"Hope, Part XI"

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"Hope, Part XI"

Post by Romans » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:18 am

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“Hope, Part XI” by Romans

We are continuing in our categorized examination of the word “hope” presented in Torrey's Topical Textbook. As we move forward in the list provided there, Torrey's next lists those things that “hope” accomplishes in the life of the Christian believer.

Hope Makes not ashamed. We read in Romans 5:5: “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.”

The Preacher's Holimletical tells us of this: “The love of God has been poured forth as in a stream (Wordsworth).
A hope without shame.—The Christian never finds this world to be his rest. But he has a hope full of immortality. This enlightens his darkness and alleviates his sorrow. Like a helmet, it guards in the day of battle; like an anchor, it secures in the storms of adversity; like a pleasing companion, it travels with him through all the tediousness of the world, and reminds him of the rest that remains for the people of God. Let us consider the excellency and the evidence of this hope. Let us I. Show how it preserves from shame; and II. Ascertain its connection with the love of God.
I. We may take three views of this hope, and oppose it to the hope of the worldling, of the Pharisee, and of the antinomian. Hope causes shame by the insufficiency of its object—and this is the hope of the worldling; by the weakness of its foundation—and this is the hope of the Pharisee; by the falseness of its warrant—and this is the hope of the antinomian. The hope of the Christian has the noblest object, the surest foundation, the clearest warrant; and thus it maketh not ashamed.

1. Hope may cause shame by the insufficiency of its object. Ofttimes men of the world never reach the mark; and when they do, they are disappointed. What they gain does not indemnify for the sacrifices they have made.
Look forward and ask, What does the worldling think as he lays down all his honours, all his riches, on this side of the grave? What does Alexander now think of his bloody trophies? What does Herod now think of killing James and condemning Peter because “it pleased the people”? What does Judas think of his thirty pieces of silver? The crowned votaries of the world seem to be happy, and are envied; but it is only by the foolish and ignorant who know them not. Sometimes they say, We are not happy, and it is not in the power of these things to satisfy our desires. On this dark ground we bring forward the Christian to advantage. The object of his hope is the greatest good a creature can possess. When we propose this hope we exclude every evil we feel or fear. Think of “the house not made with hands,” etc., and the “innumerable company of angels” as the objects of his hope—the blessed hope of being like Christ and dwelling with Him evermore. The Christian need not shrink from a comparison with philosophers, princes, heroes. He leads a sublime life, and takes a grander aim. If shame could enter heaven, he would be ashamed to think that the objects of this hope engrossed so little of his attention.

2. Hope may cause shame by the weakness of its foundation. The Pharisee places dependence on his own works or his own worthiness. He derives his encouragement from negative qualities, from comparison of himself with others, from the number of his performances. Parable of the Pharisee. If his works were spiritual and holy, they need not afford a ground of dependence, being only a part of the building, and not the foundation. They may furnish evidence, but cannot give a title. The indulgence of such a hope is offensive to God. The man who seeks salvation by the works of the law, and not by faith of Jesus Christ, reflects upon God’s wisdom as having been employed in a needless trifle. The Pharisee frustrates the grace of God and makes Jesus Christ to be dead in vain. Thus the Pharisee’s hope will be found like a spider’s web, curiously wrought, but easily destroyed. The basis being too weak, the superstructure falls and crushes the offender. The humbled sinner asks, How shall a man be just before God? The Bible answers, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “He is the end of the law of righteousness to every one that believeth.” This attracts. He says, Christ is the door, by Him I will enter; Christ is the foundation, on this I will build: I desire no other. This hope is as firm as the truth of God and the all-sufficiency of the Saviour can make it. See the Christian advancing to the throne of God. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died.” The Christian is marked with the blood of sprinkling.

3. Hope may cause shame by the falseness of its warrant. Any hope which does not purify is false. Every expectation of heaven which those entertain who are leading immoral lives, whatever be their knowledge or their creed, is a mere fancy. A man, with all his ignorance, may as well persuade himself that he is the greatest philosopher; Or, with all his indigence, may as rationally conclude that he is possessed of all the wealth of the Indies, as a man may imagine that he is on the way to heaven while he is a stranger to “newness of life”; for “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Indeed, such a man, if he were in heaven, would not be in a beatific state. What warrant have you that heaven is your home? What reason are you able to give of the hope that is in you? The only satisfactory one is that given by the apostle. Therefore consider:—

II. “Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.”

1. This love is the proof of the divine regard, for the affection is mutual. “We love Him because He first loved us.” And what can we desire more than to know that we are beloved of God?

