Hope of the Glory of God – Romans 5:2-5

Since we have access to the Father, we can boast in the “hope of the glory of God” (5:2b). Hope in Paul’s letters tends to be eschatological, looking forward to the future resurrection from the dead.  Our hope in this context is in some way present (we are presently boasting in the hope of glory). In the next chapter Paul will describe our salvation as a resurrection from the dead; we were dead in our sin, but we have been crucified with Christ so that we are now alive in him.

Boasting is usually a negative idea for Paul, in chapter 4 one who is justified by works can “boast” about their good works, Ephesians 2:8-9 salvation is by grace through faith so that no one can boast. But here Paul says we can take pride in the certainty we will participate in the future glory of the resurrection.

Image resultOur present/future justification means we can rejoice in our suffering (5:3-4). The verb translated “rejoice” is the same as boasting in the previous verse (καυχάομαι). Suffering is typically not something a Roman person would boast about, and a Jewish person might associate suffering with the curse of the law. But Paul says those who are in Christ ought to boast in both our future hope and our present suffering. Why?

Suffering (θλῖψις) produces endurance (ὑπομονή). Suffering can include any kind of oppression or affliction, whether that is natural (from and illness) or from some sort of persecution. What sort of suffering would the Roman church have faced at this point in history? Some were expelled from Rome because of their Christian faith, likely the Jewish Christians were alienated from their families, and the Gentiles appear to have rejected their family gods and the gods who made Rome great, even denying that Caesar is Lord is dangerous.

Endurance produces character (δοκιμή). By enduring suffering, we develop character. The noun refers to the results of testing something, perhaps to discover if it is genuine or to assess its value. Like testing gold in fire, a person’s character as revealed by suffering.

Image result for calvin and hobbes builds characterCharacter produces hope (ἐλπίς). Our developing character produces hope, knowing that the suffering is entirely worthwhile. By way of an analogy, people who train for an athletic context suffer physically from their training. Someone training to run the marathon in the Olympics must change their entire lifestyle in order to compete at that level.

Our hope will not disappoint (καταισχύνω). This verb is sometimes used for disgrace or dishonor, or even humiliate (t.Judah 12:5). If hope refers to our status as justified at a future judgment before God, we can be confident that when we do stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the hope we have in the death of Jesus as payment for our sin will not come up short, leaving us facing a penalty for our sin.

In contrast to being humiliated by an unpaid debt at the final judgment, our debt is fully paid by the death of Jesus so that we can stand before the judgment seat of Christ without the possibility of being ashamed by an unpaid sin debt.

13 thoughts on “Hope of the Glory of God – Romans 5:2-5

  1. Boasting is usually something more negative for Paul but here it is something that is more positive. Whenever I hear this it sounds like it is something that is more like pride! We can be prideful in what God has done for us and honored that He would choose to save us from our sins. We can also boast but I think it is more about what God has done than what we have received. God has done so much for us and our boasting should be done for His glory, and not to say that we did anything to deserve it. I also love the sequence that Paul gives when it comes to suffering which eventually leads to hope. We suffer but we can hope that eventually the suffering will come to an end. I love that the hope will not disappoint, it will be even more than we could ever imagine!

  2. I like the contrast Paul makes between humans boasting about themselves and humans boasting about the hope they have in God. Paul usually states that no person has the right to boast because they have not done anything worth boasting about, but then in Romans 5:3-4 Paul says that we should rejoice in our suffering because our suffering will eventually produce hope. We are able to boast in our suffering that leads to hope because it is something that God has done for his children and nothing that humans could ever do for themselves. Boasting about God’s love is always a good thing because it is done for his glory, not our own. It is wonderful to know that the hope that I have in Jesus Christ will not be put to shame, and that is something that I will boast about until the day I die.

  3. The idea of suffering persecution like the Roman church would have experienced is foreign to us but we can understand being rejected for our faith by family and friends. I think that when this type of persecution appears in our lives we are truly spreading the gospel like Paul would have wanted and the eternal hope becomes real to us. When we face rejection we look forward to the day when Christ claims us as his own even if friends and family reject us. This is the ultimate hope and assurance. It is appealing if looked at through a story of deep suffering but if our lives are good and we are not facing rejection for Christ daily than are we really doing much for the kingdom? Who are we not sharing our hope with?

