Romans 5:1-5 He who locks steps with Christ will live the abundant life with ease
Romans 5:1-5 He who locks steps with Christ will live the abundant life with ease
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Those who are justified by faith will live the abundant life with ease and obtain the glory of God. Using Abraham as the backdrop, Paul identifies the traits of abundant living and glory. Abraham persevered in walking with God amid tribulations. This results in a proven character and hope; a life of abundance and ease. And Christendom honoured him as the father of faith whose faith brought salvation to the world.
Perseverance enables us to refine our character and build the foundations while awaiting God’s perfect timing. Proven character causes us to be one with God giving us access to His grace and favour. Hope is supernatural confidence to live the abundant life with ease. Today’s devotion teaches us: He who locks steps with Christ will live the abundant life with ease.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand;
To be “justified” or “made righteous” is to be recognised as God’s son, possessing God’s likeness, predestined to fulfil God’s plans and receive God’s glory. This righteousness is the result of one’s initial faith; which is a sincere desire and commitment to do God’s will. Having obtained peace with God (and being reconciled with Him), He writes our names in the book of life. The blood of Jesus Christ irrevocably establishes this covenant of peace and sonship.
As partakers of this blood covenant, we become permanent and eternal recipients of God’s grace (charis in Greek); the gift of righteousness. As recipients of God’s grace, we have access to divine wisdom and authority that will empower us to fulfil our divine commission.
And we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character;
Having been made righteous, we look forward to receiving the reward; the glory of God. To exult is to show triumphant jubilation because of the future reward of glory. However, the glory of God cannot be described with words. For it is beyond anything man has seen except that it’s the glory that Jesus Christ Himself enjoyed.
That said, the glory of God cannot be obtained without first overcoming the tribulations. Some tribulations are common to all men on earth. And some tribulations are placed in our paths to hinder us from accomplishing our divine commission. Having understood the necessity of tribulations, we exult in them every time we encounter them. Tribulation can range from severe sickness to a state of wilderness. Abraham’s tribulation is likened to a wilderness journey without experiencing the promises.
Perseverance causes us to stay on the course of our divine commission despite setbacks and the lack of results. It also causes us to stay in the crucible of tribulation until the refining work is complete. In the case of Abraham, he persevered by walking in obedience daily until the age of 100. Despite not seeing the fulfilment of the promise, Abraham waited on God to bring forth Isaac without turning to the left or to the right. Sarah’s scheme to bring forth a son through Hagar was rejected because it was not God’s plan.
How then do we persevere? By following God’s instructions to the tee and not stray from His directives. Like Sarah, many are always thinking about what they should do and how they should serve God. Although their intentions are noble, they prefer to do things their way rather than listen to God. Such do not possess perseverance and are constantly distracted by many things.
Through perseverance, not only is Isaac brought forth in perfect timing, Abraham’s character was refined and proven as a result. A proven character empathises with God and with man. He is one that God trusts, favours and promotes. When God considers a person, He evaluates his character by the way he responses to temptations and tribulations. When a man perseveres in doing what is right even though he is disadvantaged, he is approved of God. What about achievements and abilities? How does God value them vis-à-vis a godly character? Paul said,
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:2
A virtuous character must come before abilities. For one who has abilities but no love, he is considered as nothing before God. But for one who is humble and selfless, God grants him all knowledge, even the faith to move mountains.
And proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Hope (elpis in Greek) connotes supernatural confidence. A man of hope is fearless and steadfast in times of calamity because he locks steps with God. Thus, he possesses supernatural confidence that all things will turn out well. And his confidence does not fade (hope does not disappoint) because of the work of the Spirit. Jesus displayed hope when He faced a life threatening storm while in a boat with His disciples. The way He raised Lazarus from the dead speaks of perfect confidence and ease. Abraham also displayed hope when he attempted to sacrifice Isaac. Psalm 1 describes one with hope,
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:3
The greater the hope within the believer, the more abundant his life is. And he lives in perpetual peace and safety.
