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"Hope, Part V" by Romans
Tonight, we will be continuing the Series on “Hope” that I began last month. I can sincerely tell you that this I have really been blessed by simply compiling the list of the occasions of the word, “hope.” I have seen this same thing also happen in other studies I have presented, but I think that this has been enhanced because of the word, itself. Formerly, when I thought of the word, “hope,” the Scripture that came to mind is found in Hebrews 6:19: “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul.”
That is such an amazing visual to me. When I think of an anchor, I think of the heavy iron or metallic device that is chained to a ship, and dropped deep into the water to the ocean floor to secure it when there are conditions such as wind or current that can cause the ship to drift. Another verse where this anchor of hope is applicable is found in Ephesians 4:14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
But because of this and other recent series I have done here and elsewhere, now when I think of hope, I also think of what we read about our former condition before we came to Christ. We read in Ephesians 2:12: “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Those who are without God are without hope. And, of course, that is true. Without God in your life you do not have a relationship with Him. You have no divine or spiritual guidance to direct you. You do not acknowledge a Creator. You do not acknowledge needing, much less having a Savior. You have no forgiveness of sins. You do not have hope.
Matthew Henry says of this, The apostle describes the misery of their case in several particulars, Eph_2:12. At that time, while you were Gentiles, and in an unconverted state, you were: 1. In a Christless condition, without the knowledge of the Messiah, and without any saving interest in him or relation to him. It is true of all unconverted sinners, all those who are destitute of faith, that they have no saving interest in Christ; and it must be a sad and deplorable thing for a soul to be without a Christ. Being without Christ, they were, 2. Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; they did not belong to Christ's church, and had no communion with it, that being confined to the Israelitish nation. It is no small privilege to be placed in the church of Christ, and to share with the members of it in the advantages peculiar to it. 3. They are strangers from the covenants of promise. The covenant of grace has ever been the same for substance, though, having undergone various additions and improvements in the several ages of the church, it is called covenants; and the covenants of promise, because it is made up of promises, and particularly contains the great promise of the Messiah, and of eternal life through him. Now the Ephesians, in their gentilism, were strangers to this covenant, having never had any information nor overture of it; and all unregenerate sinners are strangers to it, as they have no interest in it. Those who are without Christ, and so have no interest in the Mediator of the covenant, have none in the promises of the covenant.
4. They had no hope, that is, beyond this life - no well-grounded hope in God, no hope of spiritual and eternal blessings. Those who are with out Christ, and strangers from the covenant, can have no good hope; for Christ and the covenant are the ground and foundation of all the Christian's hopes. They were in a state of distance and estrangement from God: Without God in the world; not without some general knowledge of a deity, for they worshipped idols, but living without any due regard to him, any acknowledged dependence on him, and any special interest in him. The words are, atheists in the world; for, though they worshipped many gods, yet they were without the true God."
Let's move forward and begin to review our Scriptures for tonight. We will begin with 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17: How our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace: Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
Matthew Henry writes “In these words we have the apostle's earnest prayer for them, in which observe,
I. To whom he prays: Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father. We may and should direct our prayers, not only to God the Father, through the mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ, but also to our Lord Jesus Christ himself; and should pray in his name unto God, not only as his Father but as our Father in and through him.
II. From what he takes encouragement in his prayer - from the consideration of what God had already done for him and them: Who hath loved us, and given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Here observe, 1. The love of God is the spring and fountain of all the good we have or hope for; our election, vocation, justification, and salvation, are all owing to the love of God in Christ Jesus. 2. From this fountain in particular all our consolation flows. And the consolation of the saints is an everlasting consolation. The comforts of the saints are not dying things; they shall not die with them. The spiritual consolations God gives none shall deprive them of; and God will not take them away: because he love them with an everlasting love, therefore they shall have everlasting consolation.
3. Their consolation is founded on the hope of eternal life. They rejoice in hope of the glory of God, and are not only patient, but joyful, in tribulations; and there is good reason for these strong consolations, because the saints have good hope: their hope is grounded on the love of God, the promise of God, and the experience they have had of the power, the goodness, and the faithfulness of God, and it is good hope through grace; the free grace and mercy of God are what they hope for, and what their hopes are founded on, and not on any worth or merit of their own.
