The ladder of grace

The last couple of days I have been captured by Romans 5:1-5.  Here it is in the AMP version:

THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to [b]enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

2Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God's favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.

3Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.

4And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of [c]character (approved faith and [d]tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] [e]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

5Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

As I have been sitting in reflection of these verses, I've been picturing a ladder of grace. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are overwhelming. The LORD understands this and I believe these verses in Romans 5 give us a clear picture of the ladder we can climb as we work through these troubles.

The foundation of this ladder is justification.  Any difficult journey you embark on needs to be rooted in justification.  The AMP did a good job explaining justification for us: being declared right with God.  Because of that truth you can confidently grab a hold of the first rung on the ladder: peace with God.  This peace with God, means that we have been reconciled unto Him.  The second rung is access to God.  Because of our justification and our peace with God, we have complete access to God on our journey.

I'm going to skip for a moment to the very top of the ladder: sharing in God's glory.  Often as we climb ladders, we continue to look up to see where we are going and how far away we are from the top.  Romans 5:2 reminds us that God allows us to share in His glory.  There is a weight and a permanence to the glory of God so remember as you are walking through that the end result will be God's glory.  When His glory comes it will have a permanent change and He allows us a share in that!

The sides of the ladder, I have marked as grace and love.  I believe these are the stabilizers for the rungs.  Grace is God's enabling power given to us for the journey that we are on.  Love is how He continuously feels about us.

So now we can look back down to our ladder and see that we are on the third rung, joy.  If you see the last steps (justification, peace and access), and what you are surrounded by (grace and love) the immensity of situations begins to fade away and you can have joy, because you know that God is taking you somewhere and He is doing something.  This joy allows you to take the next step to patience.

As I'm sure you've learned by now, God's time table and our time tables do not always line up.  But when you see that God is up to something, He loves you and He is helping you, you can have patience in your circumstances.  The next step is character!  Yes, your character can grow and deepen as you walk through times of trouble.  And last of all there is HOPE.  Romans 5:5 says that the hope we get up this ladder will not disappoint us!  God has poured out His Holy Spirit upon us as we journeyed to the top.

If you've ever watched the Biggest Loser, you've seen the step ladder that continuously rotates.  Depending on your situation, it might not be a 1,2,3 and you are at the top.  Rather, it might be like the rotating ladder where we have to go back and immerse ourselves in these truths.  But I believe this visual helps us to see why we can have joy and hope as we walk in and through hard times.

In Christ,

PS Feel free to print out the visual and look back at the verses with the ladder in mind.

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