Romans 5:3
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
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(3) But much more than this. The Christian’s glorying is not confined to the future; it embraces the present as well. It extends even to what would naturally be supposed to be the very opposite of a ground for glorying—to the persecutions that we have to undergo as Christians. (Comp. especially Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:12, “Blessed are the persecuted;” 2Corinthians 11:30; 2Corinthians 12:9-10, “glorying in infirmities;” Acts 5:41, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame;” 1Peter 4:12-13; “think not the fiery trial strange, but rejoice.”) Attention has here been called to Bacon’s aphorism, “Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity of the New.” This is a very profound side of the Christian revelation.

(3, 4) A climax in which are put forward higher and higher grades of fortitude and constancy.



Romans 5:2 - Romans 5:4

We have seen in a previous sermon that the Apostle in the foregoing context is sketching a grand outline of the ideal Christian life, as all rooted in ‘being justified by faith,’ and flowering into ‘peace with God,’ ‘access into grace,’ and a firm stand against all antagonists and would-be masters. In our text he advances to complete the outline by sketching the true Christian attitude towards the future. I have ventured to take so pregnant and large a text, because there is a very striking and close connection throughout the verses, which is lost unless we take them together. Note, then, ‘we rejoice in hope,’ ‘we glory in tribulation.’ Now, it is one word in the original which is diversely rendered in these two clauses by ‘rejoice’ and ‘glory.’ The latter is a better rendering than the former, because the original expression designates not only the emotion of joy, but the expression of it, especially in words. So it is frequently rendered in the New Testament by the word ‘boast,’ which, of course, has unpleasant associations, which scarcely fit it for use here. So then you see Paul regards it as possible for, and more than possibly characteristic of, a Christian, that the very same emotion should he excited by that great bright future hope, and by the blackness of present sorrow. That is strong meat; and so he goes on to explain how he thinks it can and must be so, and points out that trouble, through a series of results, arrives at last at this, that if it is rightly borne, it flashes up into greater brightness the hope which has grasped the glory of God. So then we have here, not only a wonderful designation of the object around which Christian hope twines its tendrils, but of the double source from which that hope may come, and of the one emotion with which Christian people should front the darkness of the present and the brightness of the future. Ah! how different our lives would be if that ideal of a steadfast hope and an untroubled joy were realised by each of us. It may be. It should be. So I ask you to look at these three points which I have suggested.

I. That wonderful designation of the one object of Christian hope which should fill, with an uncoruscating and unflickering light, all that dark future.

‘We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’ Now, I suppose I need not remind you that that phrase ‘the glory of God’ is, in the Old Testament, used especially to mean the light that dwelt between the cherubim above the mercy-seat; the symbol of the divine perfections and the token of the Divine Presence. The reality of which it was a symbol is the total splendour, so to speak, of that divine nature, as it rays itself out into all the universe. And, says Paul, the true hope of the Christian man is nothing less than that of that glory he shall be, in some true sense, and in an eternally growing degree, the real possessor. It is a tremendous claim, and one which leads us into deep places that I dare not venture into now, as to the resemblance between the human person and the Divine Person, notwithstanding all the differences which of course exist, and which only a presumptuous form of religion has ventured to treat as transitory or insignificant. Let me use a technical word, and say that it is no pantheistic absorption in an impersonal Light, no Nirvana of union with a vague whole, which the Apostle holds out here, but it is the closest possible union, personality being saved and individual consciousness being intensified. It is the clothing of humanity with so much of that glory as can be imparted to a finite creature. That means perfect knowledge, perfect purity, perfect love, and that means the dropping away of all weaknesses and the access of strange new powers, and that means the end of the schism between ‘will’ and ‘ought,’ and of the other schism between ‘will’ and ‘can.’ It means what this Apostle says: ‘Whom He justified them He also glorified,’ and what He says again, ‘We all, beholding as in a glass’-or rather, perhaps, mirroring as a glass does-’the glory, are changed into the same image.’

The very heart of Christianity is that the Divine Light of which that Shekinah was but a poor and transitory symbol has ‘tabernacled’ amongst men in the Christ, and has from Him been communicated, and is being communicated in such measure as earthly limitations and conditions permit, and that these do point on assuredly to perfect impartation hereafter, when ‘we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’ The Three could walk in the furnace of fire, because there was One with them, ‘like unto the Son of God.’ ‘Who among us shall dwell with the everlasting fire,’ the fire of that divine perfection? They who have had introduction by Christ into the grace, and who will be led by Him into the glory.

