"Hope, Part IX"

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"Hope, Part IX"

Post by Romans » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:58 pm

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“Hope, Part IX” by Romans

We are continuing our Series on the word “hope” which we began just as it appears in time order in Scripture. But now, we have slightly redefined our focus, examining “hope” as it has been categorized by the Torrey Topical Textbook. I have added to each verse, the very insightful commentaries of Matthew Henry, Alexander MacClaren, Albert Barnes, Adam Clarke and several others. I have also added, what I hope are, my own attempts to clarify, harmonize, synchronize the commentaries with the verses they describe. Having said all of that in the way of introduction, let's dive into tonight's categories:

First, tonight, we learn that
Hope Is Obtained Through the Gospel

We read in Colossians 1:3-5 and 21-23: “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” (21) “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.”

Matthew Henry writes, Observe what he gives thanks to God for - for the graces of God in them, which were evidences of the grace of God towards them: Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love you have to all the saints; for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven. Faith, hope, and love, are the three principal graces in the Christian life, and proper matter of our prayer and thanksgiving.

1.) He gives thanks for their faith in Christ Jesus, that they were brought to believe in him, and take upon them the profession of his religion, and venture their souls upon his undertaking.

2.) For their love. Besides the general love which is due to all men, there is a particular love owing to the saints, or those who are of the Christian brotherhood. We must love all the saints, bear an extensive kindness and good-will to good men, notwithstanding smaller points of difference, and many real weaknesses. Some understand it of their charity to the saints in necessity, which is one branch and evidence of Christian love.

3.) For their hope: The hope which is laid up for you in heaven, Col_1:5. The happiness of heaven is called their hope, because it is the thing hoped for, looking for the blessed hope, Tit_2:13. What is laid out upon believers in this world is much; but what is laid up for them in heaven is much more. And we have reason to give thanks to God for the hope of heaven which good Christians have, or their well-grounded expectation of the future glory. Their faith in Christ, and love to the saints, had an eye to the hope laid up for them in heaven. The more we fix our hopes on the recompence of reward in the other world, the more free and liberal shall we be of our earthly treasure upon all occasions of doing good.

The gospel is the word of truth, and what we may safely venture our immortal souls upon: it proceeds from the God of truth and the Spirit of truth, and is a faithful saying. He calls it the grace of God in truth, Col_1:6. 2. It is a great mercy to hear this word of truth; for the great thing we learn from it is the happiness of heaven. Eternal life is brought to light by the gospel. They heard of the hope laid up in heaven in the word of the truth of the gospel.

Which has come unto you, as it hath to all the world, and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you.
This gospel is preached and brings forth fruit in other nations; it has come to you, as it hath to all the world, according to the commission, Go preach the gospel in all the nations, and to every creature. Observe,

1.) All who hear the word of the gospel ought to bring forth the fruit of the gospel, that is, be obedient to it, and have their principles and lives formed according to it. This was the doctrine first preached: Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. And our Lord says, If you know these things, happy are you if you do them. Observe,

2.) Wherever the gospel comes, it will bring forth fruit to the honour and glory of God."

The Preacher's Homiletical writes,

I. Man's final blessedness depends upon his unchanging adherence to the gospel hope. The gospel reveals a bright future. It inspires the hope of the resurrection of the body, and of the glorification of it and the soul together in the eternal life of the future. Faith and hope are inseparably linked together; they mutually succour and sustain each other; they rise or fall together. Hope is the unquestioning expectation of the fruition of those things which we steadily believe. It is compared to an anchor, which, cast within the veil, fastened and grounded in heaven, holds our vessel firm and steady amid the agitations and storms of life's tempestuous sea. The gospel is the only source of genuine, deathless hope; all hopes grounded elsewhere wither and perish. The gospel to be effectual must come in contact with the individual mind. Which ye have heard. Epaphras had declared to them the divine message. It had been brought to them; they had not sought it. Having heard and received the gospel, to relinquish its blessings would be inexcusable and ungrateful. In some way, either by direct preaching or otherwise, the gospel must come to man. There is no power of moral reformation in the human heart itself; the germinant principle of a better life must come from without; it is conveyed in the gospel word...

