SAVED IN HOPE
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans is a profound portion of Holy Scripture filled with lofty themes that challenge the mind and thrill the soul. Chapter eight emphasizes the idea of being in Christ. The first verse affirms that there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” and the last verse assures us that absolutely nothing “shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Between the two, Paul announces that those in Christ enjoy the blessing of hope for their eternal soul.
Hope causes one to have a confident expectation of something that will take place in the future. Holman’s Bible Dictionary says, “hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future.” Everyone is aware that this life will end in death. Only the child of God has hope beyond the grave. Let us notice three things from our text concerning that hope.
PROMISE OF HOPE
There are a great many things that we hope for in this world but are often disappointed. How comforting it is to know that the salvation of our soul is backed by the promise of God. In Romans 8:24, Paul states very matter-of-fact, “For* we were saved in hope; but hope which is seen, is not hope; for* why does anyone hope for what he sees?” Those who neglect the will of God and walk after the flesh can have no confidence, or comfort in view of eternity, but the Christian lives in hope. Let us make the following observations concerning this hope.
Assurance From God. The Christian hope is founded upon the promise of God Himself. Concerning that, the Apostle Paul said that we are “upon the hope of everlasting life, which God, who is incapable of lying, promised before times everlasting.” (Titus 1:2). The Hebrew writer stated, “But we are desiring each of you* to show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope even to the end;” (Heb. 6:11). The Christian’s hope of eternal life is backed by the full assurance of God who gave His Son to die for our sins.
“My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ,
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the Solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.”
Abide In Hope. Having the assurance from God we can now abide in hope. Each day may be lived free from fear and dread of disaster and death. “But these three are remaining now: faith, hope, love* , and the greater of these is love* ” (1 Corinthians. 13:13). As long as we abide upon this earth, so does hope.
Abound In Hope. “Now the God of hope may fill you* with all joy and peace in believing, * that* you* may abound in hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13). We do not just exist in hope. Rather, the Bible says that we may abound in hope.
Anchor Of Our Soul. “that* through two unchangeable matters, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge, to take-hold of the hope that lays before us. This hope which we have as an anchor of the soul, is both secure and steadfast and entering into the inner side of the curtain;” (Heb. 6:18-19). Hope is that which provides stability and steadfastness to our lives. Without it, we wander aimlessly and helplessly across life’s stormy sea.
Answer Of Hope. “but sanctify the Lord God in your* hearts, and be prepared habitually to make a defense to everyone who is asking you* for a reason concerning the hope which is in you* , with meekness and fear;” (1 Pet. 3:15). Concerning that hope, Peter indicates that there will be those who observe the hope we possess and inquire about it. We must be ever ready to share that hope through the gospel.
In our text, Paul goes on to say, “For* we were saved in hope; but hope which is seen, is not hope; for* why does anyone hope for what he sees” (Rom. 8:24)? Hope does not look to the past, or the present, but to the future. It is an anticipation of something to come. We hope for that which is yet to be.
Nature of Hope – Unseen. Paul stated that, “hope that is seen is not hope.” The word seen here refers to those things that we experience. For example, those who lived during the depression saw many hard times. That is,
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they experienced what it was like to be poor. Someone might say, “I’ve seen better days!”
We do not hope for those things that we have already experienced. We hope for those things that have not yet become a reality. When the Lord returns and we hear those words, “Then the King will say to those at his right, Come-here, those who have been blessed from my Father, inherit the kingdom which has been prepared for you* from the conception of the world:” (Mt. 25:34), then our hope will become reality.
No Hope – Unsaved. It would seem very unlikely that one could have a proper appreciation of hope in Christ without considering the fact that those without Christ are without hope. “But we do not wish you* , brethren, to be ignorant concerning those who have fallen-asleep; in order that you* may not be sorrowful like the rest who have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13). Paul reminded the Ephesians that, in the past, they had been without hope. “that you* were in that time separate from Christ, having been alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers from the covenants* of the promise, having no hope and godless in the world. 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you* who were previously from afar have become near to him in the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:12-13). Without Christ, we are unsaved and without hope for our eternal soul.
PATIENCE OF HOPE
In Romans 8:25 Paul says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, then we are waiting for it through endurance.” By its very nature, hope requires patience. In the presence of hope, there is eagerness, desire, and anticipation of things to come. The child of God daily anticipates that time when “the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his messengers, and then he will give to each one according to his practice.” (Matthew 16:27). In the meantime, hope requires the following three things.
Waiting. Paul said, “then do we with patience wait for it.” Our hope is focused upon that great resurrection day when every grave shall be emptied (John. 5:28-29), we shall receive a new body (Philippians 3:21) and be ushered into heaven to be presented to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24). “But not only they, but we ourselves also who have the first-fruit of the Spirit, even we ourselves are groaning in ourselves, waiting for our sonship, that is, the
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redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23), there are many things that can discourage, disappoint, and detour us from the path of righteousness. Paul experience that discouragement and then concluded, “For* I reason that the sufferings of this current time are not worthy in comparison to the glory which is about to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18). While we are waiting, we are reminded that “after this life with all its strife; heaven will surely be worth it all.”
Watching. While we are waiting, we must also be watching. After teaching the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus said, “Therefore watch, because you* do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13). If we are not careful, we may be caught unprepared when the Lord returns (Revelation 2:3; 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:5).
Working. Exercising the patience involved in hope not only requires waiting and watching, but also working. After Jesus stressed the importance of watching in the parable of the virgins, He emphasized the necessity of working in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). He rewarded those who diligently worked to multiply their talents, then condemned the one talent man, calling him a “wicked and slothful (lazy) servant” (26).
Paul said to the Corinthians, “So-then my beloved brethren, become grounded, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your* labor is not empty in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). To the Thessalonians he associated working in love with our patience of hope. “constantly remembering your* work of the faith, and labor of love* , and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father,” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).
As Christians, let us never lose sight of the hope of our salvation. Let us patiently wait for the Lord’s gloriously appearing, “in the body of his flesh through death, to present you* holy and unblemished and irreproachable in his sight; 1:23 if actually you* are abiding in the faith, having been founded and grounded and not being moved away from the hope of the goodnews which you* heard, which was preached in all creation which is under heaven; of which I, Paul, became a servant.” (Colossians 1:22-23).
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