(2) Assurance & Suffering in God’s “How much more…”: (A) Briefly discuss your understanding of the progression of the gradatio in Romans 5:3–4. How does Paul interpret suffering here? (What is the logic of this section? What is the end-goal of the progression? What is the relationship between hope and the Holy Spirit?)
(B) Then, discuss your understanding of the argument in 5:6–11, and how the death of Jesus offers assurance for the blessings of reconciliation and rescue from ‘wrath’. (What is the progression of the identity of humanity [i.e., from “weak” to “sinners” to “enemies”] and how does God respond in this situation? What does this indicate about how God relates to humanity? According to what logic does God value humanity, and how does this relate to Paul’s “gospel of grace”?)
(C) Finally, by interacting with Kirk, discuss the role of resurrection as a key image of the salvation presented in this passage.
2A. Romans 5:1-11 looks back to the beginning of the Christian life (“Since we are justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” v. 5:1) and forward to its consummation (“We rejoice in our hope of sharing of the glory of God” v. 5:2). Both views are beheld as a cause for rejoicing (5:2 – future; 5:11 – past). What is more, Romans 5:3-4 looks at the present and sees it as a cause for further rejoicing: “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings” (5:3). The progression of gradatio (Latin) or climax (Greek) is a device that Paul uses to basically characterize the Christian life between conversion and consummation. We rejoice in our sufferings à knowing that à suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. The three “products” of suffering Paul spotlights – endurance, character, and hope – again are characterizing a period in which the believer suffers. However, the suffering is not meaningless! Instead, Paul is saying that it educates, strengthens, and prepares the believer for things to come. Here, as I believe Paul interprets it, suffering is the arena/classroom in which the believer develops endurance.