Let's face it. Being boastful is probably not on the list of our favorite Christian virtues, or at least we feel a bit guilty about it. But here in Romans the Apostle Paul urges us—twice in fact—to take a risk and be boastful. Because we've got something to boast about. Even in the midst of sufferings we can boast about our hope in "sharing the glory of God." Such boasting is not self-serving or self-promoting, but springs from a hope grounded in the love of God, a love that Paul says has been "poured into our hearts" through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the gift of the Holy Spirit. So there you have it—it's all about the Trinity. And Paul says, if you think that's something, then imagine this: we have a God whose whole energy is poured out for our benefit, that we might live each day in hope. We stand at the door, given access to the grace of God, no, not as a promise for some distant future, but grace in which we are standing firm and full right now. The implications of this grace tumble over themselves in Paul's inability to contain them—words like justification, faith, peace, glory, hope—and all of them authored in that deep love of God given to us as gift. Now that's something to keep boasting about!
God of Love, remind us each day of that marvelous gift you have poured into our hearts through our Lord Jesus Christ and through your Spirit which you have caused to dwell in us. May that gift inspire us to live this day in hope, and maybe even to boast a bit of this marvelous God whose glory we have been invited to share. Amen.
Romans 5:1-5 (NRSV)
1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.