Today’s Reading: Romans 5
In today’s reading, we land on Romans 5 and see a different kind of praise. Praise that I don’t think is done in the church. It’s a new kind of praise for your repertoire.
God gives us to much to praise. In Romans 5:1-2, Paul reminds us of the greatest thing to thank God for: “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
The Message takes the last phase, “exult in hope of the glory of God,” and paraphrases it: “standing tall and shouting our praise.” We praise God that we have peace with God through Jesus. That last part is really important: “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Not through our promises or our good deeds, but through what Jesus has done on the cross. We don’t get anything from God unless it is through Jesus Christ.
In June 2006, Warren Buffett, the world’s second-richest man at the time, announced that he would donate 85 percent of his forty-four-billion-dollar fortune to five charitable foundations. Commenting on this extreme level of generosity, Buffett said: “There is more than one way to get to heaven, but this is a great way.”
Sorry, Warren, that just isn’t true. You may know a lot about investments, but you don’t know much about heaven. Religion says, “If I change, God will love me.” The gospel says, “God’s love changes people.” This is a blessing worthy of praising God.
But it isn’t this praise that I struggle with. My problem is with the second praise:
Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope. (Romans 5:1-4)
Or as The Message says, “We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us.” Are you kidding me? Exult in our tribulations? I can praise Him for grace and peace—but not for tribulations.
How can I exalt when things are falling apart?
How can I worship when I’m crying on the inside?
How can I dance when I am hurting?
What I have learned is that praise has nothing to do with music. Songs may help, but we don’t need them to praise God. Praise goes deeper than a melody line. When we praise God in trials, it means we know something beyond the music. We see a little further than the present.
What do we see? That something is on the other side of our painful situations, for “tribulation brings about . . .” something that could not come from music. Paul says that proven character is on the other side. Perseverance is on the other side. Hope is on the other side.
That means the music in our church doesn’t have to be that good to praise Him. We can praise God for the other side of our painful tribulation.
Romans 5:1-2 praise happens every Sunday. It’s the Romans 5:3-4 praise at which I need to get better.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “There are two times to praise the Lord: when you feel like it, and when you don’t.” Essentially, when we praise we are saying what David said in Psalm 34:1: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Let’s add Romans 5:3-4 praise to our repertoire this Sunday—and every day. Even in our tribulations, we can exult God.