2. This love marks the characters for whom this happiness is reserved. Who are authorised to claim the promise of eternal life? Those who seek to please and serve God. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”

3. This love qualifies for the glory which shall be revealed. The happiness of the future state is derived from the presence of God. What, then, can prepare for it but the love of God? Love must make us delight in each other’s company. By loving God we are prepared for a happiness which is found only in Him.

4. This love is the foretaste of future happiness. We take the likeness of the excellency we contemplate, and are exalted into the perfection we adore. If our love be fixed on God, we shall become divine and heavenly. Oh the comforts of this love! They are heaven come down to earth. Heaven is the sphere of love. The heaven of love must be in us before we are in heaven. We attain the full assurance of hope neither by dreams, nor visions, nor sudden suggestions, nor by an inexplicable consciousness, but by keeping ourselves in the love of God, and abounding therein more and more.—W. Jay.

“And hope maketh not ashamed.”—The hope which true believers entertain, founded on the very nature of pious exercises, shall never disappoint them. The ground of this assurance, however, is not the strength of our purpose or confidence in our goodness, but the love of God. The latter clause of the verse assigns the reason why the Christian’s hope shall not be found delusive: it is because “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” The love of God is His love to us, and not ours to Him, as appears from the following verses, in which the apostle illustrates the greatness and freeness of this love by a reference to the unworthiness of its objects. To “shed abroad” is to communicate abundantly. This manifestation of divine love is not any external revelation of it in the works of providence, or even in redemption, but it is “in our hearts.” And this inward persuasion that we are the objects of the love of God is not the mere result of the examination of evidence, nor is it a vain illusion, but it is produced by the Holy Ghost: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” As, however, the Spirit never contradicts Himself, He never bears witness that “the children of the devil” are the children of God—that is, that the unholy, the disobedient, the proud, or the malicious are the objects of the divine favour. Any reference, therefore, by the immoral to the witness of the Spirit in their favour must be vain and delusive.—Hodge.

God’s love in the heart.—These words stand at the end of a list of blessings which come to the Christian simply by his faith. “The love of God” spoken of in the text is God’s love to us, not our love to God. In Rom_8:39 it is called “the love of God in Jesus Christ.” Similarly is it described in the context (Rom_5:6-8). This love the text declares is “shed abroad” in the believer’s heart “by the Holy Ghost which is given unto” him. Inquire how or in what particulars this is so. Let's read those verses:

Romans 5:6-8: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

I. Because the Holy Ghost is given to believers on the exercise of their faith to work this work within them.—For Christ, by His atoning work, procured the Holy Spirit for men.

II. It is the work of the Holy Ghost thus given to open to us the love of God.—Nothing but the Holy Ghost can disclose to us the love of God at the first. Nothing else does. Hence so many read and hear of the love of God, and yet do not apprehend it. But the Holy Spirit coming to the believer as described, “takes of the things of Christ,” and therein shows to him the love of the Father. The Holy Spirit shows thus the wonderfulness, the extent, heights, depths, lengths, breadths, of the love of God in Christ, and its unchangeableness.

III. The Holy Ghost thus given carries the love of God beyond our mere intellect into our inmost nature.—We are more than intellect. In our best nature we are “heart.” To this the Holy Spirit can penetrate—no other power like it—and can pervade and fill and possess the whole with the wonderful infinite love of God in Christ. Every faculty and power of holy emotion in the soul can thus be moved and stirred, and fresh faculty and power of holy emotion can thus be given. Thus the love of God is “shed abroad” or poureth forth “in our hearts.” Do we know the love of God? and is it “shed abroad in our hearts”? If so, then to what extent do we know it?—John Bennett. Hope as a consoler.—Hope is the sweetest friend that ever kept a distressed soul company; it beguiles the tediousness of the way, all the miseries of our pilgrimage.”

