The apostle Paul had the logical faculty largely developed, so his writings are full of “therefores.” And the Christian religion, as a whole, stands logically connected,—doctrine with doctrine, truth with truth. Error is inconsistent with itself, but truth is consistent, logical, and unerring. “Therefore”—
Rom_5:1. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Are you enjoying that peace, dear friend, at this moment? if you are, indeed, justified by faith, you are at peace with God. Therefore, know it, and feel no disquietude. Draw near to God as a dear child might to a loving father. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:—
Rom_5:2. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
When a man is at peace with God, then he has the desire to draw near to him. When he is justified, he has the right to draw near; so that, being justified, and having peace, we have access by faith; and this is not a transient privilege, but the grace into which we have access is a grace in which we stand. We abide in it; the Lord has given us, through our justification, a permanent standing near to himself. “We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and this gives us joy,—the joy of sweet hope concerning the bright future that lies before us: “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Rom_5:3. And not only so,—
Whenever the apostle begins to talk of the Lord’s bounties to his people, he abounds in “also’s” and in “not only so’s? As if he had not said enough already, when he had reminded us of the joy of hope in God’s glory, he says, “And not only so.” We have something in possession as well as something to hope for; we have a present glory as well as glory laid up in store: “And not only so,”—
Rom_5:3-5. But we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Beloved, it is a mark of great grace to be able to acquiesce in tribulation, and to accept it with patient resignation at the Lord’s hands; but it is a sign of a still higher state of grace when we glory in tribulation,—when we welcome it and say, “Now, the Lord is about to elevate me to the upper class in his school,—to teach me some deeper truths than I have hitherto learned, to give me a closer acquaintance with some mystery of his kingdom than I have previously had,—to work in my heart some new grace which has never been there before. “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” You cannot learn to swim on dry land, and you cannot learn to be patient without having something to endure. “Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience.” There are some who think that they will get; experience through tribulation. So they do, in a certain sense; but not experience of the right kind. There is a middle term—patience,—which keeps its right place: “Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience.” I know some people, who have had a thousand troubles, but they have no more experience now than they had when they began; I mean, they are just as foolish,—just as untaught in the things of God,—just as ready as before to blunder into a fresh trouble, because they have lacked that middle term. Then, further Paul says, “and experience, hope.” Our experience of the Lord’s goodness in the past leads us on to hope for still greater things in the future and, thus, experience worketh hope. I have seen some persons, who were called experienced Christians, in whom it seemed to me that experience had worked despair; for their faces were always very long and very sad, and their speech was as dolorous as it well could be. But here I find that true Christian experience worketh hope,—a hope that maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”