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Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1-5

Rejoice in Tribulations



1.  Title appears contradictory, yet very possible in Christ.

2.  Heavenly blessing as Christians rejoice through trials, Matt. 5:10-12.

3.  The trials of life affect our faith (for either good or bad), and should not be minimized.

4.  We can learn to rejoice in tribula­tion, Rom. 5:3.



  A.  Translations include: Tribulations, Sufferings (ESV), Troubles (NCV).

    1.  Definition (thlipsis): Pressure, distress, affliction.

    2.  "distress that is brought about by outward circumstances"[1]

      a.  "Primarily means a pressing, pressure, anything which burdens the spirit" (Vine).

      b.  "A pressing, pressing together, pressure...oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits...anxiety, burden of heart" (Thayer, 291).

      c.  "The pressures of life which come upon saints." (Commentary on Romans, McGuiggan)

    3.  Illustrated: Childbirth, Jno. 16:21 (anguish); War, Matt. 24:20-21 (Lk. 21:23-24); Divine retribution, 2 Thess. 1:6.

  B.  Defining Characteristics of these Tribulations:

    1.  Faced by every Christian, Jno. 16:33.

    2.  Come because of the word of God, Mk. 4:16-17.

    3.  May be from external forces of persecution, Acts 20:23.

    4.  May be burdens of heart, 2 Cor. 2:4.

    5.  Must endure them to enter heaven, Acts 14:22.

  -No question, Christians live under a lot of pressure which, if allowed, can stifle our hope. Yet, called to "rejoice in tribulation," Rom. 5:2-3.


II.  HOW DO WE REJOICE IN TRIBULATIONS? Rom. 5:3 (glory, boast, exult in, take pride in) [Same word in Rom. 5:2, "rejoice in hope"]

  -(To rejoice when confronted with tribulation is not irrational if we will remember these things about it.)  Eyes of faith, 2 Cor. 5:7

  A.  Develop the Spirit of Early Christians Who Counted it an Honor to Suffer for Christ's Sake, Acts 5:41.

    1.  Like Paul, we see the honor of contributing our part to sharing in Christ's suffering for the benefit of the church, Col. 1:24 (Phil. 3:10; 1 Pet. 4:13).

    2.  Worthy of God's pres­ence, 1 Pet. 4:14.

    3.  Must hold before us the suffering of Christ and rejoice when we have a part in it.

  B.  Recognize that Suffering can Prepare Us for Greater Usefulness in the Kingdom, Rom. 5:3-4.

    1.  Patience is produced that matures and completes our faith, Jas. 1:2-4 (Rom. 12:12).

    2.  Church is strengthened when we rejoice in tribulation (Rom. 5:3-4):

      a.  Perseverance: Remain true to God.

      b.  Approved character (experience): Charac­ter, tried integrity.

      c.  Hope: Confident of God and heaven.

    3.  Rejoice in these real spiritual blessings, 2 Cor. 12:10.

  C.  Suffering Should make us Long for Heaven with Greater Intensity.

    1.  Rejoice in our heavenly reward, Matt. 5:12.

    2.  Our longing for heaven becomes more real and impactful in our lives, 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 4:12-13.

    3.  Don't faint -- be renewed, 2 Cor. 4:16-18.

  D.  Remember that God's Grace is Sufficient to Sustain Us, Rom. 5:2; 2 Cor. 12:10.

    1.  We stand on the solid ground of faith (Heb. 11:1).

    2.  Tribulations are power­less to separate us from Christ's love; We are more than conquerors through Christ, Rom. 8:35-37.

    3.  Do not fear - God knows and will not forsake His faithful ones, Rev. 2:9-10.



1.  Rejoicing in tribulations should be more than rhetoric or a trite expression; We share in the suffering of Christ, Rev. 1:9; Phil. 3:10.

2.  This defines our approach to living for Christ, because "all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12).


[1] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 457). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.




By: Joe R. Price

Posted: April 6, 2016