Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 5

How trouble can bring about hope instead of despair

Romans 5:3-4

Christians can be joyful even during their troubles. They are not, of course, joyful about their troubles. They are joyful about what God is doing in their lives during those troubles.

God is perfect (James 1:17) and he does not do any evil thing (James 1:13). He does not cause trouble for us - but he can use even the worst situations for our benefit (8:28). So even our worst troubles cannot separate us from Christís love for us (8:35).

Everyone suffers troubles. For many people, their experience is the exact opposite of what Paul describes. Their trouble makes them anxious. The result is that they feel doubt; and that doubt produces despair, not hope.

The experience of Godís people can and should be different. In their troubles, they are patient - in other words, they stand firm. They are trusting God, so they do not allow their troubles to disturb them.

That patience produces what some translations call character. The correct translation, however, is proof. They have stood firm during troubles that would ruin other peopleís beliefs. So, now they have the proof, the experience and the confidence that God really is working in their lives.

The result is that they have hope. In other words, they expect God to do good things. This is not some uncertain hope that may disappoint them. Like Abraham (4:18), they have the confidence that God will carry out his promises. Their experience during their troubles has convinced them both of his goodness and of his power.

Next part: God does not disappoint his people, because of his love for them (Romans 5:5)


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