III. What it is that he asks of God for them - that he would comfort their hearts, and establish them in every good word and work. God had given them consolations, and he prayed that they might have more abundant consolation. There was good hope, through grace, that they would be preserved, and he prayed that they might be established: it is observable how comfort and establishment are here joined together. Note therefore, 1. Comfort is a means of establishment; for the more pleasure we take in the word, and work, and ways of God, the more likely we shall be to persevere therein.
And, 2. Our establishment in the ways of God is a likely means in order to comfort; whereas, if we are wavering in faith, and of a doubtful mind, or if we are halting and faltering in our duty, no wonder if we are strangers to the pleasures and joys of religion. What is it that lies at the bottom of all our uneasiness, but our unsteadiness in religion? We must be established in every good word and work, in the word of truth and the work of righteousness: Christ must be honoured by our good works and good words; and those who are sincere will endeavour to do both, and in so doing they may hope for comfort and establishment, till at length their holiness and happiness be completed.
1 Timothy 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;”
Adam Clarke writes, “Jesus Christ - our hope - Without Jesus, the world was hopeless; the expectation of being saved can only come to mankind by his Gospel. He is called our hope, as he is called our life, our peace, our righteousness, etc., because from him hope, life, peace, righteousness, and all other blessings proceed.”
Matthew Henry writes, Jesus Christ, who is our hope. Observe, Jesus Christ is a Christian's hope; our hope is in him, all our hope of eternal life is built upon him; Christ is in us the hope of glory. He calls Timothy his own son, because he had been an instrument of his conversion, and because he had been a son that served him, served with him in the gospel. Timothy had not been wanting in the duty of a son to Paul, and Paul was not wanting in the care and tenderness of a father to him."
Moving on, we read in Titus 1:2: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”
Adam Clarke writes of this, “In hope of eternal life - In expectation of a state of being and well being which should last through eternity, when time should be no more. This includes, not only the salvation of the soul and its eternal beatification, but also the resurrection of the body. This was a point but ill understood, and not very clearly revealed, under the Mosaic law; but it was fully revealed under the Gospel, and the doctrine illustrated by the resurrection and ascension of Christ.”
Matthew Henry writes, “In (or for) hope of eternal life. This is the further intent of the gospel, to beget hope as well as faith; to take off the mind and heart from the world, and to raise them to heaven and the things above. The faith and godliness of Christians lead to eternal life, and give hope and well-grounded expectation of it; for God, that cannot lie, hath promised it. It is the honour of God that he cannot lie or deceive: and this is the comfort of believers, whose treasure is laid up in his faithful promises. Here is the stability and antiquity of the promise of eternal life to the saints. God, who cannot lie, hath promised before the world began... How excellent then is the gospel, which was the matter of divine promise so early! how much to be esteemed by us, and what thanks due for our privilege beyond those before us! Blessed are your eyes, for they see”
As we move on, we read in Titus 2:13: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Alexander MacClaren writes, “THE HAPPY HOPE: THERE are two appearances spoken of in this context - the appearance of the grace of God that bringeth salvation, and parallel with that, though at the same time contrasted with it, as being in very important senses one in nature and principle, though diverse in purpose and diverse in manner, is what the Apostle here calls the glorious appearing of the great God.
Paul wrote, Looking for that blessed [or happy hope, even the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour, where you see he contrasts, even more sharply than our Bible makes him do, the past appearance of the grace, and the future appearance of the glory... And the attitude of the Christian soul towards it is to be that of glad expectation, watching the dawning east and ready to salute the sun. And yet further, this attitude of happy expectation of the glory is one chief object to be attained by the grace that has appeared. It came teaching,or rather (as the word more accurately means) disciplining, that we should live looking for that happy hope. My brother, the appearance of the glory will be the same - the making visible in human form of the light of throned and sovereign Deity. The one was incarnation; the other will be incarnation. The one was patent to mens' senses - so will the other be. The grace has appeared. The glory is to appear. Thy stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go. An historical fact, a bodily visibility, a manifestation of the divine nature and character in human form upon earth, and living and moving amongst men. As Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, 壮o unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. The two are strictly parallel. As the grace was visible in action by a Man among men, so the glory will be...
