Today, I’m going to do something a little different in my message. In addition to speaking about a particular passage, I’m also going to touch on one of the key doctrines of Christianity-the Trinity. The concept is the Trinity is not mentioned specifically in the Bible, but it is there. The Trinity is one of the most difficult concepts to preach on, and that’s why many ministers take Trinity Sunday off!

Romans 5:5 begins a section of Scripture that scholars consider an exposition of God’s love for humankind. John 3:16 expanded and expounded upon God’s love. Paul refers to God’s glory, wrath, love and grace. God’s plan of salvation is a reflection and extension of his attributes.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans begins with the desperate condition of lost humanity and ends triumphantly with the benefits of being reconciled to God. Just as it begins and ends with “Through our Lord Jesus Christ,” so, too, is Christ first and last in the life of the believer.

God gives peace to us who have faith, even when we face life’s challenges. He pours out love and gives us hope until the day when we share in his fullness. God’s peace comes to us through Christ, and in Christ we have the constant assurance of God’s grace. The Holy Spirit is the means by which we experience God’s love.

Some people believe that they can earn their way out of sin debt to God. The problem with that belief is that people can never know how much is enough. If we trust in religion to save us, we will be in a constant state of fear because our debt will solve the mystery of our eternal destiny. Our fate might be eternal suffering. The only way to get relief from this fear is to receive God’s grace through faith. If we do, we will be at peace. We will also have the assurance that we will be with Jesus when he returns and remodels the world.

We can have confidence that Christ will set things right one day. We have been renewed and we are becoming more like Jesus. We can anticipate his return without unpleasant circumstances to distract us. This does not mean that our present lives will be free from suffering. Being faithful in a world that is full of suffering is difficult and making sense out of it is, as Jesus says in John’s Gospel, “too much for you know, but when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to complete truth.” That truth involves persevering with faith because of the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel reveals God’s love and justice, both of which begin and end with faith. When we are saved through faith and by God’s grace, we receive God’s righteousness and become children of God because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are made wholly acceptable to God. God’s love touches every part of our lives. It reaches out to everyone, and it is beyond comprehension. It’s like a buried treasure that we have found. God has given us the realities of peace, grace and love.

God’s love sounds regularly in our hearts, but it is seldom heard. It’s often buried under personal ambitions, cares, problems, daily routines and the general busyness of life. When we stop focusing on ourselves and our own problems and focus instead on God, our problems fade away.

God gives us everything we need for inner peace. He opened the way for us to be in his family. It’s as if we entered a castle and were escorted into the royal presence as honoured guests instead of being treated as outsiders. Jesus continually offers his peace so we can experience inner peace. The Holy Sprit cultivates the fruit of peace in our lives.

The word “peace” does not mean a lack of negative experience or a euphoric feeling. It closely resembles the Hebrew word “shalom”, which describes a blessed and prosperous community, not an inner, psychological or emotional peace. Paul has that inner wholeness in mind. Peace must be in the hearts of the people for there to be outward, objective peace in the church and in our lives.

God gives peace to people who have faith. That peace comes to us through Jesus, who gives us the constant assurance of grace. The Holy Spirit provides the means by which we experience God’s love. We have a good, peaceful relationship with God because of what he did for us in Christ. The Holy Spirit assures us that we enjoy divine favour and access into God’s presence. Because of God’s grace, we will share his glory on Judgment Day. God promises his children that they will be one day clothed with Christ’s glory. The term “rejoice” means “to boast, in the sense of jubilation, exultant rejoicing-to shout about it!”

Christians are justified by faith and declared worthy by God. Consequently, they have peace with God and don’t have to fear God’s judgment. When people are justified, they have access by faith to the grace of God in which all Christians stand. In the New Testament, the term “access” refers to the believer’s access to God through Christ.

It is quite natural to glory or exult in what is positive, but not in sufferings and tribulations. In the Greek language, perseverance means “to abide under or stay under pressure.” Suffering teaches believers to stay faithful under pressure, like squeezing olives in a press to extract oil. This pressure results from the conflict of two truths: faith and its enduring benefits versus a fallen world under Satan’s influence.

When we suffer we can rise above our sufferings to see the whole promise of God and the structure he is creating in our lives. God’s grace is sufficient for every situation we will face. Pressure is mandated by God and his love. When the Holy Spirit enters our lives, he opens our eyes to the wonder of his love and shows us that from now on our lives will be covered by his love and that all circumstances (both good and bad) will be related to God’s loving purposes.

Learning to stay calm under pressure produces character. The trials of life refine a Christian’s character and faith. Paul is speaking of sterling character, character without impurities. One writer calls it “tried integrity”-the maturity of a veteran who is complete, or lacking nothing, as opposed to the immaturity of a raw recruit. Christians can rejoice in future glory and present trials and sufferings because they are changed and have become more Christ-like. They have received God’s love and strength because when they were converted the Holy Spirit poured God’s love into their hearts.

When we abide in Christ we are so saturated in Jesus that when God looks at us he sees his own Son and wraps us in his love for Jesus’ sake. Real joy is found in God’s presence, with Jesus, secure and loved forever and ever. God’s love never changes, and Jesus holds us close forever, no matter what our circumstances are. Joy is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Bibliography

  1. Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p. 1549-1550)
  2. ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.
  3. Anne Graham Lotz, “God is Love.” Retrieved from angelmin.info@angelministries.org
  4. Dr. Ed Young, “See with Perspective.” Retrieved from ministry@winningwalk.org
  5. Dr. Ed Young, “Have Faith in Grace.” Retrieved from ministry@winningwalk.org
  6. Briscoe, D.S. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 29: Romans (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982)
  7. Jude Siciliano, OP, “First Impressions, Trinity Sunday (C).” Retrieved from www.preacherexchange.org
  8. “Am I Pleasing to God?” Retrieved from www.abidingabove.org
  9. Rick Ezell, “Experiencing God’s Love.” Retrieved from rickezell@greerfbc.org
  10. Bayless Conley, “Inwardly Compelled.” Retrieved from Christianity.com@crosswalkmail.com
  11. Anne Graham Lotz, “The Focus of Our Faith.” Retrieved from angelmin.info@angelministries.org
  12. Dr.Charles Stanley, “Peace with God.” Retrieved from www.intouch.org
  13. Jude Siciliano, OP, “First Impressions, Trinity Sunday (C).” Retrieved from www.preacherexchange.org
  14. Swindoll, Charles R.: Swindoll’s New Testament Insights on Romans (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; 2010, pp. 110-114
  15. Edwina Gateley, “Deeper Than the Darkness.” Retrieved from http://journeywithjesus.net
  16. David Kalas, “This is Where You Come In.” Retrieved from www.sermonsuite.com/printer.php?i=788040700
  17. Preaching Magazine, March/April 2016 (Nashville, TN: Salem Publishing Inc.; p. 51)

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