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Romans 15:13 Abound in Hope

Author: Dr. George M. Flattery

Romans 15:13 Abound in Hope

Thoughts about Romans 15:13. 

In this text, Paul says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Paul wants us to believe so that we will abound in hope.  We will abound in hope by the power of the Spirit.

As one writer says, hope “is a psychological necessity if a man is to envisage the future at all.”  Hope is what makes the present livable.  In his book “Eternal Hope” Bruner states:  “What oxygen is for the lungs, such is hope for the meaning of human life.”

In some way, virtually all people have, or at least have had hope.  Many boys hope to become great ball players.  Young men and young women hope to marry the spouse of their dreams.  Young couples hope for a great son or daughter.  Many of them hope for a nice home.  The hopes that people have are innumerable.

Both believers in Christ and unbelievers have hoped. However, about hope in life after death, there is a major difference.  Concerning the Gentiles in Ephesus, Paul writes, “remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world (Eph. 2:12).  This applies to all unbelievers.

Believers, unlike the unbelievers, have a solid hope for the future.  Paul made this declaration to the Corinthians (15:20):  “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”  Because Christ was raised from the dead and is the first fruit, we know that we too will be resurrected.  With this as our hope, we and unbelievers have a much different quality of life in this life.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can abound in hope.  With this text in mind, over the next few days, my “thoughts” will center on what hope is, what hope does for us, and how we can have hope.  We can hope with great confidence.  Hope, along with will faith, and love abides forever (1 Corinthians 13:13).

More Thoughts from Romans 15:13. 

The apostle Paul wants us to be filled with all joy and peace in believing so that we may abound in hope.  For a few days, we will focus our attention on hope.  Our first point has to do with what hope is.

According to Unger, “hope in the New Testament is the expectation of good.”  Wycliffe adds this thought:  In both the Old Testament and the New Testament the object of one’s hope varies according to human desires.”  Going further, the saints of all ages have grounded their hope in God.  Thus, as our text says, God is the “God of hope.”

The hope of the Christian is for eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:5-7; Romans 8:24; and I Thess. 5:8). Our salvation is in three tenses: We were saved. Usually, people can point back to the day and the hour, although some cannot. Many young people growing up in Christian homes do not remember. We are saved “by hope” (Rom. 8:24). We now are experiencing salvation and live with the hope of eternal life. The word hope, however, often focuses on the future. There is an eschatological significance to the term. Ultimately we will see the consummation of our salvation.

Because hope has to do with salvation, and salvation is through Christ, hope ultimately has to do with a person. Through Christ, God gave us hope. Thus Christ is our hope (1 Tim. 1:1).  In Col. 1:27, Paul speaks of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Be­cause He lives within us, we have hope.

All our hopes, then, will be in vain without Christ. To find fulfillment, we must focus our vision on Christ. This seems exceedingly narrow to some. But there is no salvation in any other name (Acts 4:12). Having accepted Him, however, we enter into the broadest kind of fulfillment, the narrow way becomes the broad way of blessing.

More Thoughts from Romans 15:13. 

We are centering our attention for a few days on hope.  Hope in the New Testament is the expectation of something good.  As believers, we have the hope of eternal life.  Today, we will discuss what hope does for us.

Hope in general gives meaning to life. The Christian’s hope gives eternal meaning.  Our life does not end with death.  We have an eternal future. Our life will be lived under Christ’s supervision.  He will reward us according to His righteousness. Our hope unites us with a cause much larger than ourselves. Thus, we have the widest possible fulfillment.

Hope gives motivation. There is always a lot of routine in life. We all have our prose days.  During these days our character is tested. Then, there are high points–days of inspiration and rejoicing. We experience moments of exultation.  These are days of poetry.

Our Christian hope has a way of breaking into the days of prose with moments of poetry. The rays of sunshine break through. We rather learn to expect this. Because we do our lives are qualitatively different. Having experienced the larger meaning in life, we can search with more serenity for the sub-points. All the sub-points are wrapped up in Christ.

Hope gives perspective. You had hoped for a better job. You thought your ministry might be greater than it is. You believed that you might make the basketball team. But these hopes have not ma­terialized. The fact that our hope of eternal life is still there gives us perspective. It is what makes sense out of Romans 8:28. Our temporal hopes may be dashed, but our eternal hope is sure.

More Thoughts from Romans 15:13. 

In my previous “thoughts” we discussed what hope is and what it does for us.  The apostle Paul urged us to have hope.  So, today, our discussion has to do with how we can have hope. Today, our thoughts are about how we can have hope.

First, we should realize that hope objectively exists. God is a God of hope. Because He exists, hope exists. Whether we subjectively feel the hope or not, objectively hope is ours. Once you commit yourself to this truth, hope begins to be a sub­jective reality in your heart.   Second, it is a work of the Holy Spirit to help us abound in hope. The Holy Spirit is ever ­present to witness to our hearts.  As the river flows, the Spirit enriches our hope.

 

Third, our part is simply to believe.  In other words, we must have faith in God and His promises.  The writer of Hebrews 11:1-2 states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.” As we believe, as we have faith, God fills us with all joy and peace.

So often when men write about hope, they use adjectives such as ’’faint,” “weak,’’’ “vain,” “futile,” and so on.  This is because so many of our temporal hopes are illusory. How many times have we been disappointed!  In contrast, we can read the adjectives attached to our eternal hope.  For example, Paul said that we are “Looking for that blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).

Harold Bell Wright wrote: “In the hills of life there are two trails: One lies alongside the higher sunlit fields–where those who travel see afar, and the light lingers long after the sun is down. And one lies along the lower ground— where those who journey look over their shoulders with eyes of dread, and gloomy shadows gather long before the day is done.” Let’s travel the higher trail.”

For all who believe in Christ, we are traveling the highest trail, the one that leads to eternal life and the realization of the blessed hope.

George M. Flattery, Ph.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.

Excerpts transferred from a series originally posted on Dr. George's Facebook.

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