Hope Not Ashamed
Paul already said that problems are the pathway to becoming more like Christ, and this is the hope that we can have in our problems. Paul also recognized that Christianity goes deeper than just the development of character and living on hope.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
5 and hope is not putting us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:3-5)
If Christianity is just character development and hope, it might lead us eventually to embarrassment, shame, and despair. After several decades hope can be a meager meal! A heart ultimately cannot live on character development and hope. Something much deeper, however, is going on and that is the love relationship between God the Father and his children. Paul stated that God the Father's love was poured into our hearts in the past and it has had a present effect. This love is the ultimate goal and purpose of Christianity. To be loved by God and to love him in return ultimately is all there is. Nothing more, nothing less. Love spreads a much better meal than hope or character!
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