“Hope, Part VI” by Romans
We are moving forward in our Series on the occasions of the word, “hope” as it appears in Scripture. Tonight, in Part 6 of our Series, we will look at and examine the final appearances of “hope” in the New Testament. I originally believed, as I began tonight's notes, that there would not be a Part 7, but I was wrong, again. This Series will likely be concluded next week. Having said that, let's get into tonight's study:
To begin our examination, tonight, let's look at 1 Peter 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
The Albert Barnes Commentary says regarding, “Unto a lively hope - The word lively we now use commonly in the sense of active, animated, quick; the word used here, however, means living, in contradistinction from that which is dead. The hope which they had, had living power. It was not cold, inoperative, dead. It was not a mere form - or a mere speculation - or a mere sentiment; it was that which was vital to their welfare, and which was active and powerful.
Matthew Henry has much to tell us regarding the concept of hope in this first verse. He writes, the reasons that oblige us to this duty of blessing God, which are comprised in his abundant mercy. All our blessings are owing to God's mercy, not to man's merit, particularly regeneration. He hath begotten us again, and this deserves our thanksgiving to God, especially if we consider the fruit it produces in us, which is that excellent grace of hope, and that not such a vain, dead, perishing hope as that of worldlings and hypocrites, but a lively hope, a living, strong, quickening, and durable hope, as that hope must needs be that has such a solid foundation as the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
Learn, (1.) A good Christian's condition is never so bad but he has great reason still to bless God. As a sinner has always reason to mourn, notwithstanding his present prosperity, so good people, in the midst of their manifold difficulties, have reason still to rejoice and bless God. (2.) In our prayers and praises we should address God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; it is only through him that we and our services are accepted. (3.) The best of men owe their best blessings to the abundant mercy of God. All the evil in the world is from man's sin, but all the good in it is from God's mercy. Regeneration is expressly ascribed to the abundant mercy of God, and so are all the rest; we subsist entirely upon divine mercy...
Regeneration produces a lively hope of eternal life. Every unconverted person is a hopeless creature; whatever he pretends to of that kind is all confidence and presumption. The right Christian hope is what a man is begotten again unto by the Spirit of God; it is not from nature, but free grace. Those who are begotten to a new and spiritual life are begotten to a new and spiritual hope. (5.) The hope of a Christian has this excellency, it is a living hope. The hope of eternal life in a true Christian is a hope that keeps him alive, quickens him, supports him, and conducts him to heaven. Hope invigorates and spirits up the soul to action, to patience, to fortitude, and perseverance to the end. The delusive hopes of the unregenerate are vain and perishing; the hypocrite and his hope expire and die both together...
(6.) The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the ground or foundation of a Christian's hope. The resurrection of Christ is the act of the Father as a Judge, of the Son as a conqueror. His resurrection demonstrates that the Father accepts his death in full discharge for our ransom, that he is victorious over death, the grave, and all our spiritual enemies; and it is also an assurance of our own resurrection. There being an inseparable union between Christ and his flock, they rise by virtue of his resurrection as a head, rather than by virtue of his power as a Judge. We have risen with Christ. From all this taken together, Christians have two firm and solid foundations whereon to build their hope of eternal life.
II. Having congratulated these people on their new birth, and the hope of everlasting life, the apostle goes on to describe that life under the notion of an inheritance, a most proper way of speaking to these people; for they were poor and persecuted, perhaps turned out of their inheritances to which they were born; to allay this grievance, he tells them they were new-born to a new inheritance, infinitely better than what they had lost. Besides, they were most of them Jews, and so had a great affection to the land of Canaan, as the land of their inheritance, settled upon them by God himself; and to be driven out from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord was looked upon as a sore judgment. To comfort them under this they are put in mind of a noble inheritance reserved in heaven for them, such a one that the land of Canaan was but a mere shadow in comparison with it...
III. Here note, 1. Heaven is the undoubted inheritance of all the children of God; all that are born again are born to an inheritance, as a man makes his child his heir; the apostle argues, If children, then heirs, as we read in Romans_8:17. God giveth his gifts unto all, but the inheritance to none but his children; those that are his sons and daughters by regeneration and adoption receive the promise of eternal inheritance. This inheritance is not our purchase, but our Father's gift; not wages that we merit, but the effect of grace, which first makes us children and then settles this inheritance upon us by a firm unalterable covenant.
2. The incomparable excellencies of this inheritance, which are four: - (1.) It is incorruptible, in which respect it is like its Maker, who is called the incorruptible God. All corruption is a change from better to worse, but heaven is without change and without end; the house is eternal in the heavens, and the possessors must subsist for ever, for their corruptible must put on incorruption, 1Co_15:53. (2.) This inheritance is undefiled, like the great high priest that is now in possession of it, who is holy, harmless, and undefiled. Sin and misery, the two grand defilements that spoil this world, and mar its beauty, have no place there.