II. The gospel is adapted to universal man. Which was preached to every creature which is under heaven. Already it had spread into every part of the then known world, and its power was felt in every province of the Roman empire. The fine prophetic instinct of the apostle saw the universal tendency of the gospel, and, in spirit, anticipated the fulfilment of its generous mission. His motive is to emphasise the universality of the unchangeable gospel which is offered without reserve to all alike, and to appeal to its publicity and progress as the credential and guarantee of its truth. It is adapted to all men; it proclaims its message in all lands, and is destined to win the world to Christ. The faith and hope of the believer are based, not upon the uncertain declarations of false teachers, but upon that gospel, which is unchangeable in its character and universal in its appeal and adaptability to humanity; a strong reason is thus furnished for personal steadfastness.”

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible writes, "If ye continue in the faith,.... In the doctrine of faith which they had received and embraced; and in the grace of faith, and the exercise of it which was implanted in them; and in the profession of faith which they had made: not that the virtue and efficacy of Christ's blood, sufferings, and death, and reconciliation of their persons to God thereby, depended upon their faith, and abiding in it; but that faith and continuance in it were necessary means of their presentation in unblemished holiness and righteousness; for if they had not faith, or did not abide in it or if the good work of grace was not wrought upon their souls, and that performed until the day of Christ, they could not be presented holy and blameless. This shows the necessity of the saints' final perseverance in faith and holiness, and is mentioned with this view, to put them upon a concern about it, and to make use of all means, under divine grace, to enjoy it; and nothing could more strongly incline and move unto it, than the blessed effect of Christ's death, reconciliation and the end of it, to present the reconciled ones blameless; in order to which it is necessary they should hold on and out to the end: hence the Ethiopic version reads the words, not as a condition, but as an exhortation enforced by what goes before; "therefore be ye established in the faith": It follows, grounded and settled; not on the sandy foundation of man's own righteousness, and peace made by his own performances; but upon the foundation and rock, Christ, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail; and so shall never finally and totally fall away, being rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith of him, in the doctrines of faith, respecting peace by his blood, justification by his righteousness, and life by his death; and so continue steadfast and immovable, always abounding in his work: And be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel; the hope of eternal life and happiness, which as set before us in the Gospel; which that gives a good and solid ground and foundation of, in the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ; and is the instrumental means, in the hand of the Spirit, of begetting to it, and of encouraging and increasing it: the law gives no hopes of eternal life to a poor sinner; it works wrath, and ministers death; there is nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment by it; but the Gospel encourages to hope in the Lord, from the consideration of rich mercy and plenteous redemption in him; and this hope of the Gospel is an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, and not to be let go; this confidence and rejoicing of the hope is to be kept firm unto the end."

Let's move on to our next category
Hope Is Obtained Through Faith

First, we read in Romans 5:1-2: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Matthew Henry writes, We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Besides the happiness in hand, there is a happiness in hope, the glory of God, the glory which God will put upon the saints in heaven, glory which will consist in the vision and fruition of God.

1. Those, and those only, that have access by faith into the grace of God now may hope for the glory of God hereafter. There is no good hope of glory but what is founded in grace; grace is glory begun, the earnest and assurance of glory. He will give grace and glory.

2. Those who hope for the glory of God hereafter have enough to rejoice in now. It is the duty of those that hope for heaven to rejoice in that hope. We glory in tribulations also; not only notwithstanding our tribulations (these do not hinder our rejoicing in hope of the glory of God), but even in our tribulations, as they are working for us the weight of glory. There are more instances of our happiness - we glory in tribulations also, especially tribulations for righteousness' sake, which seemed the greatest objection against the saints' happiness, whereas really their happiness did not only consist with, but take rise from those tribulations... They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer, as we read in Acts 5:41 of the apostles being beaten for preaching Christ.

How come we to glory in tribulations? Why, because tribulations, by a chain of causes, greatly befriend hope, which he shows in the method of its influence.

1. Tribulation worketh patience, not in and of itself, but the powerful grace of God working in and with the tribulation. It proves, and by proving improves, patience, as parts and gifts increase by exercise. It is not the efficient cause, but yields the occasion, as steel is hardened by the fire. See how God brings meat out of the eater, and sweetness out of the strong. That which worketh patience is matter of joy; for patience does us more good than tribulations can do us hurt. Tribulation in itself worketh impatience; but, as it is sanctified to the saints, it worketh patience.

