"Hope, Part VIII"

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"Hope, Part VIII"

Post by Romans » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:08 pm

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“Hope, Part VIII,” by Romans

We are continuing in our Series, examining the categorized occurrances of the word “Hope.” As you may have seen on a scrolling banner, this is Hope, Part 8. In reviewing the remaining categories and verses we will be covering, I am projecting a total of 12 installments in order to complete this Series.
I am utilizing the category themes as presented in Torrey's Topical Textbook.

So, let us begin. First, tonight, we see that Hope Is the work of the Holy Spirit.
There are two verses that describe that. First in Romans 15:13 which says, “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.”

Matthew Henry writes, “Here is another prayer directed to God, as the God of hope; for spiritual blessings: these are the blest blessings, and to be first and chiefly prayed for.
I. Observe how he addresses himself to God, as the God of hope. It is good in prayer to fasten upon those names, titles, and attributes of God, which are most suitable to the errand we come upon, and will best serve to encourage our faith concerning it. Every word in the prayer should be a plea. Thus should the cause be skilfully ordered, and the mouth filled with arguments. God is the God of hope. He is the foundation on which our hope is built, and he is the builder that doth himself raise it: he is both the object of our hope, and the author of it. That hope is but fancy, and will deceive us, which is not fastened upon God (as the goodness hoped for, and the truth hoped in), and which is not of his working in us.

II. That they might abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost. The joy and peace of believers arise chiefly from their hopes. What is laid out upon them is but little, compared with what is laid up for them; therefore the more hope they have the more joy and peace they have. We do then abound in hope when we hope for great things from God, and are greatly established and confirmed in these hopes. Christians should desire and labour after an abundance of hope, such hope as will not make ashamed. This is through the power of the Holy Ghost. The same almighty power that works grace begets and strengthens this hope. Our own power will never reach it; and therefore where this hope is, and is abounding, the blessed Spirit must have all the glory.

Also, we read in Galatians 5:5: “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”

Albert Barnes writes, For we - We who are Christians. It is a characteristic of the true Christian.
Through the Spirit - The Holy Spirit. We expect salvation only by his aid.
Wait for - That is, we expect salvation in this way. The main idea is, not that of waiting as if the thing were delayed; it is that of expecting. The sense is, that true Christians have no other hope of salvation than by faith in the Lord Jesus. It is not by their own works, nor is it by any conformity to the Law. The object of Paul is, to show them the true nature of the Christian hope of eternal life, and to recall them from dependence on their conformity to the Law.
The hope of righteousness - The hope of justification. They had no other hope of justification than by faith in the Redeemer.

Building on the above, Matthew Henry writes, How in this case, if they submitted to circumcision in this sense, he declares {in previous verses} that Christ would profit them nothing, that they were debtors to do the whole law, that Christ had become of no effect to them, and that they were fallen from grace. From all these expressions it appears that thereby they renounced that way of justification which God had established; yea, that they laid themselves under an impossibility of being justified in his sight, for they became debtors to do the whole law, which required such an obedience as they were not capable of performing, and denounced a curse against those who failed in it, and therefore condemned, but could not justify them; and, consequently, that having thus revolted from Christ, and built their hopes upon the law, Christ would profit them nothing, nor be of any effect to them. Thus, as by being circumcised they renounced their Christianity, so they cut themselves off from all advantage by Christ; and therefore there was the greatest reason why they should stedfastly adhere to that doctrine which they had embraced, and not suffer themselves to be brought under this yoke of bondage. Note,

(1.) Though Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost, yet there are multitudes whom he will profit nothing.

(2.) All those who seek to be justified by the law do thereby render Christ of no effect to them. By building their hopes on the works of the law, they forfeit all their hopes from him; for he will not be the Saviour of any who will not own and rely upon him as their only Saviour. To persuade them to stedfastness in the doctrine and liberty of the gospel, he sets before them his own example, and that of other Jews who had embraced the Christian religion, and acquaints them what their hopes were, namely, That through the Spirit they were waiting for the hope of righteousness by faith. Though they were Jews by nature, and had been bred up under the law, yet being, through the Spirit, brought to the knowledge of Christ, they had renounced all dependence on the works of the law, and looked for justification and salvation only by faith in him; and therefore it must needs be the greatest folly in those who had never been under the law to suffer themselves to be brought into subjection to it, and to found their hopes upon the works of it. Here we may observe, 1. What it is that Christians are waiting for: it is the hope of righteousness, by which we are chiefly to understand the happiness of the other world. This is called the hope of Christians, as it is the great object of their hope, which they are above every thing else desiring and pursuing; and the hope of righteousness, as their hopes of it are founded on righteousness, not their own, but that of our Lord Jesus: for, though a life of righteousness is the way that leads to this happiness, yet it is the righteousness of Christ alone which has procured it for us, and on account of which we can expect to be brought to the possession of it.

