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The Believers’ Hope (1) By Babatunde Olugboji

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The Believers’ Hope (1) By Babatunde Olugboji

In the beginning of Romans 5, Paul pointed out that suffering produces endurance: a deeper, longer trust in God. This in turn produces character, meaning we more consistently and deliberately choose to do what honors God. This then produces hope, where we experience growing certainty that our ultimate destiny is an eternity of good in God’s presence.

Now Paul concludes this chain by saying that our hope will never put us to shame. By that, Paul means our hope will be fully vindicated. We will never, in the end, be disappointed for hoping to receive God’s goodness forever.

The big question is why, as believers, can we be so confident about our ultimate destination? Paul’s answer reveals the very emotion of God toward us. His love has been poured in our hearts: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5) In other words, God will always, always keep his promises to us because He loves us. It is not just that God is powerfully able to do what He has promised. It is not just that God is good. It is because He cares about us, loves us, so deeply that each of us actually carries His love inside of us, through the Holy Spirit. That makes God’s promises powerful indeed.

Finally, Paul adds as almost an afterthought that each person who trusts in Christ has been given God’s own Holy Spirit to live in our hearts -in our inner being. That may be the most powerful benefit Paul has mentioned.

Titus 2:12–13 says that the grace of God teaches us “to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope –

the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” This passage identifies the “blessed hope” as the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior.

Have you noticed that the Bible has quite a lot to say about hope. Biblical hope has as its foundation faith in God. The word hope in English often conveys doubt. For instance, if someone says, “I hope it will not rain tomorrow,” that means they wish that it would not rain tomorrow, it is a mere wish, not a certainty. In addition, the word hope is often followed by the word so. This is the answer that some may give when asked if they think that they will go to heaven when they die. They say, “I hope so.” However, that is not the meaning of the words usually translated “hope” in the Bible.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word batah and its cognates conveys confidence, security, and being without care or anxiety; therefore, the concept of doubt is not part of this word. We find that meaning in Job 6:20; Psalm 16:9, Psalm 22:9 and Ecclesiastes 9:4. In most instances in the New Testament, the word hope is the Greek elpis or elpizo. Again, there is no doubt attached to this word. Therefore, biblical hope is a confident expectation or assurance based upon a sure foundation for which we wait with joy and full confidence. In other words, “There is no doubt about it!” The believers hope is blessed assurance.

To be continued

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