Now, brethren, it seems to me to be of great importance that this, the loftiest of conceptions of that future life, should be the main aspect under which we think of it. It is well to speak of rest from toil; it is well to speak of all the negations of present unfavourable, afflictive conditions which that future presents to us. And perhaps there is none of the aspects of it which appeals to deeper feelings in ourselves, than those which say ‘there shall be no night there,’ ‘there shall be no tears there, neither sorrow nor sighing’; ‘there shall be no toil there.’ But we must rise above all that, for our heaven is to live in God, and to be possessors of His glory. Do not let us dwell upon the symbols instead of the realities. Do not let us dwell only on the oppositions and contradictions to earth. Let us rather rise high above symbols, high above negations, to the positive truth, and not contented with saying ‘We shall be full of blessedness; we shall be full of purity; we shall be full of knowledge,’ let us rather think of that which embraces them all-we shall be full of God.

So much, then, for the one object of Christian hope. We have here-

II. The double source of that hope.

Observe that the first clause of my text comes as the last term in a sequence. It began with ‘being justified by faith.’ The second round of the ladder was, ‘we have peace with God.’ The third, ‘we have access into this grace.’ The fourth, ‘we stand,’ and then comes, ‘we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’ That is to say, to put it into general words, and, of course, presupposing the revelation in Jesus Christ as the basis of all, without which there is no assured hope of a future beyond the grave, then the facts of a Christian man’s life are for him the best brighteners of the hope beyond. Of course, that is so. ‘Justified by faith’-’peace with God’-’access into grace’; what, in the name of common-sense, can death do with these things? How can its blunted sword cut the bond that unites a soul that has had such experiences as these with the source of them all? Nothing can be more grotesque, nothing more incongruous, than to think that that subordinate and accidental fact, whose region is the physical, has anything whatever to do with this higher region of consciousness.

And, further than that, it is absolutely unthinkable to a man in the possession of these spiritual gifts, that they should ever come to a close; and the fact that in the precise degree in which we realise as our very own possession, here and now, these Christian emotions and blessings, we instinctively rise to the belief that they are ‘not for an age, but for all time,’ and not for all time, but for eternity, is itself, if not a proof, yet a very strong presumption, if you believe in God, that a man who thus ‘feels he was not made to die’ because he has grasped the Eternal, is right in so feeling. If, too, we look at the experiences themselves, they all have the stamp of incompleteness, and suggest completeness by their own incompleteness. The new moon with its ragged edge not more surely prophesies its completed silver round, than do the experiences of the Christian life here, in their greatness and in their smallness, declare that there come a time and an order of things in which what was thwarted tendency shall be accomplished result. The tender green spikelet, pushing up through the brown clods, does not more surely prophesy the waving yellow ear, nor the broad highway on which a man comes in the wilderness more surely declare that there is a village at the end of it, than do the facts of the Christian life, here and now, attest the validity of the hope of the glory of God.

And so, brethren, if you wish to brighten that great light that fills the future, see to it that your present Christianity is fuller of ‘peace with God,’ ‘access into grace,’ and the firm, erect standing which flows from these. When the springs in the mountains dry up, the river in the valley shrinks; and when they are full, it glides along level with the top of its banks. So when our Christian life in the present is richest, our Christian hope of the future will be the brighter. Look into yourselves. Is there anything there that witnesses to that great future; anything there that is obviously incipient, and destined to greater power; anything there which is like a tropical plant up here in 45 degrees of north latitude, managing to grow, but with dwarfed leaves and scanty flowers and half shrivelled and sourish fruit, and that in the cold dreams of the warm native land? Reflecting telescopes show the stars in a mirror, and the observer looks down to see the heavens. Look into yourselves, and see whether, on the polished plate within, there are any images of the stars that move around the Throne of God.