The Sermon Bible says, “Immediate Results of Justification: To be acquitted of guilt through the death of Jesus is the most elementary blessing which the gospel brings to our condemned race, shut up in its prison-house of wrath. But it cannot come alone. It opens a door of hope through which each reconciled sinner may look forward unto a new world of lovely blessings following in its train. Hope is the keyword of this section, therefore—exultant hope of future glory; and the three ideas which successively emerge in its very rich and vivid sentences are these: (1) Our hope reposes on this new relation, established between us and God, that we are at peace with Him. (2) Our hope is not impaired but confirmed by our present tribulation. (3) Our hope is warranted by the proof which we already possess of the love of God for us.

I. There is room now in men’s hearts for the hope that God will bless them with that glory which is His own blessedness, since now they are at peace with Him (vers. 1, 2). Enemies of God could never expect to behold His glory, or be satisfied with His likeness. His friends may. Standing thus near, within sight of that Eye that kindles with a Divine delight over His banished brought back; standing thus near, introduced by the Hand that was pierced, and accepted in the Beloved who was slain, what is there for a justified believer to fear? What is there not for him to hope?

II. It is far off, that glory of God which we hope for; at least, it is still in the future. The present is for all of us a life of trouble. Our mean, grieved, dying days, do they not flout and mock at such splendid expectations? Quite the contrary. In the long run life’s trouble is found rather to confirm our hope. The Christian who perseveres under trouble is an approved or accredited believer. Is it not clear that, when the tested Christian finds his faith has proved itself genuine, his hope will wax so much the more confident?

III. The triumphant hope of a justified believer in what God is yet to do for him finds a still more sure and inexpugnable foundation of fact in what God has already done to prove the greatness of His love.
J. Oswald Dykes, The Gospel according to St. Paul, p. 113.

As we continue, Torrey's next category is that Hope Triumphs over difficulties. Speaking of Abraham, we read in Romans 4:18: “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.”

F.B. Meyer writes, “Following Abraham In Faith In God: Notice the remarkable alteration made by the R.V. in Romans_4:19. The A.V. suggests that Abraham refused to consider the physical disabilities which seemed to make the fulfillment of God’s promise impossible; the R.V. says that he looked them all quietly in the face, as though taking into account all their significance and force. Then he looked to the promise; and after balancing one against the other, he decided absolutely and confidently that the Word of God must stand, however great and forbidding the difficulties in the way. He was fully persuaded that what God had promised he was able to perform. Let us remember, then, that from the time we trust Christ-whatever may have been our present frailties and temptations-we are reckoned as righteous in the sight of God. Yes, and in addition, we may count on absolute deliverance from the power of sin. Do not look down, brooding over your weakness! Do not look back upon your past, strewn with failure! Look up to the living Christ! All the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus.”

We are told, next, that Hope is an encouragement to boldness in preaching. We read in 2 Cor 3:12: “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:”

Adam Clarke writes: “Seeing - we have such hope - Such glorious prospects as those blessings which the Gospel sets before us, producing such confidence, as the fulfillment of so many promises has already done, that God will still continue to work for us and by us;

We use great plainness of speech - We speak not only with all confidence, but with all imaginable plainness; keeping back nothing; disguising nothing; concealing nothing: and here we differ greatly from the Jewish doctors, and from the Gentile philosophers, who affect obscurity, and endeavor, by figures, metaphors, and allegories, to hide every thing from the vulgar. But we wish that all may hear; and we speak so that all may understand.”

Albert Barnes writes, “Seeing then that we have such hope - Hope properly is a compound emotion, made up of a desire for an object, and an expectation of obtaining it. If there is no desire for it; or if the object is not pleasant and agreeable, there is no hope, though there may be expectation - as in the expectation of the pestilence, of famine, or sickness, or death. If there is no expectation of it, but a strong desire, there is no hope, as in cases where there is a strong desire of wealth, or fame, or pleasure; or where a man is condemned for murder, and has a strong desire but no prospect of pardon; or where a man is shipwrecked, and has a strong desire, but no expectation of again seeing his family and friends. In such cases, despondency or despair are the results. It is the union of the two feelings in proper proportions which constitutes hope. There has been considerable variety of views among expositors in regard to the proper meaning of the word in this place. Mr. Locke supposes that Paul here means the honorable employment of an apostle and minister of the gospel, or the glory belonging to the ministry in the gospel; and that his calling it “hope,” instead of “glory,” which the connection would seem to demand, is the language of modesty. Rosenmuller understands it of the hope of the perpetual continuance of the gospel dispensation. Macknight renders it” persuasion,” and explains it as meaning the full persuasion or assurance that the gospel excels the Law in the manner of its introduction; its permanency, &c, A few remarks may, perhaps, make it clear:

(1) It refers primarily to Paul, and the other ministers of the gospel. It is not properly the Christian hope as such to which he refers, but it is that which the ministers of the gospel had.