  4. I agree with what Adam said earlier, regarding how it is not so much about our own salvation being boasted, rather it is about being proud of what God has done for us. I tend to look at this section in that light as well, since Paul was using “boasting” in a positive context here, compared to when Paul’s general disdain for boasting. I liked the break down of the journey from suffering to hope that Professor Long wrote, because the post made it easier to understand how the different components lead to each other. Although the Roman Christians and Gentiles would have balked at the idea of rejoicing in suffering, they needed to know that suffering is the way of life when it comes to being a Christian. What I mean by that, although we have the greatest joy containable since we have received the Holy Spirit, this also means that we are contrary beings to sinful society. Secular society does not like to think they are doing things the wrong way. We do not like to fight against our urges and temptations, and for many of us we do suffer for a time to overcome certain temptations that may be painful for us to let go of. As Christians, we are going to be persecuted in some form or another, and have been persecuted ever since Jesus fulfilled what He was meant to accomplish. Which brings me back to why Paul needed to explain although we suffer, we can rejoice despite the pain and turmoil because we are going to be rewarded for that suffering after Christ’s return. Later on, in Romans chapter 8, Paul mentioned ” We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved,” (v.v. 22-24a). Moo explains in chapter 12, “the pain of an expectant mother is a natural and common biblical metaphor for hope,” because there is such joy after the frustration and pain are over, because knowing the awaited baby has arrived brings joy. I never would have thought of childbirth in that way before, or at least would not have connected it metaphorically to our suffering and the hope we have for the future, but it is very fitting once contemplated. My point is, that if we are able to hold onto this gift and hope we received, then despite our sufferings we should be able to boast of what the Lord has done. Holding back because of fear of suffering is not an option, because we have a duty to uphold, a duty to spread the good news to everyone. We can and should boast in the Lord, because we want people to hear what God did for them. We should not go about it in a self-righteous way, but in a manner that makes the outsider feel they are being let in on this “secret” that we hold.

  5. Throughout reading this blog post the thought that comes to me is the perspective that Christians have on when they sin. At times we think that when we sin, that that sin is hanging over us forever. Jesus died for ALL our sins, the ones in the past, present and future. That is how much God loves us, by sending His one and only Son to die on the cross. Jesus was willing and able because of His obedience to God and His love for us (Rom. 5: 8). We are cleansed and purified from all our sins.
    The question was asked of why we should boast in our current and future sufferings? When you have a relationship with Christ, there is a love that will never waiver and will never change. As Christians we can confidently say, that God loves us, and He looks out for our best interest. Even when we sin and think that that sin is hanging over us, it isn’t, Christ has forgiven you. It does not mean that we can go around and sin for fun. We need to genuinely have a surrendered heart, open and honest relationship with Jesus.
    The mindset of the Romans and the Jews was still not where it should be. God sent Paul to give them a better understanding because they would just assume to associate the boasting with the law. The law was really the one thing that was held at a high standard for them during this era. I notice in Romans 5:2-5 that “we” and “our” are both used, meaning the body of Christ. I say this because it reminds the Romans that we are all in this together, Paul being included in that. It allows the Romans to know that they are not being put on the spot. There is a sense of community in Paul’s letters to the church. All together we should boast in our sufferings and rejoice in what God has done for us by sending Jesus Christ.

  6. In the book of Romans, Paul offers important theological insight that comes to define what he believes. However, one part of the book that stands out from the rest is his message from Romans 5. According to Longenecker, he asserts Romans 5: 1-11 is defined by the self-giving of and offering hope for those that believe in Him (Longenecker & Still, 2014, p. 182). In other words, Paul is presenting his message in a clear way and presenting God as someone that the Gentiles should be looking up to. This information is a clear indication that Paul crafted different messages to those he ministered to. When it comes to this part of his ministry, he is reminding them of the rewards of believing in who God is. However, as mentioned in Romans 5:5, Paul is making the point that the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts of those that believe in Him (NIV). In essence, Paul’s wording of what is he saying is important because of his All-Mighty Presence. Ultimately, the passage is centered around where their loyalty should be centered around, and what they should be worshiping. At the end of the day, Paul wants to ensure they remember the importance of knowing the meaning of justification by faith.