But let us turn for a moment to the second source to which the Apostle traces the Christian hope here. I must not be tempted to more than just a word of explanation, but perhaps you will tolerate that. Paul says that trouble works patience, that is to say, not only passive endurance, but brave persistence in a course, in spite of antagonisms. That is what trouble does to a man when it is rightly borne. Of course the Apostle is speaking here of its ideal operation, and not of the reality which alas! often is seen when our tribulations lash us into impatience, or paralyse our efforts. Tribulation worketh patience, ‘and patience experience.’ That is a difficult word to put into English. There underlies it the frequent thought which is familiar in Scripture, of trouble of all kinds as testing a man, whether as the refiner’s fire or the winnower’s fan. It tests a man, and if he bears the trouble with patient persistence, then he has passed the test and is approved. Patient perseverance thus works approval, or proof of the man’s Christianity, and, still more, proof of the reality and power of the Christ whom his Christianity grasps. And so from out of that approval or proof which comes, through perseverance, from tribulation, there rises, of course, in that heart that has been tested and has stood, a calm hope that the future will be as the past, and that, having fought through six troubles, by God’s help the seventh will be vanquished also, till at last troubles will end, and heaven be won.

Brethren, there is the true point of view from which to look, not only at tribulations, but at all the trials, for they too bring trials, that lie in duty and in enjoyment, and in earthly things. They are meant to work in us a conviction, by our experience of having been able to meet them aright, of the reality of our grasp of God, and of the reality and power of the God whom we grasp. If we took that point of view in regard to all the changes of this changeful life, we should not so often be bewildered and upset by the darkest of our sorrows. The shining lancets and cruel cutting instruments that the surgeon lays out on his table before he begins the operation are very dreadful. But the way to think of them is that they are there in order to remove from a man what it does him harm to keep, and what, if it is not taken away, will kill him. So life, with its troubles, great and small, is all meant for this, to make us surer of, and bring us closer to, our God, and to brace and strengthen us in our own personal character. And if it does that, then blessed be everything that produces these results, and leads us thereby to glorying in the troubles by which shines out on us a brighter hope.

So there are the two sources, you see: the one is the blessedness of the Christian life, the other the sorrows of the outward life, and both may converge upon the brightening of our Christian hope. Our rainbow is the child of the marriage of the sun and the rain. The Christian hope comes from being ‘justified by faith, having peace with God . . . and access into grace,’ and it comes from tribulation, which ‘worketh patience,’ and patience which ‘worketh approval.’ The one spark is struck from the hard flint by the cold steel, and the other is kindled by the sun itself, but they are both fire.

And so, lastly, we have here-

III. The one emotion with which the Christian should front all the facts, inward and outward, of his earthly life.

‘We glory in the hope,’ ‘we glory in tribulation,’ I need not dwell upon the lesson which is taught us here by the fact that the Apostle puts as one in a series of Christian characteristics this of a steadfast and all-embracing joy. I do not believe that we Christian people half enough realise how imperative a Christian duty, as well as how great a Christian privilege, it is to be glad always. You have no right to be anxious; you are wrong to be hypochondriac and depressed, and weary and melancholy. True; there are a great many occasions in our Christian life which minister sadness. True; the Christian joy looks very gloomy to a worldly eye. But there are far more occasions which, if we were right, would make joy instinctive, and which, whether we are right or not, make it obligatory upon us. I need not speak of how, if that hope were brighter than it commonly is with us, and if it were more constantly present to our minds and hearts, we should sing with gladness. I need not dwell upon that great and wonderful paradox by which the co-existence of sorrow and of joy is possible. The sorrows are on the surface; beneath there may be rest. All the winds of heaven may rave across the breast of ocean, and fret it into clouds of spume against a storm-swept sky. But deep down there is stillness, and yet not stagnation, because there is the great motion that brings life and freshness; and so, though there will be wind-vexed surfaces on our too-often agitated spirits, there ought to be deeper than these the calm setting of the whole ocean of our nature towards God Himself. It is possible, as this Apostle has it, to be ‘sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.’ It is possible, as his brother Apostle has it, to ‘rejoice greatly, though now for a season we are in sorrow through manifold temptations.’ Look back upon your lives from the point of view that your tribulation is an instrument to produce hope, and you will be able to thank God for all the way by which He has led you.

Now, brethren, the plain lesson of all this is just that we have here, in these texts, a linked chain, one end of which is wrapped around our sinful hearts, and the other is fastened to the Throne of God. You cannot drop any of the links, and you must begin at the beginning, if you are to be carried on to the end. If we are to have a joy immovable, we must have a ‘steadfast hope.’ If we are to have a ‘steadfast hope,’ we must have a present ‘grace.’ If we are to have a present ‘grace,’ and ‘access’ to the fullness of God, we must have ‘peace with God.’ If we are to have ‘peace with God,’ we must have the condemnation and the guilt taken away. If we are to have the condemnation and the guilt taken away, Jesus Christ must take them. If Jesus Christ is to take them away, we must have faith in Him. Then you can work it backward, and begin at your own end, and say, ‘If I have faith in Jesus Christ, then every link of the chain in due succession will pass through my hand, and I shall have justifying, peace, access, the grace, erectness, hope, and exultation, and at last He will lead me by the hand into the glory for which I dare to hope, the glory which the Father gave to Him before the foundation of the world, and which He will give to me when the world has passed away in fervent heat.’