(2) It refers to all that he had said before about the superiority of the gospel to the Law; and it is designed to express the result of all that on his mind, and on the minds of his fellow-laborers.

(3) It refers to the prospect, confidence, persuasion, anticipation which he had as the effect of what he had just said. It is the prospect of eternal life; the clear expectation of acceptance, and the anticipation of heaven, based on the fact that this was a ministry of the Spirit; that it was a ministry showing the way of justification; and that it was never to be done away, but to abide forever . On all these this strong hope was founded; and in view of these, Paul expressed himself clearly, not enigmatically; and not in types and figures, as Moses did. Everything about the gospel was clear and plain; and this led to the confident expectation and assurance of heaven. The word “hope,” therefore, in this place will express the effect on the mind of Paul in regard to the work of the ministry, produced by the group of considerations which he had suggested, showing that the gospel was superior to the Law; and that it was the ground of more clear and certain confidence and hope than anything which the Law could furnish.

We use Great plainness of speech -

(1) To denote boldness, faithfulness, candor; in opposition to trimming, timidity, and unfaithfulness; and,

(2) To denote clearness, intelligibleness, and simplicity, in opposition to obscurity, mist, and highly-worked and labored forms of expression.
The connection here shows that the latter is the sense in which the phrase here is to be understood. It denotes openness, simplicity, freedom from the obscurity which arises from enigmatical and parabolical, and typical modes of speaking. This stands in opposition to figure, metaphor, and allegory - to an affected and labored concealment of the idea in the manner which was common among the Jewish doctors and pagan philosophers, where their meaning was carefully concealed from the common, and from all except the initiated. It stands opposed also to the necessary obscurity arising from typical institutions like those of Moses.

And the doctrine of the passage is, that such is the clearness and fulness of the Christian revelation, arising from the fact, that it is the last economy, and that it does not look to the future, that its ministers may and should use clear and intelligible language. They should not use language abounding in metaphor and allegory. They should not use unusual terms. They should not draw their words and illustrations from science. They should not use mere technical language. They should not attempt to veil or cloak their meaning. They should not seek a refined and overworked style. They should use expressions which other people use; and express themselves as far as possible in the language of common life. What is preaching worth that is not understood? Why should a man talk at all unless he is intelligible? Who was ever more plain and simple in his words and illustrations than the Lord Jesus?”

The next “hope” category describes the relationship between hope and us, the saints:
The Saints are called to hope in Ephesians 4:4: “

The Sermon Bible tells us,

“I. Consider the unity or oneness of the Church as set forth by the unity or oneness of the body. "The body is one," says the Apostle. Notwithstanding the several limbs of which it is composed, one life animates the whole. The parts mutually subserve one another. They instinctively feel that they belong to one another; that they owe to one another mutual help and support. And so, too, the Church is one—one mystical body, as we call it—having one Author, which is God, and one Head, which is Christ, and one informing Spirit, which is the Holy Ghost; having one country toward which all its members are travelling, which is heaven, one code of instructions to guide them thither, which is the word of God, one and the same band of enemies seeking to bar their passage, which are the world, the flesh, and the devil; having the same effectual assistances in the shape of sacraments and other means of grace to enable them to overcome these enemies, and of God’s good favour to attain the land of their rest.

II. But, secondly, as in the human body there is unity, so there is also variety, diversity, multiplicity, or whatever else we may please to call it. The Church is most truly a body in this sense also: that its different members have different functions to perform, all these being assigned to them by God; and then, and then only, it makes equable and harmonious growth.