2. Patience works experience. It works an experience of God, and the songs he gives in the night; the patient sufferers have the greatest experience of the divine consolations, which abound as afflictions abound. It works an experience of ourselves. It is by tribulation that we make an experiment of our own sincerity, and therefore such tribulations are called trials. Thus Job's tribulation wrought patience, and that patience produced an approbation, that still he holds fast his integrity.

3. Experience works hope. He who, being thus tried, comes forth as gold, will thereby be encouraged to hope. This experiment, or approbation, is not so much the ground, as the evidence, of our hope, and a special friend to it. Experience of God is a prop to our hope; he that hath delivered doth and will. Experience of ourselves helps to evidence our sincerity.

4. This hope maketh not ashamed; that is, it is a hope that will not deceive us.
There is a second verse to this category in Galatians 5:5: “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”

Adam Clarke writes, For we, Christians, through the Spirit - Through the operation of the Holy Ghost, under this spiritual dispensation of the Gospel, wait for the hope of righteousness - expect that which is the object of our hope, on our being justified by faith in Christ. Righteousness may here, as in many other places of St. Paul's epistles, mean justification, and the hope of justification, or the hope excited and inspired by it, is the possession of eternal glory; for, says the apostle. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God - and rejoice in Hope of the Glory of God...

“But, as this glory is necessarily future, it is to be waited for; but this waiting, in a thorough Christian, is not only a blessed expectation, but also a continual anticipation of it. This is no fanciful derivation; it exists in the experience of every genuine Christian; he is continually anticipating or receiving foretastes of that glory, the fullness of which he expects after death. Thus they are receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls.”

The Preacher's Homiletical writes, Christianity as a spiritual force is superior to external rites. It bases the hope of righteousness on faith. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Look on this picture and on that. Yonder are the Galatians, all in tumult about the legalistic proposals, debating which of the Hebrew feasts they shall celebrate and with what rites, absorbed in the details of Mosaic ceremony, all but persuaded to be circumcised and to settle their scruples out of hand by a blind submission to the law. And here on the other side is Paul with the Church of the Spirit, walking in the righteousness of faith and the communion of the Holy Spirit, joyfully awaiting the Saviour's final coming and the hope that is laid up in heaven.

How vexed, how burdened, how narrow and puerile is the one condition; how large, lofty, and secure the other! Faith has its great ventures; it has also its seasons of endurance, its moods of quiet expectancy, its unweariable patience. It can wait as well as work (Findlay). 2. Faith is a spiritual exercise revealing itself in active love. Faith worketh by love. In Gal_5:5 we have the statics of the religion of Christ; in Gal_5:6 its dynamics. Love is the working energy of faith. In the presence of an active spiritual Christianity, animated by love to Christ and to men, ritualism diminishes into insignificance. Love gives faith hands and feet; hope lends it wings. Love is the fire at its heart, the life-blood coursing in its veins; hope the light that gleams and dances in its eyes.


Next, in expanding our view to include the next three verses beyond what we just saw, we find that
Hope is the result of experience.

Romans 5:1-5: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Matthew Henry writes: “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Besides the happiness in hand, there is a happiness in hope, the glory of God, the glory which God will put upon the saints in heaven, glory which will consist in the vision and fruition of God. 1. Those, and those only, that have access by faith into the grace of God now may hope for the glory of God hereafter. There is no good hope of glory but what is founded in grace; grace is glory begun, the earnest and assurance of glory. He will give grace and glory, Psalms 84:11 which says, For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. 2. Those who hope for the glory of God hereafter have enough to rejoice in now. It is the duty of those that hope for heaven to rejoice in that hope.

Continuing, "We glory in tribulations also; not only notwithstanding our tribulations (these do not hinder our rejoicing in hope of the glory of God), but even in our tribulations, as they are working for us the weight of glory, as we read in 2 Corinthians 4:17: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Observe, What a growing increasing happiness the happiness of the saints is: Not only so. One would think such peace, such grace, such glory, and such a joy in hope of it, were more than such poor undeserving creatures as we are could pretend to; and yet it is not only so: there are more instances of our happiness - we glory in tribulations also, especially tribulations for righteousness' sake, which seemed the greatest objection against the saints' happiness, whereas really their happiness did not only consist with, but take rise from. those tribulations.
They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer. This being the hardest point, he sets himself to show the grounds and reasons of it. How come we to glory in tribulations? Why, because tribulations, by a chain of causes, greatly befriend hope, which he shows in the method of its influence.

