Should Romans 5:3 καυχώμεθα εν ταίς θλίψεσιν (rejoice/exult/boast in tribulations) be limited in scope to only specific type of tribulations—as in the afflictions that come about from sufferings caused directly by the believer’s profession of Christ as Lord? Some students in the class removed tribulations that come about from sinning because of καυχώμεθα addressing the tribulations; they similarly removed tribulations that come about from natural afflictions because no one should rejoice in having their legs cut off.
I don’t think this exegetical decision is viable.
The thrust of the passage seems to be that the θλίψεσιν (tribulation/affliction) isn’t empty; it yields results. That’s something that justified believers can now properly exult—not so much a happy rejoicing but a confidently joyful expectation, not because of our nature but the nature of God who does what He says. The exultation is then not only through the tribulations end goal but in the God who allows the tribulations, be it of accidents or chastisement of sin.
So for example, Joseph can exult that God meant for good what his brothers meant for evil; a tribulation which came through sin but was allowed, by God, to work an approved character which God knew it would bring about (Gen 50:20). David can exult that God will do rightly even as praying for mercy; tribulation which came through David’s sin, allowed by God, but wound up working an approved character just as God already knew (2 Sam 12:10-23).
We’re seeing the understanding of peace with the God who loved us made available by the eyes of faith (which doesn’t merit anything) reflected on our experience
This is one of the reasons I take this section as a culmination of the previous chapters (1-4). Paul similarly caps off the second section (Rom 5:12 – 8) with another excurses on the αγαπώσιν τoν θεoν (love of God) which remains inseparable from His people (Rom 8:26-39). The end goal is secured, God’s love is sure, therefore believers can be confident in the Now: knowing that even if they fall into sin and are chastised, God will ensure that they are made better; knowing that even if horrible catastrophe occurs, God will ensure that they are made better; and knowing that no matter what occurs, God will ensure that they are molded into the image of His beloved Son.