And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.
The past in a Christian’s life has been purified, and a future in glory with God has been promised him. That is certain. For the present, he stands in God’s favour. The first two verses of this chapter have shown that.
However, for the time that he still has to spend on earth the circumstances of life awaiting him are not only favourable. On the contrary, Christians, too, are exposed to human suffering; additionally they can often expect misunderstanding, resistance, scorn or even persecution from those who are not Christians.
If someone’s joy amounts solely to earthly prosperity, the unpleasant things of life only call forth discontent and impatience. A Christian, however, can rejoice in tribulation; he can even rejoice over the form tribulations take, if his faith is genuine and he leads life consciously with Christ.
Trouble cannot rob the believer of the joy of salvation, for in times of trouble he sees how dependent he is on God and experiences His love and consolation in a way that would otherwise not have been possible. The nearness of Christ, experienced so profoundly, produces patience.
A Christian learns that, when “God is for him”, it does not matter who is “against him”. He experiences practically that life's troubles cannot affect his standing before God. He becomes
all the more aware of his justification, his peace with God and his future hope. And he knows that nothing can separate him from the love of Christ and the love of God (cf. Romans 8, 31 - 39).
(to be continued next Sunday)