Romans 5:1-5 (NRSV)
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Chapter 5Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Verse 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. Verse 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, Verse 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, Verse 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Reading the first verse of Paul’s words to the Romans, we might be tempted to think of faith in terms of a work, something to achieve, to foster, or become successful at. As Terry Hershey in his blog Sabbath Moment has written, “We might be tempted to turn faith into a certitude, a certain set of beliefs, of doctrinal statements.”
But Paul reminds us that faith is not something we accomplish, or something we stamp with our seal of authority, but a free ever-flowing gift—a gift that includes peace and trust in our creator and savior. His words have been described as a lyrical message to those suffering in Rome. Even in the midst of questions and doubts, faith can be described as a fundamental confidence in God.
Rather than faith becoming an intellectual pursuit, we can experience it as a sense of peace. It is only in such peace that suffering will finally produce endurance, character, and an everlasting hope.
Lord Jesus, give us the faith that opens us to your will, to your desire for our lives. Amen.