May 1981

Saved By Hope

Robert F. Turner

Rom. 8:24 reads, "For we are saved by hope..." Hope only? Certainly not that; but the statement is true, and hope must have some important place in God's scheme for our redemption.

The verse continues: "hope that is seen in not hope" (24b); and, "...then do we with patience wait for it" (25) so the salvation is not a now certainty, that can't be lost. Verse 23 says we have the "first-fruits of the Spirit" and relates the balance of promised blessings to the resurrection and thereafter. So hope is an essential condition (something man does) in order to the attaining of eternal blessings.

Hope is not wishful thinking. It is "desire with expectation ... belief that it is obtainable." There is an element of trust and reliance in hope for it looks to a source or ground outside ourselves. As faith grows it can become confidence, although it is yet in something unseen, unattained.

It seems to me the "creation" of Romans 8: is directly related to the flesh, that provides avenues of temptation, hence, wars against the spirit of man. But there is also a sense in which creation is personified, and sighs for release from bondage. This suggests an affinity between man and his surroundings. It is significant that those who have no faith in God, hence, no hope, live in despair. Expositor's remark: "Sin brought this doom on creation; it made a pessimistic view of the universe inevitable."

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Cor. 15:19). And what of those who do not have Christ, even in this life?? They must feed upon corruption, cheats, failures; and find their so-called success is vanity. They dream of a mythical past, that was never as great as imagined; they sweat out the present; and have only the grave for their future. It seems almost cruel to have to tell them of judgment and eternal punishment.

But Christians live on hope. It lifts their spirits, lightens today's load, genders optimism, and opens the grave. In Christ Jesus darkness becomes light — we are saved by hope.