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Saved In Hope
Romans 8: 24
Paul's eyes were fastened on the coming glories which will make our ultimate salvation,
and he caught the word, hope, which he had used in passing (cf. 8: 20) to show
how we can bear all our present trials with patience.
This word, hope, occurs three times as a noun and twice as a verb in these two short verses
and drums itself into our minds.
Paul's object was to insist that the distinctive attitude of the children of God in the midst of all trial is that of hope.
That hope which is rooted in God Himself implies that there is far more to come than all that is in actual possession.
He used the word, hope, for the thing hoped for, just as he had used the word, creation, for the thing
created. (cf. 8: 19)
This passage defines what this thing is by its repeated reference to the prospect which is in store:
The first word, for, provides the link in Paul's line of thought:
- "The glory which shall be revealed in us." (8: 18)
- "The manifestation of the sons of God." (8: 19)
- "The glorious liberty of the children of God." (8: 21)
"The adoption, to wit, the redemption." (8: 23)
"For we are saved by hope."
Salvation is a term which may have reference to the past, the present, or the future:
The term in its total meaning includes all three facts,
- We have been saved from the guilt which sin entails.
- We are being saved from the power which sin exerts.
- We shall be saved from the taint which sin involves.
and it always implies the two distinct ideas of danger and rescue.
In the case of this verse, the verb must be explained in the light of its link with the idea of hope,
and a literal translation of the whole clause is of direct value:
"For we were saved in hope."
The word salvation, or saved, signifies all the benefits of our redemption – namely, remission of sins,
sanctification, and glorification.
The thought of the original – "For in hope were we saved"– says it as well as can be said in English.
The thought is not that he will attain to the future salvation by the instrumentality of hope.
Hope, in this respect, cannot be used in the place of faith.
Paul distinguishes the functions of faith and hope. (cf. 5: 1-5; 1 Corinthians 13: 13; Colossians 1: 5-7)
The uniform teaching of Paul, as of Scripture in general, is that we were saved by grace through faith.
(cf. 1: 16, 17; Ephesians 2: 8)
Hope is so closely allied to faith that sometimes in Scripture hope is taken for faith itself.
They are, however, distinct the one from the other.
By faith we believe the promises made to us by God; by hope we expect to receive
the good things which God has promised.
Faith has for its object the promise, and hope has for its object the thing promised
and the execution of the promise.
Faith regards its objects as present.
Hope regards them as future.
Faith precedes hope, and is its foundation.
We hope for life eternal because we believe the promises which God has made concerning it;
and, if we believe these promises, we must expect their effect.
Hope looks to eternal life as that which is future in regard to its remoteness, but in regard to its certainty,
faith looks to it as a thing that is present.
Hope is an aspect of faith according to the Biblical presentation of faith.
It will be perfectly safe to say that the soul of man, looking upward in faith, is conscious of perfect confidence.
The soul of man, looking onward in faith, is conscious of hope,
and the soul, looking around in faith, is conscious of peace.
Faith is an attitude of the soul.
Hope is the experience which that attitude creates with regard to the future.
"In hope" refers to the fact that the salvation bestowed in the past
and the salvation now in possession is characterized by hope.
Hope is an ingredient inseparable from the salvation possessed.
Salvation can never be divorced from the outlook and outreach which hope implies.
The term, hope, is used in two different senses -- the one proper and the other figurative.
Properly, it means the mixture of expectation and desire of that to which we look forward,
so that we are kept steadfast to one object, as it is said, "Hope is the anchor of the soul."
Figuratively, it signifies that which we hope for, as when God is called our hope:
"Thou art my hope, O Lord God." (Psalm 71: 5)
Also, "Jesus Christ, which is our hope." (1 Tim. 1: 1)
This is a word for days of stress and strain.
Hope comes to its brightest shining in the presence of the deepest darkness.
Hope is the salvation now in possession.
It is a salvation we now have in part, then... in full.
This is reflected in the consciousness of the believer in the expectancy of hope
directed to the redemption of the body.
Hope is a compound of desire and expectation.
Hope is not simple foresight or expectation because the foresight and the expectation
may be unworthy or sinful.
We never hope for misery -- for mistakes.
We hope for victory, love, and joy.
Hope draws pictures.
Hope fills the future with delights.
Then, having created them, hope brings them near and appropriates them.
Hope is progressive.
- Hope is a distinct and peculiar faculty and exists in different degrees in different persons.
- Hope is the spur of every effort -- the strength of every enterprise -- the stay of all endurance.
- Hope is the great impulse of all onward movement.
- Hope is the mainspring of progressive civilization.
- Hope is the instinct of mankind towards the amendment of every circumstance of life.
- Hope is essential to the vigor, the harmony, the welfare, and happiness of each separate human life.
It is the cherishing of the thought that a certain thing is possible.
It tends to form the idea that the possible is probable and that the probable is certain.
So, hope is a sense of expectation, of something desired, and not yet attained.
It is always anticipation with pleasure.
Hope is so sure about this coming glory that hope reckons it as obtained.
- Hope sees our salvation as all secured by the promise of grace.
- Hope expects the future mercies as surely as faith enjoys the present blessings.
- Hope sees the full harvest in the firstfruits when the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the body,
and hope concludes that the body will be delivered as surely as the soul.
It is like when you pay a down payment.
You perceive that the transaction is done and that the merchandise is yours.
So it is with heaven.
