‘Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).’
What is this *’hope’ of which Paul writes in Romans and in his other epistles?
Paul didn’t want us to be ignorant (Romans 11:25), or in any doubt about our faith; for our hope is in Jesus who is at the heart of the **gospel of salvation. The mystery (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:9, 10) of that Hope was revealed to Paul, i.e., the gathering together of all things in Christ Himself who preached His gospel of salvation (John 11:26) and gave His life for it (John 3:16). Paul wanted all the churches to be inspired by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and to be equipped (Ephesians 4:12) for the preaching of this good news [gospel] to the whole world.
This Spirit-powered proclamation of hope was first manifested at Pentecost with the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) at the formation of the church. The apostle Peter boldly announced to those who had gathered together from many parts of the known world the message of this glorious hope. He said the gospel would be preached to the whole world. In the words of Jesus those assembled together would be witnesses to Him: ‘“in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).”’
The New Kingdom of Hope
God’s Scriptures inform us that He created the world (John 1:1-3) for this very purpose, to bring unto Himself a redeemed and precious ***people who would live with Him and His Father forever (Revelation 21:3, 4). This state of perfection (cf. Hebrews 7:11) is the hope He gives to all believers in His Son (John 3:36; 5:24; 6:47).
The Scriptures do not inform us in precise detail as to the nature of the new kingdom, but in the knowledge that God gives us of Himself through the revelation of His Son and through His Word and through His creation, our expectations will in no way match the reality which will be far more wonderful, awesome, beautiful and mind boggling than ever we could imagine. This is the most desirable life for which anyone could lust. We are told not to lust (cf. Exodus 20:17), but it is not a a sin to ardently desire to be in the presence of God. We can’t love Him enough for all that He has done for us and is doing for us and has in store for us.
The Good News of Hope
Because of the ****revelation of Himself and the good news of our salvation we worship Him. He is our hope. He is our all (Colossians 3:11). Although we may lack many things and find ourselves in extremely difficult situations – even some of our brothers and sisters in Christ who face death on account of their hope – we can’t stop praising God and giving Him the glory (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).
Our hope is summarised by Peter in the first chapter of his first Epistle, verse 3:
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.’
Paul also encourages us with these words:
‘For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope, because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of the corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:20, 21).’
‘Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance (Romans 8:23-25).’
‘For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Jesus Christ, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:4-6).’
Appropriately I’ll finish by quoting from Paul’s epistle to the Romans:
‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13).’
May this be our everyday realisation.
*Is there Hope Beyond Lawlessness?
*A Christian’s Hope
**Proclamation of the Gospel
***Biblical Perspective – God’s People
***The Redemption of God’s People
****The Mystery of God’s Progressive Revelation