1. Tribulation worketh patience, not in and of itself, but the powerful grace of God working in and with the tribulation. It proves, and by proving improves, patience, as parts and gifts increase by exercise. It is not the efficient cause, but yields the occasion, as steel is hardened by the fire. See how God brings meat out of the eater, and sweetness out of the strong. That which worketh patience is matter of joy; for patience does us more good than tribulations can do us hurt. Tribulation in itself worketh impatience; but, as it is sanctified to the saints, it worketh patience.

2. Patience experience. It works an experience of God, and the songs he gives in the night; the patient sufferers have the greatest experience of the divine consolations, which abound as afflictions abound. It works an experience of ourselves. It is by tribulation that we make an experiment of our own sincerity, and therefore such tribulations are called trials. Thus Job's tribulation wrought patience, and that patience produced an approbation {or, commendation}, that still he holds fast his integrity.

Experience hope. He who, being thus tried, comes forth as gold, will thereby be encouraged to hope. This experiment, or approbation, is not so much the ground, as the evidence, of our hope, and a special friend to it. Experience of God is a prop to our hope; he that hath delivered doth and will. Experience of ourselves helps to evidence our sincerity. 4. This hope maketh not ashamed; that is, it is a hope that will not deceive us. Nothing confounds more than disappointment. Everlasting shame and confusion will be caused by the perishing of the expectation of the wicked, but the hope of the righteous shall be gladness.

Let's notice that hope of the righteous in three specific places that are cross-referenced in the Commentary: First in Proverbs 10:28: The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
Psalms 22:5: They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
Psalms 71:1: In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.

Continuing, “It maketh not ashamed of our sufferings. Though we are counted as the offscouring of all things, and trodden under foot as the mire in the streets, yet, having hopes of glory, we are not ashamed of these sufferings. It is in a good cause, for a good Master, and in good hope; and therefore we are not ashamed. We will never think ourselves disparaged by sufferings that are likely to end so well. Because the love of God is shed abroad. This hope will not disappoint us, because it is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of love. It is the gracious work of the blessed Spirit to shed abroad the love of God in the hearts of all the saints. The love of God, that is, the sense of God's love to us, drawing out love in us to him, again. Or, The great effects of his love: (1.) Special grace; and, (2.) The pleasant gust or sense of it. It is shed abroad, as sweet ointment, perfuming the soul, as rain watering it and making it fruitful. The ground of all our comfort and holiness, and perseverance in both, is laid in the shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts; it is this which constrains us. Thus are we drawn and held by the bonds of love. Sense of God's love to us will make us not ashamed, either of our hope in him or our sufferings for him.”

Next we learn that, A better hope was brought in by Christ
We read in 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, “For the law made nothing perfect - The Levitical, ceremonial law. It did not produce a perfect state; it did not do what was desirable to be done for a sinner. That Law, as such, did not reconcile man to God; it did not make an atonement: it did not put away guilt; in one word, 妬t did not restore things to the condition in which they were before the Law was broken and man became a sinner. If man were saved under that system - as many undoubtedly were - it was not in virtue of any intrinsic efficacy which it possessed, but in virtue of that great sacrifice which it typified.

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.
This is called peace, because,

(1) The sinner is represented as the enemy of God in all of the following verses: Romans_8:7; Ephesians_2:16; James_4:4; Joh_15:18, John_15:24; John_17:14; Romans_1:30. When this is posted in the Forum in a few days, it would be a good thing for all of you to go back and research these verses. Even if you just want to read them, hold you cursor over them on the Forum page, and the verse should appear. (At least it did in the Old Forum). Otherwise, just get your Bible, look them up, and see if there are any commentary footnotes in your Bible regarding them. Besides the sinner being represented in Scripture as God's enemy...

