July 27, 2020
Carmen’s opening commentary is premised upon the sermon she heard on Sunday morning from Josh Hussong at gccnashville.com. The sermon explores Romans 5:1-11 which reads (ESV): “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
“6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Pastor Hussong also drew on other passages in Romans including Romans 8:18-30 where the apostle Paul shares insight into his Christ-redeemed view of suffering: “18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
Carmen notes that “suffering is not unique to Christians but Christians do suffer uniquely – because our redeemed perspective on everything – including life and death. Christians suffer from the perspective of having been justified – saved by grace through faith in Christ – so, yes, we suffer, but with God’s presence, within God’s sovereign purpose and with a hope filled by God’s good and great promise.”
She observed that “suffering is suffering – for the believer and the nonbeliever alike – but the experience of suffering is transformed as are all things for those who are in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Christ, suffering is shared, suffering is productive and suffering is toward something… presence, purpose, promise.” She then commended the sermon to us all.
Carmen’s conversation partners in this episode are:
Dr. Zach Jenkins, Cedarville University, with the COVID headline roundup and
Dr. Adam Carrington, Hillsdale College, with everything from a political party primer to the reopening of Major League Baseball.