How they hope to obtain this happiness, namely, by faith, that is, in our Lord Jesus Christ, not by the works of the law, or any thing they can do to deserve it, but only by faith, receiving and relying upon him as the Lord our righteousness. It is in this way only that they expect either to be entitled to it here or possessed of it hereafter...

Whence it is that they are thus waiting for the hope of righteousness: it is through the Spirit. Herein they act under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit; it is under his conduct, and by his assistance, that they are both persuaded and enabled to believe on Christ, and to look for the hope of righteousness through him. When the apostle thus represents the case of Christians, it is implied that if they expected to be justified and saved in any other way they were likely to meet with a disappointment, and therefore that they were greatly concerned to adhere to the doctrine of the gospel which they had embraced.”

The next category tells us how hope is obtained. First, hope Is obtained through grace. We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17: “Now 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.”

Adam Clarke writes, "Now our Lord Jesus - As all your grace came from God through Christ, so the power that is necessary to strengthen and confirm you unto the end must come in the same way.
Everlasting consolation - The glad tidings of the Gospel, and the comfort which ye have received through believing; a gift which God had in his original purpose, in reference to the Gentiles; a purpose which has respected all times and places, and which shall continue to the conclusion of time; for the Gospel is everlasting, and shall not be superseded by any other dispensation...

It is the last and best which God has provided for man; and it is good tidings, everlasting consolation - a complete system of complete peace and happiness. The words may also refer to the happiness which the believing Thessalonians then possessed.

And good hope through grace - The hope of the Gospel was the resurrection of the body, and the final glorification of it and the soul throughout eternity. This was the good hope which the Thessalonians had; not a hope that they should be pardoned or sanctified, etc. Pardon and holiness they enjoyed, therefore they were no objects of hope; but the resurrection of the body and eternal glory were necessarily future; these they had in expectation; these they hoped for; and, through the grace which they had already received they had a good hope - a well-grounded expectation, of this glorious state.

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 loves 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, (see 2Th_2:17). 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.”

Continuing in this category, Hope Is Obtained Through The Word.
We read in Psalms 119:81: “My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.”

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible says, “My soul fainteth for thy salvation, Either for temporal salvation and deliverance from enemies; which, being promised, was expected by him from the Lord; but not coming so soon as looked for, his spirits began to sink and faint: or for spiritual and eternal salvation, for a view of interest in it, for the joys and comforts of it, and for the full possession of is in heaven; and, particularly, for the promised Messiah, the author of it, often called the Salvation of God, because prepared and appointed by him to be the author of it: of him there was a promise, which gave the Old Testament saints reason to expect him, and for him they waited; his coming they earnestly wished for, but being long deferred, were sometimes out of heart, and ready to faint, which was here David's case...

“but I hope in thy word; the word of promise concerning deliverance and salvation, especially by the Messiah, which supported him, and kept him from fainting; that being firm and sure, for ever settled in heaven, and has the oath of God annexed to it, for the confirmation of it; and God is faithful that has promised, and is also able to perform; so that his word lays a solid foundation for faith and hope.”

The Treasury of David writes, “My soul fainteth for thy salvation." He wished for no deliverance but that which came from God, his one desire was for "thy salvation." But for that divine deliverance he was eager to the last degree, - up to the full measure of his strength, yea, and beyond it till he fainted. So strong was his desire that it produced prostration of spirit. He grew weary with waiting, faint with watching, sick with urgent need. Thus the sincerity and the eagerness of his desires were proved. Nothing else could satisfy him but deliverance wrought out by the hand of God, his inmost nature yearned and pined for salvation from the God of all grace, and he must have it or utterly fail.