Romans 5:3-4. And not only so — Not only do we possess the four fore- mentioned inestimable blessings; but we glory in tribulations also — Which we are so far from esteeming a mark of God’s displeasure, that we receive them as tokens of his fatherly love, whereby we may be enabled to do him more singular honour, and be prepared for a more exalted happiness. The Jews often objected the persecuted state of the Christians as inconsistent with what they concluded would be the condition of the people of the Messiah. It is therefore with great propriety that the apostle so often discourses on the benefit arising from this very thing. The apostles and first Christians gloried in tribulations: 1st, Because hereby their state was made to resemble that of Christ, with whom they died, that they might live; suffered, that they might reign, Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:11-12. 2d, Because their graces were hereby exercised, and therefore increased. And, 3d, They were hereby purified and refined, as gold and silver in the furnace. See Isaiah 1:4-5; Zechariah 13:9. Knowing that tribulation — Under the influence of divine grace, without which it could produce no such effect; worketh patience — Calls into exercise, and so gradually increases our patience; even an humble, resigned, quiet, contented state of mind: suggesting those considerations which at once show the reasonableness of that duty, and lay a solid foundation for it. And patience, experience — The patient enduring of tribulation gives us more experience of the truth and degree of our grace, of God’s care of us, and of his power, and love, and faithfulness, engaged in supporting us under our sufferings, and causing them to work for our good. The original expression, δοκιμη, rendered experience, signifies being approved on trial. Before we are brought into tribulation, knowing God’s power, we may believe he can deliver; and knowing his love and faithfulness to his word, we may believe he will deliver: but after we have been actually brought into tribulation, and have been supported under it, and delivered out of it, we can say, from experience, he hath delivered; and are thus encouraged to trust in him in time to come. Thus Shadrach and his companions, before they were cast into the furnace, could say (Daniel 3:17) to Nebuchadnezzar, Our God: whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and they could also add, He will deliver us. But after they had been cast into the furnace, and their faith in, and obedience to, their God had been put to that fiery trial, their patience wrought experience; and they could say, from experience, He hath delivered us, as was acknowledged by the haughty monarch himself, saying, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, &c., who hath delivered his servants that trusted in him. And experience, hope — That is, an increased and more confirmed hope than is possessed before experience is attained; namely, 1st, Of continued help, support, and deliverance. 2d, Of a comfortable issue of our trials in due time. 3d, Of eternal salvation at last, Matthew 5:12, John 16:20-22. Observe, reader, as soon as we are justified, and made the children and heirs of God, chap. Romans 8:17, we hope, on good grounds, for the glory of God; but our faith and other graces not having then been tried, our hope of eternal life must be mixed with doubts and fears respecting our steadfastness when exposed to trials, (which we are taught in the word of God to expect,) and our enduring to the end. But when we have been brought into and have passed through various and long-continued trials, and in the midst of them have been so supported by divine grace as to be enabled to continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel, our expectation of persevering in the good way, and being finally saved, attains a confirmation and establishment: and our gratitude and joy, 1 Peter 1:3, our patience, purity, and diligence in all the works of piety and virtue, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 1 John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 15:58, are increased and confirmed in proportion thereto.

5:1-5 A blessed change takes place in the sinner's state, when he becomes a true believer, whatever he has been. Being justified by faith he has peace with God. The holy, righteous God, cannot be at peace with a sinner, while under the guilt of sin. Justification takes away the guilt, and so makes way for peace. This is through our Lord Jesus Christ; through him as the great Peace-maker, the Mediator between God and man. The saints' happy state is a state of grace. Into this grace we are brought, which teaches that we were not born in this state. We could not have got into it of ourselves, but we are led into it, as pardoned offenders. Therein we stand, a posture that denotes perseverance; we stand firm and safe, upheld by the power of the enemy. And those who have hope for the glory of God hereafter, have enough to rejoice in now. Tribulation worketh patience, not in and of itself, but the powerful grace of God working in and with the tribulation. Patient sufferers have most of the Divine consolations, which abound as afflictions abound. It works needful experience of ourselves. This hope will not disappoint, because it is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of love. It is the gracious work of the blessed Spirit to shed abroad the love of God in the hearts of all the saints. A right sense of God's love to us, will make us not ashamed, either of our hope, or of our sufferings for him.And not only so - We not only rejoice in times of prosperity, and of health. Paul proceeds to show that this plan is not less adapted to produce support in trials.

