We have access by faith into this grace…. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations. Romans 5:2-3
When the Bible speaks of tribulation, it isn’t always talking about the coming Great Tribulation. The English term tribulation comes from a Latin word meaning “to press or squeeze.” Jesus warned all His followers, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
We also find this word in Paul’s writings. In Romans 5, he tells us that when we are justified by faith, we have: (1) peace with God—verse 1; (2) access to grace—verse 2; (3) assurance of glory—verse 2; (4) and reversal of grief—verses 3-4. Paul wrote, “We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (verses 3-4).
That doesn’t mean we’re glad when tribulation comes. It means we’re glad for the knowledge that whenever we find ourselves in trouble, God knows how to manage it and redeem the circumstances. Whenever we face troubles, we’re in the zone of grace. Trust God and let Him use trouble to produce perseverance, character, and hope in your heart.
If we see only the problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory. Warren Wiersbe
Jesus Christ in the Book of Romans by John Piper
[God] will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples. Isaiah 25:7
A brutal car wreck devastated Mary Ann Franco. Though she survived, the injuries left her completely blind. “All I could see was blackness,” Franco explained. Twenty-one years later, she injured her back in a fall. After waking from surgery (which had nothing to do with her eyes), miraculously, her sight had returned! For the first time in more than two decades, Franco saw her daughter’s face. The neurosurgeon insisted there was no scientific explanation for her restored vision. The darkness that seemed so final gave way to beauty and light.
The Scriptures, as well as our experience, tell us that a shroud of ignorance and evil covers the world, blinding all of us to God’s love (Isaiah 25:7). Selfishness and greed, our self-sufficiency, our lust for power or image—all these compulsions obscure our vision, making us unable to clearly see the God who “in perfect faithfulness [has] done wonderful things” (v. 1).
One translation calls this blinding shroud a “cloud of gloom” (nlt). Left to ourselves, we experience only darkness, confusion, and despair. We often feel trapped—groping and stumbling, unable to see our way forward. Thankfully, Isaiah promises that God will ultimately “destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples” (v. 7).
God will not leave us hopeless. His radiant love removes whatever blinds us, surprising us with a beautiful vision of a good life and abundant grace.
Reflect & Pray
Where do you sense the darkness in your world? How do you imagine Jesus destroys that place?
God, the gloom is everywhere these days. It’s so difficult to see Your truth and love. Will You help me? I’m hopeless without You.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have God’s invitation to ask Him for whatever we need. What an amazing privilege! He’s not a stingy heavenly Father, but one who loves us and cares about every aspect of our life.
Sometimes, however, if the answers we expect aren’t materializing, we may question God’s love, interest, or ability. In today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reassures us that we can pray for our needs with full confidence in our Father’s provision. We are to …
Trust in His Care. Whenever we start to wonder whether our Father hears our requests, we can look outside at His creation (Matt. 6:26-32). If God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers, won’t He also care for His beloved children?
Believe His Promise. Jesus assures us that God will provide our basic needs if we’ll make Him our top priority in life (Matt. 6:32-33).
Seek His Kingdom and Righteousness. Jesus warns against making earthly things our treasure and admonishes us to store up heavenly riches instead (Matt. 6:19-21). That’s what it means to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness. When the desire and ambition of our life is to obey the Lord and reflect His character in our words, attitudes, and actions, He assumes the responsibility to provide whatever we may need.
God’s ways are different from how we naturally think. Human logic leads us to conclude that if we need something, we should seek it, but God’s perspective says, “Seek Me, and I’ll take care of your need.” Whose way are you trusting?
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” (1 John 3:1)
The Christian church has a rich heritage in its hymns. Over the years, dear saints of God have framed great Christian doctrines in music, easy to remember and a joy to sing. The unfathomable love of Christ for us is laid out clearly in the first verse of one such hymn, “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.”
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
Our text reminds us that the love of Christ is a different kind of love than that which we can express or even comprehend. We can only ask, “What manner of love is this?” We know it as grace, unmerited favor, a sweet blessing given to us that we do not deserve.
This love surrounds us, buoying us up and sweeping us along in its current. We have the privilege of returning that love: “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Such love led Him to Calvary and us to eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
This love will lead us on to glory, where we will spend eternity with the Author of love. Here He continues forever extending His love gifts to us. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). His love for us is so deep. JDM
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Man was made to worship God. God gave to man a harp and said, “Here above all the creatures that I have made and created I have given you the largest harp. I put more strings on your instrument and I have given you a wider range than I have given to any other creature. You can worship Me in a manner that no other creature can.” And when he sinned man took that instrument and threw it down in the mud and there it has lain for centuries, rusted, broken, unstrung; and man, instead of playing a harp like the angels and seeking to worship God in all of his activities, is ego-centered and turns in on himself and sulks and swears and laughs and sings, but it’s all without joy and without worship….
I say that the greatest tragedy in the world today is that God has made man in His image and made him to worship Him, made him to play the harp of worship before the face of God day and night, but he has failed God and dropped the harp. It lies voiceless at his feet. WMJ007-008
Lord, what a vivid picture! What a tragedy to see that harp lying
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.—Ephesians 3:17.
Christ in you, the hope of glory.—Colossians 1:27.
Enter my opening heart,
Fill it with love and peace and light from Heaven,
Give me Thyself—for all in Thee is given,
Come—never to depart.
Thomas William Webb.
Wherever thou goest, whatever thou dost at home, or abroad, in the field, or at church, do all in a desire of union with Christ, in imitation of His tempers and inclinations, and look upon all as nothing, but that which exercises, and increases the spirit and life of Christ in thy soul. From morning to night keep Jesus in thy heart, long for nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing but to have all that is within thee changed into the spirit and temper of the holy Jesus. This new birth in Christ, thus firmly believed and continually desired, will do everything that thou wantest to have done in thee, it will dry up all the springs of vice, stop all the workings of evil in thy nature, it will bring all that is good into thee, it will open all the gospel within thee, and thou wilt know what it is to be taught of God.
“Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.” Deut. 33:28
The more we dwell alone, the more safe shall we be. God would have His people separate from sinners. His call to them is, “Come ye out from among them.” A Christian world is such a monstrosity as the Scriptures never contemplate. A worldly Christian is spiritually diseased. Those who compromise with Christ’s enemies may be reckoned with them.
Our safety lies, not in making terms with the enemy but in dwelling alone with our best Friend. If we do this, we shall dwell in safety, despite the sarcasms, the slanders, and the sneers of the world. We shall be safe from the baleful influence of its unbelief, its pride, its vanity, its filthiness.
God also will make us dwell in safety alone in that day when sin shall be visited on the nations by wars and famines.
The Lord brought Abram from Ur of the Chaldees, but he stopped half-way. He had no blessing till, having set out to go to the land of Canaan, to the land of Canaan he came. He was safe alone even in the midst of foes. Lot was not safe in Sodom though in a circle of friends. Our safety is in dwelling apart with God.