Have you ever wondered why God leaves us on this earth after we are justified by faith in Jesus? With all of the pain and suffering this world brings, at times it seems that an immediate rapture into Heaven would be the most loving thing God could provide.
So why does God leave us here?
I’m sure there are a multitude of reasons that only God knows. However, the Bible gives us plenty.
In Romans 5, for example, Paul states:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, wehave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and werejoicein hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
In these verses, Paul is addressing those of us who have been “justified by faith” (ie. saved, redeemed, reborn, etc). In the very same sentence (verse 1), he explains that because of our justification, we now enjoy “peace with God…”
Peace in the midst of a fallen world should be reason enough for contentment. What a gift of grace to be anchored by a peace and a hope which cannot be shaken.
In fact, that very grace is what Paul states in verse two is our means by which we stand and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. If we were immediately raptured, how would we ever rejoice in hope?
Further, beyond our rejoicing in hope, Paul explains that we also can rejoice in our sufferings. Once again, this is impossible unless we are inhabiting a fallen world. These sufferings are a part of the sanctifying work Christ performs in our life as, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”
Christ is glorified both in our initial faith at justification, and our increasing faith throughout sanctification –both of which take place in a fallen world.
So the next time this world has you frustrated and weary, take Paul’s advice –rejoice! Rejoice in the peace of God and rejoice in the sanctifying work of Christ taking part in your life. If you take joy in that hope, the Bible says, “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”