“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
“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.”
Romans. 15:4 & 13
Who in the world, who on earth has anything good to look forward to? I like to think of hope as happy expectation, or pleasant anticipation of good. The word deals mostly with the unseen future. Believers beloved of the Lord, should never be hopeless. The God of hope has written marvelous messages to our hearts that comforts, teaching us patience, producing and promoting an experimental hope. Ignorance and unbelief stand in the way of this reality.
God our Father is indeed the author and Jesus Christ is the object upon whom our hope is to be fixed. I Tim. 1:1. His redemptive cross and His resurrection is the ground upon which our hope is based. I Pet. 1:3, I Cor. 15:12-20, Rom. 4:25.
Through the comfort of the Scriptures we have Hope, for God’s Word tells us what to expect. The scriptural promises define Christian hope. By faith we may enter therein, and stay by the “Hope of the Gospel,” Col. 1:5,23. And be stirred by the “Hope of Glory” – Col. 1:27, Rom. 5:2, Titus 2:13. Paul prayed that the saints would know the hope of God’s calling, not only what God expects but also the wonderful prospects in store for those responding to the gospel call. Eph. 1:18. He also urged that the hope of our calling unite us. Eph. 4:4.
The believer’s hope is described in Scripture as “good” – II Thess. 2:16, “better” – Heb. 7:19, “Blessed” – Titus 2:13, and “living” – I Pet. 1:3. In the Old Testament, that which was written aforetime for our learning, teaches us to depend upon God, and His promises. “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” Ps. 119:49,81,114.
A well rounded hope is the resultant outcome of growth under daily pleasures such as expressed in Rom. 5:2-5, tribulation, patience, and experience. It greatly stimulates and strengthens our hope when we can see in the Scripture how these elements worked in those who truly trusted while being sorely tested. I think of the example of Abraham and Sarah. (“As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations) before him whom he believed, even God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope that he might become the father of many nations according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God: And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform.” Rom. 4:17-21.
Therefore Abraham learned by experience to count on Him that was able to call into existence that which didn’t exist. While facing great difficulty, impossibility, and knowing of both he and Sarah’s physical incapability, contrary to all human expectation, they counted on God to fulfill His promise. Heb. 11:11.
We read in Hebrews 6:15, “And so after he (Abraham) had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Hope finds its greatest expression in endurance under trial. Paul commends that “patience of hope,” wherein we await the coming of Christ. We are urged to be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises, and show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end. God’s word strongly encourages us who have fled to Him for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us, in fact is laid up for us in heaven. As we lay hold of that which is laid up, it stays and stabilizes us during the many storms of this earthly sojourn, anchoring our soul.
Hope in Christ, generally characterizes what sort of person we become, as well as the actions it produces. See I Pet. 3:15-16, II Pet. 3:11, such contains great purifying propensity and powers activated with faith and promoted by love. I John 3:1-3. Expecting Jesus’ return and our complete ultimate deliverance is indeed great protection for our minds in the most stressful times. I Thess. 5:8, I Pet. 3:13.
By being currently aware of the good of glory and grace that awaits us, serves to overcome depression and is the opposite of despair, or hopelessness. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Psa. 42:11.
“For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” Gal. 5:5. The hope of the righteous is not to become righteous, but describes what the righteous are to expect. That which pertains or belongs to the righteous is especially the believers complete conformity to God’s will at the coming of Christ.
At the beginning of this article we quoted Rom. 15:13, God the source, giver, fountain of hope has for us His wonderful qualities of joy and peace and he purposes to fill His children with these. The power of the Spirit has made us alive unto God. He makes these characteristics alive in us, filling us with abundant life. Therefore it is our privilege by the yieldedness of faith to make ourselves available, accessible for such wonderful infilling.
This provision has multiplied purposes, not the least of which is the imparting hope. Verse 4. Yet, it is important that we more than “have hope,” but rather abound therein! Our Father would have us looking ahead with contagious Holy Spirit inspired infused enthusiasm!! In the same way He floods our being with joy and peace, and saturates our hearts with love, He makes His trusting people abundantly expectant. He gives an overflowing supply making our whole life and outlook radiant with glorious, joyous expectation.