Roger's Postings

Friday, May 24, 2013

Romans 5:1-5. Boast and be happy in our great God!!                      26/5/13

{1}  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, {2} through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. {3} Not only so, but we also boast in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; {4} perseverance, character; and character, hope. {5} And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

 Today in our reading we are reminded that we have a great and majestic God, who is truly remarkable and who we can look up to with an enormous amount of pride. Our God is a God who has revealed himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit: As a God who creates and preserves: A God who has saved us from a fate worse than death: and a God who seeks to leads us into all truth and help us out as we live out our lives every day. Therefore in him we have everything we could possibly hope to have that is of any importance. In him we have something to truly boast and be happy in.

 But off course that is all very well when everything is going OK. Perhaps we have done something good recently and feel like someone special. Or perhaps something great has happened in our life. It is easy to be happy and feel great at those times. But then, how often in those situations, do we think of this God give him the credit for what has happened?

 However when things are not so good; perhaps we have had a bad day or week; perhaps we have been given a hard time or are sick or have faced some tragedy in our life. It is difficult be happy then. But more often than not we are far more thoughtful of the things that are important – and of our great need for our great God’s help.

 Now in this regard, there is a story of a little boy who was always bragging that his dad was the greatest. One day on the way home from school, some bigger boys starting making fun of him and picking a fight with him. One said, ‘My dad is bigger than yours.’ Another punched him on the nose. While another one kicked him. ‘Where is your great dad now?’ The little boy, hurt and crying, stood up and said, “My dad is still the greatest.’

You see, he knew that when he got home his dad would give him a great big hug and kiss and take care of him. He knew that when he got home he would safe in father's arms; and he knew that he would always be loved and belong to a good family.

 Our text states that we can, and have, every reason to be confident, happy and boastful at all times because of our great God and what he has done for us. Not about ourselves and what we are doing or have done, but about God and what he has done for us through Jesus Christ. We too can go forward knowing that we are loved and that we have a caring heavenly Father waiting to enfold us with his grace. We like the little boy have every reason to be happy and boast, because in Christ we have everything that is of importance.

 You are probably a bit astounded that I am talking about bragging and boasting, because we do have a negative attitude about this sort of thing. At times I believe rightly so. But in a positive way, we are here encouraged to do just that. To boast. To boast about, not ourselves and what we are doing, but about our great God and what he has done and is doing for us.

 So here this morning I want to remind you again of what God has done for us so that we can be happy and boastful in him; even if life is being difficult for us.

God's Word this morning says that if we believe that Jesus has died for our sins and was brought back to life, then we been assured that we are made right with God. It is as simple as that. Because of what Jesus Christ has done on the cross, we have forgiveness of sins and are placed back into the same relationship that God had with humanity before the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin. All we are called on to do, is to trust that it so; accepting it with joy and thanksgiving; and not reject it or treat it with apathy: Then to live in light of the fact that we are loved and forgiven and have a better way to live.

 Here then we are called on to remember and gain strength from the fact that Jesus was much the same as the little boy in our illustration. He went to the cross and suffered so badly for us and yet stilled boasted of his Father and obeyed him completely. Despite the terrible thing that he was going through he had complete confidence in his Father and what he wanted done.

So what Paul is reminding us to do here, is just what Jesus did himself. We are to look to God and what he has done for us through Jesus Christ; and to simply believe that we are loved, saved and cared for, and  then to live in light of it.

 It is here that we need to remember that God does not love and accept us because we are good, or at least try to do the right thing or whatever, but simply because of his Son Jesus Christ. It is because of him and what he did on the cross that we don't need to worry that we are not good enough and are unable to live up to God's standards.

We can simply trust God, the same as the little boy trusted his father. He could not, at that point, prove that his father was the greatest and that he cared for him, but because he believed it, he was willing to be hurt for his belief. Now it is the same for us. We too can have that same sure hope in our heavenly Father; and our trust enables us to rejoice in whatever difficulties we face in life. Because we know, as we are told here, that troubles produce perseverance, and perseverance character, and character hope. And that hope does not disappoint us.

 We are able to trust, even in our troubles; even in the face of death, because we know that we already now stand forgiven and have the full assurance of eternal life. This gives us the courage to live each day as it comes and to live it fully for our God. Now we can seek to live as God would have us live, seeking the welfare others, rather than self: We can love as God loves us, because of what He has already done for us.

 We are no longer enemies of God: we have peace with God because of Jesus Christ. He took God's anger on himself so that we would not be punished; and this peace that he gives, enables us to live happily with God and with one another. No matter if we fall down in living up God's expectations, we know that there is forgiveness there, because of Jesus Christ. We know that we are God's children and that we are loved and accepted by him. As a result of this, can always feel safe and secure.

Yes, because of God's love as expressed in Jesus death on cross we now know for sure that God cares about our everyday life as well; and that even there he wants what is best for us. We don't have to worry about what we can or cannot do for ourselves. We don't have to concern ourselves with the problems and difficulties that we might face tomorrow. Yes, we will still have to live and suffer in this world, with all of its hassles and problems that are the result of mankind’s sin. But we won't have to worry about our own safety and security, for we know that we will be taken care of, and that God will use it all for ours or others good.

 We can now have this sure confidence that our troubles and hardships are allowed for very good purposes because of the love that God has for us. We surely realize that we may have to go through these things in order to keep us on track and looking to God as our Lord and Saviour; or to help us identify with and help others to see what God has done for us.

 Because we have been justified by grace through faith, we know that these sufferings humble us and keep us from boasting about ourselves and they teach us look to and trust in our great God and to give him all the glory. For as I said earlier, too often when things go well for us, we tend to forget God and seek to live life for self and our own pleasure. But through suffering, we are brought to having to persevere. And we ‘can hang in there’ because of what God has done for us. This perseverance in turn helps to build our character. And that character turns us away from ourselves, to look to God and the hope that we have in him. And that hope, we are reminded here again, will never disappoint us; it will never let us down.

 So we too can be confident and happy. We have every reason to boast in our great God. Because we can have that sure trust that in Jesus and our connection with him, we are right with God: we are at peace with him through our Lord Jesus who has done everything necessary for our salvation. That in turn enables us to cope with whatever it is that comes our way; and in the midst of it all to boast and rejoice in our great God and what he has done for us.

 Yes, just like the little boy in the midst of the scraps of life, we can have the same the confidence in our God and the hope we have in him. We too, have a Father at home in heaven waiting to enfold us completely with his love. So let us always rejoice and boast in our great God and what he has done for us. AMEN.

 Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


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