The hope is blessed; or as we have already remarked, the word happy may perhaps be substituted with advantage. Because it will be full of blessedness when it is a reality, therefore it is full of joy, while it is but a hope. The characteristics of that future manifestation of glory are not such that its coming is wholly and universally a joy. There is something terrible in the beauty, something menacing in the brightness. But it is worth noticing that, notwithstanding all that gathers about it of terror, all that gathers about it of awful splendour, all that is solemn and heart shaking in the thought of judgment and retribution for the past, the irreversible and irrevocable past, yet to Paul it was the very crown of all his expectations of, and the very shining summit of all his desires for, the future - that Christ should appear...
Dear brethren, let us not fling away the treasures of our hearts desires upon trifles and earth. Let us not set our hopes on that which is not, nor paint that misty wall that rings round our present with evanescent colours like the landscapes of a dream. We may have a hope which is a certainty, as sure as a history, as vivid as a present fact. Let us love and trust Him who has been manifested to save us from our sins, and in whom we behold all the grace and truth of God. If our eyes have learnt to behold and our hearts to love Him whom we have not seen, amid all the bewildering glares and false appearances of the present, our hopes will happily discern Him and be at rest, amid the splendours of that solemn hour when He shall come in His glory to render to every man according to His works...
With that hope the future, near or far, has no fears hidden in its depths. Without it, there is no real anchorage for our trembling hearts, and nothing to hold by when the storm comes. The alternative is before each of us, having no hope, or 鼠ooking for that blessed hope. God help us all to believe that Christ has come for me! Then I shall be glad when I think that Christ will come again to receive me unto Himself!
Titus 3:7: “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Matthew Henry writes, Here are the ends why we are brought into this new spiritual condition, namely, justification, and heirship, and hope of eternal life: That, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Justification in the gospel sense is the free remission of a sinner, and accepting him as righteous through the righteousness of Christ received by faith. In it there is the removing of guilt that bound to punishment, and the accepting and dealing with the person as one that now is righteous in God's sight. This God does freely as to us, yet through the intervention of Christ's sacrifice and righteousness, laid hold on by faith: By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified; but through the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all those that believe, whence we are said to be justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. God, in justifying a sinner in the way of the gospel, is gracious to him, and yet just to himself and his law, forgiveness being through a perfect righteousness, and satisfaction made to justice by Christ, who is the propitiation for sin, and not merited by the sinner himself. So it is here: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. It is by grace, as the spring and rise (as was said), though through the redemption that is in Christ as making the way, God's law and justice being thereby satisfied, and by faith applying that redemption.
By him (by Christ) all that believe are justified from all things from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses. Hence the apostle desires to be found in him, not having his own righteousness, which was of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Let us not trust therefore in our own righteousness or merit of good works, but in Christ's righteousness alone, received by faith for justification and acceptance with God. Inherent righteousness we must have, and the fruits of it in works of obedience; not however as our justifying righteousness before God, but as fruits of our justification, and evidences of our interest in Christ and qualification for life and happiness, and the very beginning and part of it; but the procuring of all this is by Christ, that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs. Observe, Our justification is by the grace of God, and our justification by that grace is necessary in order to our being made heirs of eternal life; without such justification there can be no adoption and sonship, and so no right of inheritance. Whoever received him (namely, Christ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to those that believed on his name. Eternal life is set before us in the promise, the Spirit works faith in us and hope of that life, and so are we made heirs of it and have a kind of possession of it even now; faith and hope bring it near, and fill with joy in the well-grounded expectation of it. The meanest believer is a great heir. Though he has not his portion in hand, he has good hope through grace, and may bear up under all difficulties. There is a better state in view. He is waiting for an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for him. How well may such comfort themselves with these words! And now all this gives good reason why we should show all meekness to all men, because we have experienced so much benefit by the kindness and love of God to us, and may hope that they, in God's time, may be partakers of the like grace as we are. And thus of the reasons of equal and gentle, meek and tender behaviour to wards others, from their own bad condition in time past, and the present more happy state into which they are brought, without any merit or deservings of their own, and whereinto by the same grace others may be brought also."
