My children are in an age range where they sometimes have to write essays about themselves, or generate a résumé to accompany an application. After my wife and I (hopefully) guiding them to be humble, they have to change their viewpoint slightly when it comes to having them explain their abilities and achievements. While I don’t want them to become obnoxious about their successes (which, as a proud dad, I consider to be many), I do want those who are evaluating my children to have a rich and complete understanding of who they are and what they can do.
Let’s revisit one of the passages from the previous article:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1-2 NIV
Among other good news in these verses, we have this idea of boasting. The NASB uses the word “celebrate” (with a footnote about the possible translation of “boast”), and a commentator suggested the idea of rejoicing. I suppose that these words really aren’t all that different, though. When we are pridefully boastful (i.e., the not-so-good kind of boasting), we want to convince people to celebrate us, often to the exclusion of celebrating their own accomplishments or the positive qualities of others.
Now, I appreciate that we were taught not to brag, and arrogance is definitely something that we should avoid. However, these verses tell us that there are things worth making a big deal about, including our hope (of God’s glory). You’ve probably heard it before, but this concept of hope in the Bible isn’t just wishful thinking. Instead, it is a confidence in something that we can rely on today, for a future fulfillment.
As a side thought, the same commentator that was mentioned above (Cottrell) identifies “assurance” as a word to summarize the key benefit of justification by faith. Maybe this is the assurance of Hebrews 11:1. A member of our class asked recently how we can be sure of our salvation, and maybe this is it: our faith in God’s promises, the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice, and the completeness of God’s faithfulness are that assurance. These things that our faith is grounded upon are the source of our confidence, not whether or not we “did things right” in order to earn our salvation.
Would you like to see still another example of the magnitude of God’s grace? Let’s keep reading, a few verses later.
Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:11 NIV
Again, we have something to boast about (or celebrate). Rather than boasting about our own accomplishments, though, we can celebrate how great God is, thanks to the reconciliation that Jesus made possible for us.
Have you ever met someone who liked to talk about how great their job was? We have each probably known people (or have been those people) who complain about their work, but sometimes you find someone who is so excited about their employer that they can’t stop talking about all of the benefits that they get.
I think about the particular kind of boasting described in Romans 5 as the same sort of thing: when we truly appreciate the grace that we have received, and the blessings that God gives us when Jesus Christ is our Lord (our “boss”, we might say), shouldn’t we be overflowing with pride and end up bragging about how great God is? Employees who like their place of work aren’t shy about suggesting that their friends come and join them, especially when a position opens up. Evangelism for us might be as simple as inviting others to have Jesus as their Lord and Savior, explaining why that is such a good thing for us, and telling them how to “apply”. We also know that 100% of the people who choose to make Jesus their Lord – those who seek to become part of God’s family, in the way that God arranged for them to do so – are accepted.
So, if you’ve experienced the joy of living in God’s family, go out and boast a little bit about God and the hope that He gives us. Trust me, it’s OK to do so.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for February 13, 2022
- The Lookout, February 13, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.
- The College Press Commentary, Romans, Volume 1, by Jack Cottrell. College Press Publishing Company, © 1996.