Jesus has gone to heaven to prepare a place for me, and He will come again and receive me to Himself.
Paul is so sure of it that he triumphs in it. (v. 37)
Paul adds that this hope has not yet been realized, that the very nature of hope
is that it should be more than one can observe.
This makes it clear that the hope in question is for adoption, the manifestation of the sons of God.
The object of this hope:
The thing for which we hope is the full and glorious salvation in which the Gospel reveals
- Our absolute perfection
- The redemption of the body (vs. 10, 11)
- Our eternal inheritance (v. 17)
- The glory which shall be revealed (v. 18)
- The glorious liberty of the children of God
- A manifestation of the sons of God
-- that must be an object of hope because it is bound up with a promise.
That promise is grounded in the absolute faithfulness of God Himself, but it has not yet been consummated.
It is certain -- though yet unseen.
It is valid -- though yet future.
This means that hope is an essential element in the "earnest expectation,"
which makes men strain forward to the "glorious liberty of the children of God." (8: 19, 21)
(2 Corinthians 4: 18)
"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."
The people of God should therefore rest their hope on the absolute promises of God,
which cannot fail, of blessings that are imperishable, and which are real.
The foundations and spirit of Christian hope are firm and certain.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but His Word shall remain forever.
God has promised heaven as the eternal inheritance of His people.
Who can doubt God's fidelity?
God has said, "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed;
but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed."
(Isaiah 54: 10)
He has accomplished His promise with His oath:
"Willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the commutability of His counsel;
that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong
consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." (Hebrews 6: 17)
We have the death of the Son of God, with which His promise has been sealed;
and His obedience even unto death, which He has rendered to His Father for the foundation of this hope.
We also have His resurrection and His ascension.
We have the intercession of our great High Priest, of whom Paul, in establishing the ground
of the assurance of faith and hope, says not only that He is dead, but that He is risen,
and at the right hand of God; Who also maketh intercession for us.
He also declares that our hope enters into heaven where Jesus our forerunner has entered for us.
To these foundations of our hope may be added, "Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of
promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession."
So, our hope is grounded upon the Word of God, the faithfulness of God,
and His power to carry out His own promise.
Therefore, it is a hope most sure and steadfast, which maketh no man ashamed who has it.
It is wrought in us by the Spirit of God -- ungodly men have no such hope.
"Christ, in you, that is the hope of glory."
While dependency depresses, hope sends a thrill of life through every fiber of our being.
For instance, if you tell a sick man that he has no chance of recovery, notice how rapidly
his condition disintegrates.
But, if you tell him there is hope, he revives.
The blood circulates through his veins with a vigor which all of the medicines in the world cannot inspire.
There were many times when hope revived Paul.
He tells us -- the hope of his calling, the hope of salvation, the hope of Israel, the hope of the glory of God,
the hope that his work would yet bear fruit, that blessed hope, the glorious reappearing of Christ
-- all these came to him in his moments of depression, like inspiration from heaven.
It is the same with us.
The hope of forgiveness and the hope of heaven breathes life into the dullest of us.
Those who stand by the sick through long nights can attest to this.
Without hope who could endure the endless anxieties?
Look at even the advocates of an unpopular cause and notice how hope sustains them.
Hope incites to active service.
If we wish to incite children to diligence, we use hope.
It incites the student, the workman, the merchant, the soldier, the artist, and the politician.
In fact, hope is the great mover of the human mind.
"Every man that hath this hope purifies himself even as He is pure."
Hope stimulates exertion.
There is nothing in the world so indolent as dependency, and nothing so paralyzing as discouragement.
Look at what a person can do with a goal in mind.
One victory, even a small victory gained over self, contains within it the germ of future victories.
"Experience worketh hope and hope maketh not ashamed."
The attitude of hope means that Christians put no confidence in themselves,
but look steadily beyond themselves to find the fulfillment of their own selves and actions in God.
The hope by which men are revived, sustained, or encited, is not from themselves.
They are inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel of Christ is a Gospel of hope.
That hope is an active, buoyant, cheerful reality in the experience of the hard-pressed pilgrim.
He will continue on his way in spite of all adversity as one who has learned
to "rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (5: 2)
Let us as believers renounce our vain hopes of happiness in this world.
We are strangers and pilgrims, and we are absent from our Lord.
Let us hope for His Presence and our communion with Him in glory.
As Paul has stated, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."
Let the good hope of grace tranquilize the soul.
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God." (Psalm 43: 5)
This hope consoles us in life and death.
It softens the bitterness of affliction, supports the soul in adversity,
and raises the affections to heavenly objects in prosperity.
It promotes our sanctification, for he who has this hope of beholding Jesus as He is,
purifieth himself even as He is pure. (1 John 3: 3)
God assures us that "to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord."
Hope is needed by those who are in the struggles of daily duty -- a person out of work
-- sickness -- mistakes -- in debt -- -- troubled relationships...
When this is happening in your life, open your heart to God for not even a sparrow falls from its nest
without His loving care.
How much more God loves you!
"I shall wear laughter on my lips
Though in my heart there is pain
God's sun is always bright after rain.
I shall go singing down my little way
Though in my breast the dull ache grows
The song birds come again after the snows.
I shall walk eager still for what life holds
Although it seems the hard road will not end
One never knows the beauty round the bend!"
-- Anna Blake Mezequide
"When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil."
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at firstname.lastname@example.org