Hebrews 3:6: “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible says of, “if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. These words are not to be understood as a condition of the former assertion; nor is a final falling away from grace to be inferred from hence, for the supposition proves not such an inference, but the contrary; namely, that they that have true faith, hope, and confidence, shall keep them to the end; and therefore are the house of Christ: besides, the doctrine of apostasy is quite repugnant to the apostle's argument; according to which, Christ might have no house, and can have none till men have persevered: but the apostle's design is to give a word of exhortation to himself and others, to hold fast the confidence; and so the words are rather descriptive of the persons, who are the house of Christ; such who have a good hope, through grace, wrought in them, and can rejoice in hope of the glory of God; and can use freedom of speech and boldness at the throne of grace; and have an holy confidence of interest in the love of God, and salvation by Christ, and go on in the exercise of these graces to the end of their days.”
Matthew Henry writes, If we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope, firmly to the end; that is, if we maintain a bold and open profession of the truths of the gospel, upon which our hopes of grace and glory are built, and live upon and up to those hopes, so as to have a holy rejoicing in them, which shall abide firm to the end, notwithstanding all that we may meet with in so doing. So that you see there must not only be a setting out well in the ways of Christ, but a stedfastness and perseverance therein unto the end. We have here a direction what those must do who would partake of the dignity and privileges of the household of Christ. First, They must take the truths of the gospel into their heads and hearts. Secondly, They must build their hopes of happiness upon those truths. Thirdly, They must make an open profession of those truths. Fourthly, They must live so up to them as to keep their evidences clear, that they may rejoice in hope, and then they must in all persevere to the end. In a word, they must walk closely, consistently, courageously, and constantly, in the faith and practice of the gospel, that their Master, when he comes, may own and approve them."
Hebrews 6:11: “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:”
Adam Clarke writes, “To the full assurance of hope - 典he full assurance of faith, says Mr. Wesley, 途elates to present pardon; the full assurance of hope, to future glory: the former is the highest degree of Divine evidence that God is reconciled to me in the Son of his love; the latter is the same degree of Divine evidence, wrought in the soul by the same immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost, of persevering grace, and of eternal glory. So much as faith every moment beholds with open face, so much, and no more, does hope see to all eternity. But this assurance of faith and hope is not an opinion, not a bare construction of Scripture, but is given immediately by the power of the Holy Ghost, and what none can have for another, but for himself only. We must not misapprehend these excellent sayings of this eminent man. 1.) The person who has this full assurance of hope is he who not only knows and feels that his sins are forgiven through Christ Jesus, but also that his heart is purified from all unrighteousness, that the whole body of sin and death is destroyed, and that he is fully made a partaker of the Divine nature. As without holiness, complete, entire holiness, no man can see God: so, without this, none can scripturally or rationally hope for eternal glory; it being a contradiction to profess to have the full assurance of hope to enjoy a state and place for which the soul is conscious it is not prepared. 2.) All that is said here must be understood as still implying the absolute necessity of continuing in the same degree of grace from which this full assurance of hope is derived. This full assurance, therefore, does not imply that the man will absolutely persevere to the end; but that, if he do persevere in this same grace, he shall infallibly have an eternal glory. There is no unconditional perseverance in the Scripture, nor can there be such in a state of probation.”
Hebrews 6:18: “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible says, regarding “to lay hold on the hope set before us; by which is meant, not the grace of hope, but either heaven hoped for, or rather Christ the object of hope; who is not only set down at God's right hand, but is set forth in the Gospel and in the ordinances, both by the Spirit of God, and by the ministers of the word; that men may look and go to him, and trust and believe in him, to the saving of their souls; where he is in sight, near at hand, accessible to; the way to him is straightforward; and here he abides: and he is set before us to be laid hold upon, which intends an act of faith; which grace lays hold on the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ; and is done in a view of fulness and safety in him, and under a sense of danger otherwise; it supposes grace, and that in exercise and somewhat strong; and some degree of resolution and courage of faith, and the steadfastness and continuance of it; the soul determining, if it perishes it will perish here; and it shows that Christ and his grace are to be touched and laid hold upon by faith.”