A person of hope is also an invaluable vessel to God, to move mountains, to raise the dead and to do the impossible. It is through hope that Isaac was conceived to perpetuate the holy lineage. It is through hope that Jesus died and resurrected. It is through hope that the disciples cast out demons and heal the sick. As tribulation refines a person’s character, it produces supernatural confidence to destroy the devil’s work.
How do believers grow in hope to overcome impossible situations? God’s love continues to assure us of God’s favour and protection in all our endeavours. By living in the Spirit’s presence one day at a time, we grow in perseverance and character, resulting in hope.
It is only by seeking God’s kingdom can we be made righteous to obtain the glory of God.
The kingdom of God, righteousness and eternal life are all synonymous terms associated with the glory of Jesus Christ. The glory of God is given only to those who follow Jesus by carrying the cross with Him. Jesus makes a distinction between believers who follow Him (those who rule) and those who seek blessing and salvation (those who are being ruled). Jesus said to His disciples who forsake all to follow Him,
“Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” – Matthew 19:28-30
Jesus told His disciples that they would rule all Israel with Him. Likewise, a small handful today will rule the rest of the world. Those who are predestined to rule with God possesses the following traits,
- They see the Father’s business as more important than their personal goals, career, and family. In the decisions of life, they endeavour to align themselves with God’s plans.
- They are ready to give up what they possess and love (including family relations) to obey God’s call.
- They do not seek fame or power, but are driven by the desire to serve others.
The prodigal son focuses on his agenda and well-being. But when he returns, he forsakes his agenda and rules with his father.
Jesus taught about the man who forsakes all for that one thing of great value,
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46
The righteous is fiercely focused on the heavenly call, which is infinitely more significant than what the world can offer.
He who locks steps with Christ will live the abundant life with ease
Hope (elpis in Greek) connotes supernatural confidence and ease. Hope comes when one perseveres in following God’s directives accurately and comprehensively. For God will only support plans that are aligned to His perfect will. Jesus worked miracles and confronted oppositions with great ease because He locks steps with the Father. Jesus said,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” – John 5:19
Jesus only does what He sees the Father doing. That applies to every word He spoke, everything He did, and to every decision He made.
Why does the Son give up His freedom by subjecting Himself to the Father? It is because of love. It is the Father’s love that compels the Son. For the Father loves the Son and predestines Him for great things.
“For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel…” – John 5:20
Therefore, it is God’s love that compelled Abraham to persevere in sacrificing Isaac. Likewise, if we immerse ourselves daily in the love of God, we will live a life of ease and abundance.
Many ministers and believers do not live life with ease and abundance. They were tired and burned out because of two reasons. Firstly, their desires and motivations are misguided. Beneath that zeal belies a personal agenda. Secondly, they do not know how to connect with God to understand His plans. Hence, they persevered in doing what God has not instructed them to do. Jesus taught us to come and lock steps with Him,
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28
In coming to Jesus, we learn how to operate with confidence and ease; How He humbled Himself before God in obedience; How He lived a day at a time in total submission to God.
1. Evaluate your mindset in your current difficulties: Do you have an escapist mindset? Do you complain about your circumstance or are you actively working on a plan towards your calling?
2. Before we can know in greater clarity God’s calling for us, we have to start serving the community in whatever capacity and remain faithful in it. How are you helping the community today? Ask God how you could grow in that capacity and work with the church to fulfil it.
3. Do you love the ministry work more than God? Purify your heart and show yourself approved in your motives and character. And God will give you greater grace and authority to accomplish His will.
Dear Lord, I thank you that my current challenges are not a hindrance but an opportunity to overcome. Cause me to persevere in the path you have set for me. Purify my heart so that I may be found proven in my character. Cause me to rest in your unconditional love daily so that I may live the abundant life with ease. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.