  7. Paul makes it very clear that boasting about works is bad. He does, however, encourage us who follow Christ to boast in our future hope and even in our suffering. Boasting in our future hope means rejoicing in the fact that we have eternal hope in heaven. Our hope in heaven is justified through our faith in God. Jesus paid the debt for our sins already, so why not be proud to have this hope? Paul says in Romans 5:5, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” This reminds us that we should not be ashamed, but proud of the fact that the creator of all things has given us his gift of love. Paul also tells us that boasting in our struggles and pain is also a good thing. I like the point you made that The Roman church would have casted out, or even killed those who would talk about A Christian God. We as Christians should boast in our suffering because we know that there is a better hope without suffering in our future in heaven. Staying on this topic, I agree with you that enduring (and rejoicing) through suffering builds our character, and through that newly developed character we produce the hope that God allows us to have.

  8. While reading through this scripture, I noticed that it says in Romans 5:3- “knowing that suffering produces endurance.” I think that when I would think back on this passage, I would just see it as a formula. Suffering lead to endurance, endurance lead to character, and character lead to hope, but the word “knowing” really changed my perspective. Knowing that the outcome will affect our growth, as believers, can allow us to “rejoice” in our sufferings. “Various kinds of suffering will come to us, but we can rejoice in them ‘when we recognize that they serve a purpose: to develop our Christian character” (Moo, 86). I feel like it allows us to see suffering as an opportunity, instead of another pain that we have to endure. It really changes our attitude towards the situation, and it shows that inward transformation, changed by the Holy Spirit, affects the outward transformation. I think if we have this response to our sufferings, it is also such a great example to how God works in our lives.

  9. I see a parallel in Romans 5:3-5 with the progression from suffering to perseverance to character and eventually to hope, to the sin progression mentioned in James “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:13-15). Often with sin, we don’t just immediately fall into sin, but usually we are tempted first then we eventually give into our temptations and sin. And of course of sin leads us to death. Its a road to sin that if we continue walking down for enough time, we are going to eventually get to the end of the road with our sin. Likewise, building our character and the process of spiritual maturity is indeed a road that we must walk down. We do not simply wake up one day and say, ‘ I’m going to be a spiritually mature person’ and boom! we are all the sudden spiritually mature. No, we must take the small steps each day to build our character. And like it or not, enduring in suffering is one of the ways to build our character.

    • I suspect there are times in a persons life where there is a sudden lurch forward, perhaps a “spiritual high” based on some experience, I’m thinking of the Friday night campfire. There are other times when a person is in a spiritual trough, and everything seems to be moving very slowly. But you’re not wrong, “small steps every day” do build character.

  10. We are to boast in our future hope and present suffering because we were given the gift of God’s mercy and grace in our sins. He paid for them so when that day of judgment comes we will not feel ashamed of our sins, but rather we can stand before Him knowing Jesus paid the price of our sins to give us life. God also did not call us to an easy life, we disobeyed Him and this allowed sin in the world, which created suffering. This suffering can be seen in illness, persecution, and many other forms. It is said above that this suffering can build character in us as we grow in our relationship and trust in Christ. When we build character we are also building up our hope in Jesus. As we build character it is not something that will happen fast but rather, it takes time, it is something that we work towards. As we boast in our suffering, it can help build that character. God desires us to follow Him, to be joyfully obedient as we allow Him to lead our lives. Even through the hardships we face, we can boast knowing that the working of the Lord and the furthering of His kingdom is the most important thing we can do in our life. The challenges we face grow us and give us the opportunity for us to walk alongside others and share Love and Grace with so many others. That is the obedience that God wants for our lives. It is what makes the suffering we endure to be worth it, to help us press on and go forward.

  11. Romans 5:2-5 has been a bit confusing to me, but your explanation here has helped a lot for me in understanding it better. It’s interesting how Paul talks about boasting in our hope of the glory of God despite suffering. I guess it’s a different perspective on suffering than what we’re used to. The idea that enduring suffering produces character and, in turn, hope makes a lot of sense. It’s kind of like how athletes train hard and endure challenges to compete at the highest level. The analogy with the marathon runner really made sense to me. Sacrifices and suffering in the present can lead to something truly valuable and worthwhile in the future. It’s reassuring to think that our hope in Christ won’t disappoint us and that our debt is fully paid through His sacrifice. Thanks for sharing this perspective it gives me a lot to think about of how I approach challenges and difficulties in my own life.

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