And now let's take a closer look at the verse I used in the opening of tonight's Discussion, namely, Hebrews 6:19: “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”
Of this Matthew Henry writes, What use the people of God should make of their hope and comfort, that most refreshing and comfortable hope of eternal blessedness that God has given them. This is, and must be, unto them, for an anchor to the soul, sure and stedfast. Here, [1.] We are in this world as a ship at sea, liable to be tossed up and down, and in danger of being cast away. Our souls are the vessels. The comforts, expectations, graces, and happiness of our souls are the precious cargo with which these vessels are loaded. Heaven is the harbour to which we sail. The temptations, persecutions, and afflictions that we encounter, are the winds and waves that threaten our shipwreck. [2.] We have need of an anchor to keep us sure and steady, or we are in continual danger. [3.] Gospel hope is our anchor; as in our day of battle it is our helmet, so in our stormy passage through this world it is our anchor. [4.] It is sure and stedfast, or else it could not keep us so. First, It is sure in its own nature; for it is the special work of God in the soul. It is a good hope through grace; it is not a flattering hope made out of the spider's web, but it is a true work of God, it is a strong and substantial thing. Secondly, It is stedfast as to its object; it is an anchor that has taken good hold, it enters that which is within the veil; it is an anchor that is cast upon the rock, the Rock of ages. It does not seek to fasten in the sands, but enters within the veil, and fixes there upon Christ; he is the object, he is the anchor - hold of the believer's hope. As an unseen glory within the veil is what the believer is hoping for, so an unseen Jesus within the veil is the foundation of his hope; the free grace of God, the merits and mediation of Christ, and the powerful influences of his Spirit, are the grounds of his hope, and so it is a stedfast hope. Jesus Christ is the object and ground of the believer's hope, and so it is a stedfast hope. Jesus Christ is the object and ground of the believer's hope in several respects. 1. As he has entered within the veil, to intercede with God, in virtue of that sacrifice which he offered up without the veil: hope fastens upon his sacrifice and intercession. 2. As he is the forerunner of his people, gone within the veil, to prepare a place for them, and to assure them that they shall follow him; he is the earnest and first fruits of believers, both in his resurrection and in his ascension. 3. And he abides there, a high priest after the order of Melchisedec, a priest for ever, whose priesthood shall never cease, never fail, till he has accomplished its whole work and design, which is the full and final happiness of all who have believed on Christ. Now this should engage us to clear up our interest in Christ, that we may fix our hopes in him as our forerunner, that has entered thither for us, for our sakes, for our safety, to watch over our highest interest and concerns."
The last occasion of the word “hope” I will cite, tonight, is also the last time it is used in the Epistle to the Hebrews, Hebrews 7:19: “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”
Albert Barnes writes, “But the bringing in of a better hope did - Margin, But it was. The correct rendering is, probably, But there is the bringing in of a better hope, by which we have access to God. The Law could not effect this. It left the conscience guilty, and sin unexpiated. But there is now the introduction of a better system by which we can approach a reconciled God. The better hope here refers to the more sure and certain expectation of heaven introduced by the gospel. There is a better foundation for hope; a more certain way of obtaining the divine favor than the Law could furnish. By the which - By which better hope; that is, by means of the ground of hope furnished by the gospel, to wit, that God is now reconciled. and that we can approach him with the assurance that he is ready to save us. And, finally, Adam Clarke writes, “But the bringing in of a better hope - The original is very emphatic, and seems to be put in opposition to the preceding commandment, or former Levitical law. This went before to prepare the way of the Lord; to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the strict justice of God. The better hope, which referred not to earthly but to spiritual good, not to temporal but eternal felicity, founded on the priesthood and atonement of Christ, was afterwards introduced for the purpose of doing what the law could not do, and giving privileges and advantages which the law would not afford. One of these privileges immediately follows: - By the which we draw nigh unto God - This is a sacerdotal phrase: the high priest alone could approach to the Divine presence in the holy of holies; but not without the blood of the sacrifice, and that only once in the year. But through Christ, as our high priest, all believers in him have an entrance to the holiest by his blood; and through him perform acceptable service to God. The better hope means, in this place, Jesus Christ, who is the author and object of the hope of eternal life, which all his genuine followers possess. He is called our hope.
This concludes our Discussion, “Hope, Part 5.”
This Discussion was originally presented “live” on September 27th, 2017.
Wednesday night Bible study discussion archive. Feel free to view and comment on the studies posted here.
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