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How our relationship with Jesus helps us in times of persecution and trouble (Verses 3-5)

But that's not all! We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope that will never disappoints us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit who fills our hearts with his love. [verses 3-5, CEV]

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. [verses 3-5, NRSV]

Paul does not claim that this new relationship with God insulates us from trouble. Instead, he argues that it changes the meaning and result of the trouble we experience. This is a point that Jesus also made (for example see Matthew 5:10-12 in another "great chapter").

An early church author (Origin, 3rd century, Commentary on Romans) said that "Paul says that he rejoices in his sufferings, not as an end in themselves, but because they lead to various virtues of the soul." Another writer (Basil, 4th century, Homily 16) said that "for those who are well prepared, tribulations are like certain foods and exercises for athletes which lead the contestant on to the inheritance of glory."


Last updated 12/16/00; © 2000 John P. Nordin