tighter to the promises He has given us. We learn to trust Him more because we see His faithfulness in action as we walk along. We take Him at His word because He has been faithful to His word all along.
Father God, thank You for all the “proof” You have given me in my life. Thank You for Your faithfulness in the dark places. Thank You for those dark places. Without them I wouldn’t have been searching diligently for You. Thank You that You NEVER leave me alone in my circumstances. Thank You for rescuing me from the dark places of my own making and letting me learn from them too. As a child who loves watching their height grow on a measuring stick, I love seeing how You grow my faith through the years. I would love to reach “Your height.”