Scripture and You

God's Desire: That We May Abound in Hope

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us the reasons why we may "super-abound" in hope, both now and for eternity.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part four of a series. Read part three.

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us the reasons why we may "super-abound" in hope, both now and for eternity.

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: "For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name." And again he says: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!" And again: "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!" And again, Isaiah says: "There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope."

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:4-13)

Having seen that the Scriptures are our source of hope, and that Jesus Christ is the confirmation and fulfillment of that hope both now and in the world to come, we now turn to a third fact on which the Spirit through Paul focuses our attention: God's desire is that we may abound in hope. Notice Paul's prayer for the Roman believers at the end of verse verse 13: "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Our God is the God of hope. In verse 5 Paul spoke of God as the God of patience and comfort - the patience and comfort of the Scriptures. Here he speaks of Him as the God of hope, the hope that has its embodiment, manifestation, and fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ in saving sinners, interceding for them and preparing an eternal dwelling for them, and coming again to culminate their redemption.

Furthermore, Paul says, my prayer is that the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace in believing. Place your hope in the Scriptures, Paul says. Place you hope in Christ. Trust in the God who gives us the hope which we have in Christ.

The joy and peace which the God of hope imparts to you rests on faith in Christ. In the original Greek, Paul is saying here, "may the God of hope fill you with every kind of joy." And further Paul says, may the God of hope fill you with peace. The focus of the meaning of the word translated "peace" in this context has to do with security - a calmness and composure in our souls because we are sure of salvation in Christ, and therefore have nothing to fear from the hand of God. As the psalmist David wrote centuries earlier,

Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield. (Psalm 5:11-12)

And yet Paul goes further. He declares in verse 13, it is "joy and peace in believing." In the original language it reads "joy and peace in the believing." The idea is, "joy and peace in the continual state of believing." Joy and peace rooted in the understanding that you are accepted by God through Christ, that you have been justified in His sight, that your sins have been laid upon Christ, and His perfect righteousness has been given to you.

Amplifying this yet further, Paul says that the goal of this is "that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." The word "abound" here means to "super-abound" - to have an overflowing abundance of hope. Hope beyond measure. Hope that exceeds what you will ever need.

And how do we obtain that abundance of hope? By the power of the Holy Spirit. By the very fact that the indwelling Spirit of God within every believer in Christ is the guarantee of all these things. The Spirit of God, the Author of all Scripture and the illuminator of all Scripture lives within your so that you, by the perseverance and the comfort that derive from the Scriptures, may have super-abounding hope. "Joy and peace in believing."

 

Next: The False Hope of the So-called "Prosperity Gospels"

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