Romans 5:3 5

How much pressure can you stand? One thing that distinguishes the Christian is the manner in which he
responds to pressure. "Tribulation" comes from the root word for pressure. The word was used of the pressure
applied to grapes to press from them their juice in preparation for making wine. When life puts the squeeze on
the Christian, the juice of confident joy comes out.

"Glory" is the word for joyful, confident boasting. While the boasting takes place in the midst of the pressures,
more importantly it takes place because of them. The man who has been justified can do more than withstand
his troubles, he can boast in them. This is another source of confidence and hope in his life. There are two
great truths here that need emphasis.

Some hold to a strange idea that if you are truly justified, you will never encounter any difficulty. Nothing could
be more foreign to the New Testament. Here Paul affirms that the Christian glories in tribulation. He does not
view them as being strange or being inconsistent with his position in the Lord.

The tribulations that come to the Christian will be varied. There are the ones that come to all men. Christians
experience human illness and affliction. They are not immune to cancer, heart attacks, arthritis, and dandruff.
When the economy goes haywire, Christians suffer economically like everyone else. In time of war, Christians
suffer and die just like everyone else. All of the troubles that are common to life are common to the Christian.

There is a sense in which being a Christian actually causes tribulation. Certain pressures attend the Christian
commitment. Jesus assured the disciples, "In the world ye shall have tribulation". Paul exhorted Timothy,
"Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead, according to my gospel: wherein I
suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound." (I Timothy 2:8 9) The
world about you will put you under pressure to conform to its moral standards. They will pressure you to live by
their standards of values. You will also undergo the pressure of rejection. Because of your commitment to the
Gospel, you will often encounter opposition and rejection. The early Christians often found themŽselves
confronted with this rejection and opposition. You should not be surprised by this. Did not our Lord say
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew
5) He makes persecution one of the basic things to be expected by the Christian.

Does this seem to be a contradiction? Verse one tells us that the justified man has peace with God, but verse
three tells us that he will probably not have peace with the world. There is no conflict! It is not necessary to
have a peaceful circumstance for your life in order to have peace with God or enjoy the peace of God.

What the Christian knows about the tribulations enables him to rejoice. "Knowing'' means that the Christian
came to this knowledge in the past and the things that have happened since only confirm it. It is a deep and
intuitive knowledge.

The Christians knows that the pressures and troubles are working for him someŽthing good. "Worketh" is an
intensive word that means to work something out. It means to work something out until the desired result is
achieved. The desired result in this case is "patience". "Patience" is the word for steadfastness and
endurance. It is reŽmaining loyal and true to your commitment regardless of the difficulty encountered. It is that
ability to seek a goal for the ship of your life, and to sail right toward the goal regardless of how many storms
may come up.
The Bible provides us with many examples of this desired quality. It points us to the "patience" of Job. From
Job we learn that "patience" is not the silent bearing of whatever may come your way. Rather it is maintaining
your commitment to God regard-less. It is Job proclaiming, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him." Our Lord is
the supreme example. He endured all things and opened not his mouth. He did not allow the opposition of
Satan, the rejection of the world, the defection of his apostles, or the affliction of the scourge to turn Him away
from the will of God. Tribulations work out this quality of life in us. About this you can rejoice when the pressure
builds up.

The patience leads to "experience". "Experience" is the word for proof, for tried and approved character. The
word probably means here that patience works out in us a tested character. The word was used of the practice
of putting metal in the fire to test it, and to purify it. Once the Christian has been placed in the furnace of
affliction, and has endured, he knows and God knows that he is true; he is a person of tested character.

Not every person put into the furnace of tribulation will stand the test. Jesus taught in the parable of the soils
that some of the seeds fell into the ground, burst forth with much promise, but when the sun came up, they
died. He interpreted this to mean "But he that received the seed into the stony places, the same is he that
heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for
when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." (Matthew 13:20 21)
But the one that endures the tribulations comes forth with a proven character     he has stood the test.

Proven character produces hope. If your faith has stood the test of tribulation, your basis for hope will even be
greater. This will provide a basis for confidence in your saving faith. A man's confident expectation of the glory
of God is not destroyed by the tribulation, but is rather strengthened by them.

How does this work in the life of a Christian? The man who penned this book proŽvides us with a beautiful
example. Saul of Tarsus was justified by a gracious act of God one day at noon on the road to Damascus. He
received God's righteousness as a free gift by faith. Almost immediately he began to encounter tribulations.
His old friends immediately became his enemies. Even those who should have become his friends greeted him
with skepticism and suspicion. His life became endangered in many places  all because of his faith in Christ.
Instead of discouraging him, he began to develop real patience, ability to endure. This developed in him a real
Christ likeness and tested character. As you read the last letters written by this man, you find a real joy and
hope. Philippians was one of his last letters  written while he was in prison. Yet it uses the word joy again and
again. There is not one line in the minor key. II Timothy was his last. The last chapter ever written by Paul is II
Timothy 4. It is a great witness to hope in the presence of death. This is the way God wants it to be in every life.

Do you know that you have been saved? Then you should still expect tribulations in this world. They will come.
But you should also know that they come as friends to work into your life that which is well pleasing in the sight
of the Lord.

This provides a real assurance for the future. We may not know what the future holds, but we can know that
the One who holds the future will make whatever the future brings to work for our good and for His glory. The
world will mean it for evil, but God will make it work for good.

Is this not a wonderful assurance?