But we glory - The word used here is the same that is in Romans 5:2, translated, "we rejoice" καυχώμεθα kauchōmetha. It should have been so rendered here. The meaning is, that we rejoice not only in hope; not only in the direct results of justification, in the immediate effect which religion itself produces; but we carry our joy and triumph even into the midst of trials. In accordance with this, our Saviour directed his followers to rejoice in persecutions, Matthew 5:11-12. Compare James 1:2, James 1:12.

In tribulations - In afflictions. The word used here refers to all kinds of trials which people are called to endure; though it is possible that Paul referred particularly to the various persecutions and trials which they were called to endure as Christians.

Knowing - Being assured of this. Paul's assurance might have arisen from reasoning on the nature of religion, and its tendency to produce comfort; or it is more probable that he was speaking here the language of his own experience. He had found it to be so. This was written near the close of his life, and it states the personal experience of a man who endured, perhaps, as much as anyone ever did, in attempting to spread the gospel; and far more than commonly falls to the lot of mankind. Yet he, like all other Christians, could leave his deliberate testimony to the fact that Christianity was sufficient to sustain the soul in its severest trials; see 2 Corinthians 1:3-6; 2 Corinthians 11:24-29; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Worketh - Produces; the effect of afflictions on the minds of Christians is to make them patient. Sinners are irritated and troubled by them; they complain, and become more and more obstinate and rebellious. They have no sources of consolation; they deem God a hard master; and they become fretful and rebellions just in proportion to the depth and continuance of their trials. But in the mind of a Christian, who regards his Father's hand in it; who sees that he deserves no mercy; who has confidence in the wisdom and goodness of God; who feels that it is necessary for his own good to be afflicted; and who experiences its happy, subduing, and mild effect in restraining his sinful passions, and in weaning him from the world the effect is to produce patience. Accordingly, it will usually be found that those Christians who are longest and most severely afflicted are the most patient. Year after year of suffering produces increased peace and calmness of soul; and at the end of his course the Christian is more willing to be afflicted, and bears his afflictions more calmly, than at the beginning. He who on earth was most afflicted was the most patient of all sufferers; and not less patient when he was "led as a lamb to the slaughter," than when he experienced the first trial in his great work.

Patience - "A calm temper, which suffers evils without murmuring or discontent" (Webster).

3, 4. we glory in tribulation also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience—Patience is the quiet endurance of what we cannot but wish removed, whether it be the withholding of promised good (Ro 8:25), or the continued experience of positive ill (as here). There is indeed a patience of unrenewed nature, which has something noble in it, though in many cases the offspring of pride, if not of something lower. Men have been known to endure every form of privation, torture, and death, without a murmur and without even visible emotion, merely because they deemed it unworthy of them to sink under unavoidable ill. But this proud, stoical hardihood has nothing in common with the grace of patience—which is either the meek endurance of ill because it is of God (Job 1:21, 22; 2:10), or the calm waiting for promised good till His time to dispense it come (Heb 10:36); in the full persuasion that such trials are divinely appointed, are the needed discipline of God's children, are but for a definite period, and are not sent without abundant promises of "songs in the night." If such be the "patience" which "tribulation worketh," no wonder that We glory in tribulations also; as old soldiers do in their scars of honour: see Galatians 6:17 2 Corinthians 12:9-11. Believers do not only glory in their future happiness, but in their present sufferings and afflictions: yet not so much in affliction itself, as in the issue and fruitful effects thereof, of which he speaks in what follows.