III. Consider the lessons which we may derive from these truths.

(1) We are members of a body. Let us never forget this. It is only too easy to do so. Do not let us yield to the temptation which would lead us to separate ourselves, if not wholly, yet in part, from the body of Christ, and to set up a selfish independent life of our own.

(2) If we are thus members one of another, many are the debts which as such we owe the one to the other. We owe each other truth, love, honour. Let us ask of God a tenderer, livelier, more earnest sense of the sorrows, needs, perplexities, distresses, fears, trials, of our brethren. R. C. Trench, Westminster and Other Sermons, p. 152. References: Eph_4:4.—J. G. Rogers, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 380; Preacher’s Monthly, vol. iv., p. 211.

In these words, which unite the passionate enthusiasm of thanksgiving with the clear-cut precision of a creed, St. Paul draws out to us explicitly that which is the great subject of the whole Ephesian Epistle: the existence and the nature of the Holy Catholic Church of Christ. The whole area of humanity, and therefore the whole area of the salvation of Christ, is seen by him as a whole. Over the whole battlefield of the world he watches the sweep of the tides of the spiritual battle. The unity of all men in Christ with God and with each other is the magnificent truth which fills his whole mind and heart, and breaks forth ever and anon in bursts of praise; and the text draws out at last, as it were in a triumphant creed, the great lines of the pervading subject.

I. The picture before St. Paul’s eyes was the picture of the Catholic {or, Universal} Church of Christ. And that picture differs very much from the appearance which it presents to our eyes now. Far less was it then in extent, numbering its thousands instead of its millions, only spread over the civilisation that fringed the basin of the Mediterranean, instead of pervading the length and breadth of the world. Far less pervading was it in its power. It had not yet penetrated into the very nature of humanity; it had not yet moulded the language, the thought, the imagination, and the life of all the leading nations of mankind. But yet, if it was far less grand in its outline, how much more perfect was it in its unity.

II. St. Paul places the source and living power of our unity not in anything that belongs to us, but in the eternal unity of God. There is one Spirit, the Holy Ghost Himself, making His temple in the hearts of Christians. They who partake of His life are one body still. The bonds which bind all Christian hearts with gold chains about the feet of God have passed upward from the earth. They cannot be trampled and broken under the heel of man; they cannot be severed. Whatever else we have done, the source of our unity we can no more close up than we can stop the outburst of some mighty river when it comes rushing down from its ice cave in the everlasting hills.

III. In all unity between rational beings there must be action on both sides, and God brings in the law in His dealing with us. All His blessings are freely given by His grace; but only by the consent of the human will can they penetrate the soul. Faith, hope, love, that triad of Christian graces—these are the conditions which make us one body indeed. What is the duty which this passage forces upon Christians?

(1) Realise what you have. Feel, and act as if you felt, the large amount of unity which exists among Christians still. Let us act with, let us think with, let us pray with, all who bear the name of Christ.

(2) Strive for what as yet you have not. There is an incalculable waste of spiritual power, not only by division, but by friction and antagonism. There is a bewilderment of truth when it is proclaimed, however loudly, by discordant voices. If only Christendom were united, it would hardly need a generation to convert the world; if only England were united, our isle might be "an isle of saints," a kingdom of God. (Bishop Barry, Penny Pulpit, New Series, No. 679).

I. Ver. 4: The Apostle uses a favourite image here. The Church is represented by the individual man, and the unity of the Church is represented as like the unity of a man. There is an outward oneness of character and walk, as there is an outward oneness in the corporeal structure of a man; and there is an inward oneness, as of the soul in man.

II. The one individual man, having a body and a soul, but still one, is one also as having and owning one Head. Made one body and one spirit, through the one hopeful calling common to all, we are further one as recognising one Lord. And there is but one method of union with Him and with one another in Him: faith, one faith; and one seal of that oneness of faith: one baptism.

III. Thus called, in one hopeful calling, to be one body animated by one Spirit, thus united to one and the same Lord by one and the same faith, confirmed by the seal of one and the same baptism, they who constitute the one Church come to stand in one and the same relation to the Supreme, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. R. S. Candlish, Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, p. 70. Reference: Eph_4:4-6.—Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 428.

This concludes this Evening's Discussion, Hope, Part XI”

This Discussion was originally presented “live” on November 8th, 2017

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