This particular Bible study guide is called the Garden Connection. It ties the fall and redemption together so we get a big picture of what the fall of Adam and Eve did to mankind. But then it ties it in with the New Testament and the impact of what Christ did, and how he reversed the chain reaction set in motion in the garden. Anyway, I opened Romans 5 this morning for a reread. I'm looking for the garden connection and the work of Christ but found myself stuck in the first few verses.
Paul says, Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that - but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
There it was right in front of me in black and white once again. Despite the current, sometimes undercurrent of belief that we are free from trouble if we have faith - again the Word assures us tribulation and trouble exist in the believer's life. Paul reminds us to "glory" in our tribulations. Not because they are fun. But because of the outcome they bring in our hearts and lives. If I am honest, and I usually am, I don't care too much about perseverance. I don't even care too much about character. But hope. Now that's something I have to have. Hope - which won't disappoint. It's not that our situations will turn out rosy. But it's that our heart will endure - because of His love that has been poured out in our hearts. The heart endures when the body is tired. The heart endures when the brain can't think. The heart endures.... hope endures.
I'm reminded of the verse in 1 Corinthians 13 - now these things remain - faith, hope, love.
Today I will hold my heart closer to His as my meditation will be on faith, hope, and love. I'll turn my thoughts to what hope really means - the eternal meaning - not the superficial I hope all this gets better kind of hope. I want to make sure all my hope is in Him. That's my journey for today - will you join me?