The DEEP

But Wait! There's More!

Elpis.

Romans 5:1–5 (NKJV)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

What does Paul mean when he says, “we have peace with God”? Why does being justified by faith give us peace?

Because our faith is credited to us as righteousness. Our unrighteousness had put us at enmity with God. Being at enmity with the creator of the universe is about as far from peace as you can get. With that enmity now removed, we can relax.

Also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. This is truly a cause for celebration. But wait! There’s more!

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Because we’re at peace with the creator of the universe and know that He’s got our back, we can handle tribulations. This turns out to be very useful because it’s how we grow.

You can become a newborn Christian by just understanding the theory and the evidence, but becoming a mature Christian takes time and experience. Jesus warned us that “experience” isn’t always a picnic either. He said, over and over, that we would be severely tried.

Now Paul explains what those trials are for; they build character. The chain of growth is perseverance, then character, then hope. But what does Paul mean by hope? Why would that be important?

“Hope” doesn’t quite capture the full meaning of the Greek word here (ἐλπίς “elpis”). It’s defined as hope/expectation/prospect. We’ve got plenty of basic hope (without the confidence) before we endure trials.

Through trials we learn to trust God and our hope grows into the full meaning of elpis.


But Satan has one avenue of attack that we need to watch out for—forgetfulness. God can come through many times but if none of them are recent, it starts to feel like He’s not there.

One of the great weapons against this is writing things down. Keep a notebook of the prayer requests in your fellowship group and it can be a treasure later. I have one from the 1990s that’s priceless. It journals God’s amazing provision as our lives and our kids grew. Every page is a blast from the past.

Not recording your prayers is like taking pictures but losing the captions.


All the weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.