“Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov. 13:12). When people lose hope, they lose heart too! It was Thomas Brooks who said, “A Christian will part with anything rather than his hope; he knows that hope will keep the heart both from aching and breaking, from fainting and sinking; he knows that hope is a beam of God, a spark of glory, and that nothing shall extinguish it till the soul be filled with glory.” No book in the New Testament emphasizes the concept of hope more than the book of Romans. This is as fascinating as it is practical, since Romans also stresses the greatness and power of Jesus and His gospel (cf. Rom. 1:1-17). Consider how Romans is a veritable “college course” on hope.
Consider Hope’s Paradox (Rom. 4:18). The passage says of Abraham, “In hope he hoped against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told.” Hope is far more than just “wishful thinking.” It is it is the eager anticipation and confident expectation that God keeps His word! Hope takes God at His word when the appearances and circumstances of life may seem quite different. When we fail to look through the eyes of faith, hoping can really be hard!
Consider Hope’s Glory (Rom. 5:2). “Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Hope will put a spring in our step and greater joy in our heart. There is a glorious sense of stability and assurance as we faithfully await the time we can be with our God forever. Grace can be accessed through real faith in Christ!
Consider Hope’s Production (Rom. 5:3-5). “Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” If one wishes to become more hopeful as a Christian, one needs to think about how we respond to times of suffering and to the matter of our own character (See Psa. 42:5; 43:4-5).
Consider Hope’s Submission (Rom. 8:20-21). Creation itself submissively looks to the Lord in hope. The consequences of man’s sins scar not only us but also have devastating effects upon the world we inhabit. Like the rest of creation, man – created in the very image of God (Gen. 1:26-28), must learn hope by humble submission to good and perfect will of God. There is no greater spirit than in the humble attitude, “The Lord’s will be done.” (cf. Matt. 26:39-41).
Consider Hope’s Salvation (Rom. 8:24-25). “For in this hope we are saved.” We often rightly speak of love and faith and their necessity in salvation. But it seems hope sometimes may not be emphasized enough. Our hope in Christ is to be “living” (1 Pet. 1:3), an “anchor” (Heb. 6:18-19) and is “good” (2 Thess. 2:16). It is indisputable that no one will be saved who does not hope in the Lord.
Consider Hope’s Joy (Rom. 12:12). “Rejoice in hope.” What an amazing statement! Romans 12 might be titled, “What a Real Christian Looks Like.” It is imperative in our marvelous and biblical desire to restore New Testament Christianity that we exhibit, both individually and congregationally, more of the joy that comes from hoping in our great God.
Consider Hope’s Encouragement (Rom. 15:4). Paul says it is “through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The math is simple. No Scripture = no hope. “You Are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word” (Psa. 119:114). “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope” (Psalm 130:5).
Consider Hope’s Scope (Rom. 15:7-12). The Gospel is for all, and in the Gospel there is hope for all (Rom. 1:16-17). If the first-century church could deal with incredibly diverse people, cultures and backgrounds, so can the people of God today. We can and must be biblically faithful, yet we can and should properly engage culture.
Consider Hope’s Source and Supply (Rom. 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.” Notice that God is the real Source of hope. And like all the blessings He gives, God makes hope available in “abundance.” How we should praise Him for giving us such hope! And how our lives ought to reflect the hope we have in Him.