(2) The state of a sinner’s mind is far from peace. He is often agitated, alarmed, trembling. He feels that he is alienated from God. For, “The wicked are like the troubled sea. For it never can be at rest; Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” The sinner in this state regards God as his enemy. He trembles when he thinks of his Law; fears his judgments; is alarmed when he thinks of hell. His bosom is a stranger to peace. This has been felt in all lands, alike under the thunders of the Law of Sinai among the Jews; in the pagan world; and in lands where the gospel is preached. It is the effect of an alarmed and troubled conscience.

(3) The plan of salvation by Christ reveals God as willing to be reconciled. He is ready to pardon, and to be at peace. If the sinner repents and believes, God can now consistently forgive him, and admit him to favor. It is therefore a plan by which the mind of God and of the sinner can become reconciled, or united in feeling and in purpose. The obstacles on the part of God to reconciliation, arising from his justice and Law, have been removed, and he is now willing to be at peace. The obstacles on the part of man, arising from his sin, his rebellion, and his conscious guilt, may be taken away, and he can now regard God as his friend.

4) The effect of this plan, when the sinner embraces it, is to produce peace in his own mind. He experiences peace; a peace which the world gives not, and which the world cannot take away. This is presented in Scripture in Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The Sermon Bible says of this: “The Peace of God. Let us consider the two ideas suggested by the statement that this peace is the peace of God, and that it passeth all understanding; that is, we propose looking at its nature and its greatness, its Divine source, and its incomprehensible character.

I. The nature of this peace is such that it is denominated the "peace of God." For this we assign the following reasons:

(1) Because it is that for which God made man at first; it is the realisation of His original idea of the happiness of humanity.

(2) To this general statement you might add that religious blessedness, as now experienced by humanity, is denominated the peace of God because it is the result of His merciful interposition for man as well as the realisation of His original ideas respecting him.

(3) The blessedness of the spiritual life in man is denominated the peace of God because, in addition to its including restoration to the happiness for which God originally designed him and the possession of that which God supernaturally provided for by the Gospel, it is that which is immediately produced by God’s Spirit, and is thus in some degree of the nature of a direct Divine donation.

(4) It might be said perhaps, in the last place, that religious peace is the peace of God because it is sustained, nourished, and enlarged by those acts and exercises, private and public, which bring the soul into contact with God. T. Binney, King’s Weighhouse Chapel Sermons, p. 106.

Continuing, “Usually in the work of conversion to God, this peace is the first evidence that is felt of the change of heart. Before, the sinner was agitated and troubled. But often suddenly, a peace and calmness is felt, which is before unknown. The alarm subsides; the heart is calm; the fears die away, like the waves of the ocean after a storm. A sweet tranquillity visits the heart - a pure shining light, like the sunbeams that break through the opening clouds after a tempest. The views, the feelings, the desires are changed; and the bosom that was just before filled with agitation and alarm, that regarded God as its enemy, is now at peace with him, and with all the world.”
Jesus said in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The Peace of God is just one of the many things that only God can offer, because only He can deliver on those Promises. And, for those things that are yet future events and blessings, we hope for their appearance: The Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 1:7), The Kingdom of God being established in Jerusalem with Christ reigning as King over all the earth (Zechariah 14:16) , the Resurrection of the Just (Acts 24:15), this mortal putting on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53), and our reigning with Christ on the earth as kings and priests (Revelation 5:10), the end of war and crime (Micah 4:3-4), the end of global starvation (Amos 9:13), and the end of false religion (Isaiah 11:9). There are so many things... so many good things just on the horizon. These are things that we hope for... not fleetingly or wistfully because we are afraid that they will not appear. Rather, we hope for those things that we know will come to pass. That hope is the anchor of our souls because it is impossible for our God to lie (Hebrews 6:18-19).

This concludes this Evening's Discussion, “Hope, Part IX.”

If this Series has provided one-tenth of the inspiration and edification in hearing and/or reading it as it has given me in preparing it for you, my time here will have been well worth my effort. I have truly been blessed in reviewing the occasions of the word, “Hope” as we find it in Scripture. This is why I return as often as I do to Bible Studies where a single word is reviewed throughout Scripture. The Bible teaches essential and life-giving concepts, but they are scattered throughout its pages. It is only when we assemble all of these thoughts, look at them all in a single glance, and magnify their meanings through the inspiring commentaries that are available to us, that God powerfully speaks to us.

This Discussion was originally presented “live” on October 25th, 2017

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