Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and 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. (NRSV)
This short passage from Romans might be easier to understand if Paul had written it in the form of a story. Instead it’s a letter, and sometimes Paul gets dense when he writes letters. So I’m going to focus on just one small part of this passage and try to unpack it for us. Besides, Austin, you have a reputation for being a thoughtful person. You’re smart enough and thoughtful enough to handle a more intellectually challenging text like this one. Here’s the part I want to focus on. Paul says that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Let’s see if we can understand this sequence a little better.
- Romans 5:1 - 5