This Sunday, we focus on a well-known and often used passage from the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Paul begins his 5th chapter with a lot of talk about boasting. Strange choice of words, I think.
We usually think of boasting as a first cousin to “pride,” which is listed by the early church as one of the seven deadly sins – along with gluttony and lust and envy and all the rest. These days, a boastful person is considered rude and generally “full of hot air.” Boastful people are self-satisfied about their accomplishments and possessions. They brag a lot. And they aren’t always the most fun to be around.
But biblically, boasting takes on a different meaning. It all depends on who and what we’re boasting about.
Paul says that, because God has justified us through our faith in Christ, we can boast in two things … in our sufferings and in the hope of sharing in the glory of God. This is a hope that does not disappoint. Boasting in that hope is not only acceptable, but a sign of God’s grace. For we’re not boasting about what we’ve accomplished, but about how the Holy Spirit has used our sufferings to grow us into more faithful followers of Jesus Christ. God – not us – gets the credit for pulling us through whatever difficulties and pain we face.
Lord knows, there’s plenty of suffering going on throughout the world with the latest pandemic! I wonder … when the worst is over, will we be the better for having gone through all of this? I sure hope so.
– Pastor Laura