Romans 5:3-4—”And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:”
After being introduced to the Gospel, the Holy Spirit opens our heart so that through the Gospel we start to trust Christ for all that God promises for us in Him. We start to desire Jesus more than all human treasures. When this faith happens, we are justified before God, which means the Spirit of God unites us to Christ so that His death becomes death to our old ways, and His life becomes life of us being reborn in Him. God laid our sins on Jesus, and on us, God laid the righteousness of Jesus. In this way, we stand before God forgiven for all our sins and with the righteousness of Christ. Thus, we have peace with God, the grace of God, and the hope of the glory of God.
Apart from exulting, the we also go through tribulations. Paul used to exult in his tribulations and in his weaknesses (such as: insults, sicknesses, persecutions, and afflictions, all for Christ’s sake) than to murmur and complain about them. Tribulations are tests of our faith. They could be tribulations from: health issues, broken relationships, vocational hardships; accidents or natural disasters; verbal or physical assaults; or simply everyday inconveniences from traffic jams to plumbing problems. Anything that makes life harder and threatens our faith in the goodness, power, and wisdom of God is a tribulation.
However, we stand in God’s omnipotent grace that we receive by trusting in God’s promises, though we don’t deserve it. The power to exult in tribulation comes from this grace. When things go bad for us, do we rest in the grace of God, experience joy, and keep on loving people? Or, do we forget the grace of God, overflow with complaints; and become self-absorbed and critical, instead of loving? Grace opens the eyes of our hearts to truth; it sets us free from complaints, from paralyzing frustrations, and from a critical spirit.
There are four truths that will change us into peaceful, joyful people who exult in our afflictions.
1. Tribulation is like the fire that tempers the steel of faith for endurance, when our faith looks to Christ for His power, wisdom, and His love.
2. When we go through tribulations, and our faith though tested, perseveres, what we get is a sense of authenticity. We feel that our faith is real, authentic, and proven.
3. When our faith has been proven genuine, we know we are real and not a fake Christian. This proven faith gives us hope that we really are children of God and will inherit His glory.
4. The hope that is inspired by proven character is real, because the Holy Spirit has come into our life and has begun to pour the love of God experientially into our heart.
We are going be a part of Christ’s future kingdom, and live forever with unbroken joy and no affliction. We can finally be with God, see Him, and enjoy Him infinitely.