'But I hope in thy word.' Therefore he felt that salvation would come, for God cannot break his promise, nor disappoint the hope which his own word has excited: yea, the fulfilment of his word is near at hand when our hope is firm and our desire fervent. Hope alone can keep the soul from fainting by using the smelling-bottle of the promise. Yet hope does not quench desire for a speedy answer to prayer; it increases our importunity, for it both stimulates ardour and sustains the heart under delays...

To faint for salvation, and to be kept from utterly failing by the hope of it, is the frequent experience of the Christian man. We are "faint yet pursuing." Hope sustains when desire exhausts. While the grace of desire throws us down, the grace of hope lifts us up again.”

Hope Is Obtained Through Patience and comfort of the Scriptures:
We read in Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Gill's Exposition writes, “the Scriptures are not only written for our present instruction, but for the ingenerating, encouraging, and establishing, an hope of eternal Life in another world; which they are the means of, under the influence of divine grace; since they give us a clear account of eternal life; of the promise of it in Christ; of its being procured by him, and secured in him; of the means of enjoying it, through his blood and righteousness; of the declarations of God's free grace and mercy to sinners, and of the various instances of persons who have been made partakers of it; all which encourage to hope in the Lord, and to rejoice in hope of the glory of God...

“believing we also may have and enjoy the thing hoped for, "through patience and comfort of the Scriptures"; both which are encouraged thereby: the "patience of the Scriptures" is not a stoical apathy, a stupid indolence; and is of a different kind from that patience the writings of the Heathen philosophers define and recommend: the Scripture gives an account of the true nature of patience, in bearing all sorts of evils for Christ's sake; of the excellency and usefulness of it; and do strongly exhort unto it upon the best principles, and with the best motives; and are full of promises to the exercise of it, and furnish out the best examples of suffering affliction, and patience: "the comfort of the Scriptures" is such as is not to be met with elsewhere...

“These writings abound with exceeding great and precious promises, and excellent doctrines, big with consolation to the saints; and both serve much to cherish, support, and maintain an hope of eternal happiness; all which prove the divine authority, excellency, and usefulness of the sacred writings, and recommend the reading of them by us, and the hearing of them explained by others.”

Matthew Henry writes, [1.] That which is written of Christ, concerning his self-denial and sufferings, is written for our learning; he hath left us an example. If Christ denied himself, surely we should deny ourselves, from a principle of ingenuousness and of gratitude, and especially of conformity to his image. The example of Christ, in what he did and said, is recorded for our imitation.

[2.] That which is written in the scriptures of the Old Testament in the general is written for our learning. What David had said in his own person Paul had just now applied to Christ. Now lest this should look like a straining of the scripture, he gives us this excellent rule in general, that all the scriptures of the Old Testament (much more those of the New) were written for our learning, and are not to be looked upon as of private interpretation. What happened to the Old Testament saint happened to them for ensample; and the scriptures of the Old Testament have many fulfillings. The scriptures are left for a standing rule to us: they are written, that they might remain for our use and benefit.

First, For our learning. There are many things to be learned out of the scriptures; and that is the best learning which is drawn from these fountains. Those are the most learned that are most mighty in the scriptures. We must therefore labour, not only to understand the literal meaning of the scripture, but to learn out of it that which will do us good; and we have need of help therefore not only to roll away the stone, but to draw out the water, for in many places the well is deep. Practical observations are more necessary than critical expositions...

Secondly, That we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. That hope which hath eternal life for its object is here proposed as the end of scripture-learning. The scripture was written that we might know what to hope for from God, and upon what grounds, and in what way. This should recommend the scripture to us that it is a special friend to Christian hope. Now the way of attaining this hope is through patience and comfort of the scripture. Patience and comfort suppose trouble and sorrow; such is the lot of the saints in this world; and, were it not so, we should have no occasion for patience and comfort...

But both these befriend that hope which is the life of our souls. Patience works experience, and experience hope, which maketh not ashamed. The more patience we exercise under troubles the more hopefully we may look through our troubles; nothing more destructive to hope than impatience. And the comfort of the scriptures, that comfort which springs from the word of God (that is the surest and sweetest comfort) is likewise a great stay to hope, as it is an earnest in hand of the good hoped for. The Spirit, as a comforter, is the earnest of our inheritance.

This concludes this Evening's Discussion, Hope, Part 8.

This Discussion was originally presented “live” on October 18th, 2017.

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