“Wrestling With Romans”
Hope That Keeps Us Going (Chapter 8 Verses 18-27)
We were justified by faith, and brought into this glorious hope, we were not ushered straight into the glory of heaven, simply given the hope of it (v24-25). And from that point forward we learn to walk by faith, not by what we see around us (2Corinthians 5.7; Romans 1.17), the corruption of creation, remaining sin, the groaning of childbirth pains (v22). But with our eyes fixed on the prize we press on in faith, just like Jesus did (Hebrews 12.2b). But this surely is the great thing about the Christian, he or she is a person who has hope, and that hope is centred on Jesus, the author of our faith (Hebrews 12.2), he is the beginning of it, the centre of it, the end, the perfecter of our faith. All our hope is in him. Are you at your wits-end today? Fretting because of the future and what maybe it holds for you? Lean upon Jesus, more and more, in all his fullness of love for you, in all his tenderness for you, whose love for you is as full now as ever it was, never grows cold, never diminishes, who has no condemnation for you (v1). May God fill you with hope as you trust more and more in Christ (Romans 15.13). The point I am trying to make concerning triumphalism that expects everything now, is here vindicated by Paul, if we already have what we hope for, we no longer hope. But that is not the case (v25) we wait patiently for the fullness of our redemption.
This patience with which we wait is important too, with brave perseverance, we do not simply put up with, but bravely, and hopefully travel through this world of sorrow and pain. It is the life of faith which brings courage to the heart, it is the life of hope that enables us to endure cheerfully and the love of God poured into our hearts (Romans 5.5) that keeps us free from bitterness and cynicism. It is the life of faith, hope and love that enable us to take the sufferings of this present world and turn them to our good (Romans 8.28). It is in that school of discipleship that we learn to be like Jesus. We are a marvel to ourselves sometimes, we wonder how on earth we are able to keep going we wonder how on earth we ever came through some situations. But it is with hind-sight we look back and see the Lord’s hand there with us in it, strengthening, encouraging even carrying us. We do not know how, but we are the better for it, our faith is proved to be genuine (James 1.2ff), and stronger, we have grown in spiritual stature, and we are still hoping. He who brought us into this confidence, who conceived the plan in eternity (Ephesians 1.4), will bring it to full fruition (Philippians 1.6).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)