Thursday, June 09, 2011

True Hope

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

13 Ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς ἐλπίδος πληρώσαι ὑμᾶς πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ εἰρήνης ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν, εἰς τὸ περισσεύειν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ ἐλπίδι ἐν δυνάμει πνεύματος ἁγίου.

This is part of Paul's closing. I tend to gloss over verses like this because they don't seem to pack a whole lot in them. They are just part of how he ends his letters, so why bother reading them closely? But as I looked for a verse to write on this morning this one kind of stood out. There is no exegetical nuance to draw out as far as I can tell at first glance, but there is some great stuff in here for the Christian life.

The most important question we must ask is about the nature of God. Tozer says that what a man thinks of God is the most important thing about the man. What does Paul think of God? This verse does not encapsulate all of Paul's theology, but we can learn something here. Paul refers to God as "the God of hope." He also finishes this verse with a mention of hope that we can have through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am not going to get into all of Paul's argument, though one could preach a sermon on this and get into soteriology. The point is that God is the God of hope. The Holy Spirit has the power to fill us with hope. What is this hope all about? It comes from Christ. Because of Christ we have hope in this age and in the age to come. We have the promise of His provision in our lives. That does not mean we will be healthy or wealthy, but it does mean that God will provide what we need.  We must accept that it is possible that we need to physically die as part of God's plan.

How do we come to grips with that? We have hope in the age to come. We know that because of Christ we will ultimately spend eternity in fellowship with God. Frankly, that is all the reward we need. 

What does the Holy Spirit have to do with this? The Holy Spirit is the one who transforms us from being dead in our sins to alive in Christ. He also sustains us as we live as followers of Christ. The Holy Spirit is vital in our pursuit of God.

So as I look at this "throwaway verse" I join Paul in this prayer for both myself and for anyone who may be reading this. May we have true hope that only comes from God.

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