Knowing, finding by experience, that tribulation worketh patience; not as if affliction of itself and in its own nature did this, for in many it hath a contrary operation; but God, who is the author and giver of patience, Romans 5:15, doth make use of it for this purpose; it is a means sanctified of God for the exercising, obtaining, and increasing thereof.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also,.... The tribulations of the saints are many and various, through the hatred of the world, the temptations of Satan, their own corruptions; and are the will of their heavenly Father; what Christ has foretold, and they expect; and here particularly design such as are for Christ's sake, which being supported under, and carried through, they glory in: not that these are desirable in themselves, and to the flesh; but they glory in them as they are for Christ's sake, and in a good cause; as they are trials of grace, and of use for the exercise of it: and as they are in the exercise of grace, amidst these tribulations, and are comforted under them, and are helped to have regard to the heavenly glory. The ground of which glorying is, that these afflictions are the means of promoting patience, experience, and hope:

knowing this, that tribulation worketh patience; patience is a grace, of which God is the author; it is one of the fruits of the Spirit; the word of God is the means of its being first implanted; and afflictions are the means of promoting it, when they are sanctified; otherwise they produce impatience, murmurings, and repinings; there is great need of patience under them; and, by divine grace, they are the matter and occasion of exercising, and so of increasing it.

{4} And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: {5} knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

(4) Tribulation itself gives us different and various occasions to rejoice, and more than this it does not make us miserable.

(5) Afflictions make us use to being patient, and patience assures us of the goodness of God, and this experience confirms and fosters our hope, which never deceives us.

Romans 5:3-4.[1154] Οὐ ΜΌΝΟΝ ΔΈ] scil. ΚΑΥΧΏΜΕΘΑ ἘΠʼ ἘΛΠΊΔΙ Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς Τ. ΘΕΟῦ. Examples of the usage (Romans 5:11; Romans 8:23; Romans 9:10; 2 Corinthians 8:19) may be seen in Kypke, II. p. 165; Vigerus, ed. Herm. p. 543; Heind. and Stallb. a[1155] Phaed. p. 107 B. Comp Legg. vi. p. 752 A; Men. p. 71 B.

ἐν ταῖς θλίψ.] of the tribulations (affecting us), as commonly in the N. T. ἐν is connected with ΚΑΥΧᾶΣΘΑΙ (Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 10:15; Galatians 6:13). Comp Senec. de prov. iv. 4 : “gaudent magni viri rebus adversis non aliter quam fortes milites bellis triumphant.” As to the ground of this Christian καύχησις, see the sequel. On the thing itself, in which the believer’s victory over the world makes itself apparent (Romans 8:35 ff.), comp 2 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:12; Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 4:12 f. Observe further, how with the joyful assurance of ample experience the triumphant discourse proceeds from the ἘΛΠῚς Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς, as subject-matter of the ΚΑΥΧᾶΣΘΑΙ, to the direct opposite (ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν), which may be likewise matter of glorying. Others (Glöckler, Baumgarten-Crusius, Stölting) erroneously render ἘΝ as in, which the contrast, requiring the object, does not permit, since ἐν τ. θλ. is not opposed to the ἘΝ ᾟ in Romans 5:2.

ὙΠΟΜΟΝΉΝ] endurance (“in ratione bene considerata stabilis et perpetua permansio,” Cic. de inv. ii. 54), namely, in the Christian faith and life. Comp Romans 2:7; Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13. Paul lays down the Ἡ ΘΛΊΨΙς ὙΠΟΜ. ΚΑΤΕΡΓΆΖ. unconditionally, because he is speaking of those who have been justified ἐκ πίστεως, in whose case the reverse cannot take place without sacrifice of their faith.

ΔΟΚΙΜΉΝ] triedness, 2 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Php 2:22, “quae ostendit fidem non esse simulatam, sed veram, vivam et ardentem,” Melancthon. Triedness is produced through endurance (not made known, as Reiche thinks); for whosoever does not endure thereby becomes ἀδόκιμος. There is here no inconsistency with Jam 1:3. See Huther.

ἘΛΠΊΔΑ] namely, Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς Τ. ΘΕΟῦ, as is self-evident after Romans 5:2. The hope, it is true, already exists before the ΔΟΚΙΜΉ; nevertheless, the more the Christian has become tried, the more also will hope (which the ἀδόκιμος loses) consciously possess him. Comp Jam 1:12. Hope is therefore present, and yet withal is produced by the emergence of the δοκιμή, just as faith may be present, and yet be still further produced through something emerging (John 2:11). Comp Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 207 f.

Observe further, how widely removed from all fanatical pride in suffering is the reason assigned with conscious clearness for the Christian καυχᾶσθαι ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσι in our passage. In it the ἘΛΠΊς is uniformly meant and designated as the highest subjective blessing of the justified person, who is assured of the glorious consummation (not in Romans 5:3 f. as conduct and only in Romans 5:2 as blessing, as Hofmann thinks). Comp the ἩΔΕῖΑ ἘΛΠΊς, which ἈΕῚ ΠΆΡΕΣΤΙ, in contrast to the ΖῆΝ ΜΕΤᾺ ΚΑΚῆς ἘΛΠΊΔΟς in Plato, Rep. p. 331 A.

[1154] See a climax of description, similar in point of form in the Tractat. םוטה 9, 15 (see Surenh. III. 309): “Providentia parit alacritatem, alacritas innocentiam, innocentia puritatem, puritas abstinentiam, abstinentia sanctitatem, sanctitas modestiam, modestia timorem, timor sceleris pietatem, pietas spiritum sanctum, et spiritus sanctus resurrectionem mortuorum.” In contrast with this, how fervent, succinct, and full of life is the climax in our passage! For other chains of climactic succession, see Romans 8:29 ff., Romans 10:14 ff.; 2 Peter 1:5 ff.

[1155] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

Romans 5:3. οὐ μόνον δὲ ἀλλὰ καὶ καυχώμεθα: and not only (do we glory on that footing), but we also glory in tribulations. Cf. Jam 1:2 ff. ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν does not simply mean “when we are in tribulations,” but also “because we are”: the tribulations being the ground of the glorying: see Romans 2:17; Romans 2:23, Romans 5:11, 1 Corinthians 3:21, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Galatians 6:14.

3. but we glory] For the present, St Paul puts the eternal future out of view again, in order that present grace may be better explained.—“We glory:”—same word as “rejoice” in Romans 5:2. Wonderful is the force of this repetition, in connexion with tribulation!

tribulations] Lit. the tribulations; “our troubles.” See Romans 8:35-39 for a noble example of such rejoicing. See too Matthew 5:11; Acts 5:41; Hebrews 10:34; 1 Peter 1:6-9; and esp. James 1:2-4.

patience] The patience of perseverance. See on Romans 2:7. “Tribulation” teaches the believer the possibility, and blessedness, of “patient continuance in well-doing.”

Romans 5:3. Καυχώμεθα, we [rejoice] glory) Construe with Romans 5:11, see notes there.—ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν, in tribulations) Tribulations during the whole of this life seem to deliver us up to death, [Romans 5:12], not to glory, and yet not only are they not unfavourable to hope, but even afford it assistance.—ὑπομονὴν κατεργάζεται, worketh patience [patient perseverance]) namely in the case of believers; for in the case of unbelievers the result is rather impatience and apostacy. Patience is not learned without adversity; it [patience] is the characteristic of a mind not only ready [prompt in resolution], but also of one courageous [hardy] in endurance.

Verses 3-5. - And not only so, but we glory in tribulations (or, our 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 through the Holy Ghost which is given to us. The peace, the joy, the hope, that come of faith might be supposed unable to stand against the facts of this present life, in which, to those first believers, only peculiar tribulations might seem to follow from their faith. Not so, says the apostle; nay, their very tribulations tend to confirm our hope, and so even in them we also glory. For we perceive how they serve for our probation now: they test our endurance; and proved endurance increases hope. And this hope does not shame us in the end, as being baseless and without fulfilment; for our inward experience of the love of God assures us of the contrary, and keeps it ever alive. The word δοκιμὴ ("experience," Authorized Version) means properly "proof," and is so translated elsewhere. The idea is that tribulations test, and endurance under them proves, the genuineness of faith; and approved faithfulness strengthens hope (cf. Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13, "He that endureth (ὑπομείνας, corresponding to ὑπομονὴν here) to the end, the same shall be saved "). By "the love of God" is meant rather God's love to us than ours to God. What follows in explanation requires this sense. Of course, it kindles answering love in ourselves (cf. "We love God, because he first loved us"); but the idea here is that of God's own love, the sense of which we experience, flooding our hearts with itself through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It may be observed that, though assurance of the fulfilment of our hope is here made to rest on inward feeling, yet this is legitimately convincing to those who do so feel. As in many other matters, so especially in religion, it is internal consciousness that carries the strongest conviction with it, and induces certitude. The verses that come next set forth the grounds of our sense of God's exceeding love to us. Romans 5:3Tribulations

Sharp contrast of glory and tribulation. Tribulations has the article; the tribulations attaching to the condition of believers. Rev., our tribulations.

Patience (ὑπομονὴν)

See on 2 Peter 1:6; see on James 5:7.

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