(3.) It fadeth not away, but always retains its vigour and beauty, and remains immarcescible, ever entertaining and pleasing the saints who possess it, without the least weariness or distaste. (4.) Reserved in heaven for you, which expression teaches us, [1.] That it is a glorious inheritance, for it is in heaven, and all that is there is glorious. [2.] It is certain, a reversion in another world, safely kept and preserved till we come to the possession of it. [3.] The persons for whom it is reserved are described, not by their names, but by their character: for you, or us, or every one that is begotten again to a lively hope. This inheritance is preserved for them, and none but them.
Alexander MacClaren writes, The Hope of the Resurrection. The religion of Jesus Christ presented one great contrast to the heathen religions with which it found itself in conflict: it pointed steadily forward, while they looked wistfully backward. The religions of classical heathenism were religions of regret; the Gospel is a religion of hope. Two great ideas are involved in the fact of the Resurrection, ideas influencing human thought and action at every turn, ideas coextensive in their application with human life itself.
I. By opening out the vista of an endless future, it has wholly changed the proportions of things. The capacity of looking forward is the measure of progress in the individual and in the race. Providence is God’s attribute. In proportion as a man appropriates this attribute of God, in proportion as his faculty of foresight is educated, in the same degree is he raised in the moral scale. The Christian is an advance on the civilised man, as the civilised man is an advance on the barbarian. His vista of knowledge and interest is not terminated abruptly by the barrier of the grave. The Resurrection has stimulated the faculty and educated the habit of foresight indefinitely by opening out to it an endless field of vision over which its sympathies range.
II. The Resurrection involves another principle not less extensive or less potent in its influence on human life. The Resurrection does not merely proclaim immortality. It declares likewise that death leads to life; it assures us that death is the portal to eternity. Thus it glorifies death; it crowns and consecrates the grave. Death issuing in life, death the seed and life the plant, and blossom, and fruit—this is the great lesson of the Gospel.
III. See how far-reaching are the applications of this lesson to human life. Through darkness to light, through sorrow to joy, through suffering to bliss, through evil to good—this is the law of our heavenly Father’s government, whereby He would educate His family, His sons and His daughters, into the likeness of His own perfections. Accordingly we find this same principle extending throughout the Gospel teaching. Everywhere it speaks of renewal, of redemption, of restitution—yes, of resurrection.”
Still in the first chapter of 1 Peter, let's look at verse 13: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Albert Barnes writes, And hope to the end - Margin, perfectly. The translation in the text is the most correct. It means that they were not to become faint or weary in their trials. They were not to abandon the hopes of the gospel, but were to cherish those hopes to the end of life, whatever opposition they might meet with, and however much might be done by others to induce them to apostatize. Compare the notes at Hebrews 10:35-36, which reads, 滴ebrews 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Barnes comments of this, Cast not away therefore your confidence - Greek 土our boldness; referring to their confident hope in God. They were not to cast this away, and to become timid, disheartened, and discouraged. They were to bear up manfully under all their trials, and to maintain a steadfast adherence to God and to his cause. The command is not to cast this away. Nothing could take it from them if they trusted in God, and it could be lost only by their own neglect. There may be an allusion here to the disgrace which was attached to the act of a warrior if he cast away his shield. Among the Greeks this was a crime which was punishable with death. Among the ancient Germans, Tacitus says, that to lose the shield in battle was regarded as the deepest dishonor, and that those who were guilty of it were not allowed to be present at the sacrifices or in the assembly of the people. Many, says he, who had suffered this calamity, closed their own lives with the baiter under the loss of honor. A similar disgrace would attend the Christian soldier if he should cast away his shield of faith.
Matthew Henry writes, And hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Some refer this to the last judgment, as if the apostle directed their hope to the final revelation of Jesus Christ; but it seems more natural to take it, as it might be rendered, Hope perfectly, or thoroughly, for the grace that is brought to you in or by the revelation of Jesus Christ; that is, by the gospel, which brings life and immortality to light. Hope perfectly, trust without doubting to that grace which is now offered to you by the gospel.
Learn, (1.) The main work of a Christian lies in the right management of his heart and mind; the apostle's first direction is to gird up the loins of the mind. (2.) The best Christians have need to be exhorted to sobriety. These excellent Christians are put in mind of it; it is required of a bishop, of aged men, the young women are to be taught it, and the young men are directed to be sober-minded. (3.) A Christian's work is not over as soon as he has got into a state of grace; he must still hope and strive for more grace. When he has entered the strait gate, he must still walk in the narrow way, and gird up the loins of his mind for that purpose.
Alexander MacClaren writes, HOPE PERFECTLY. Christianity has transformed hope, and given it a new importance, by opening to it a new world to move in, and supplying to it new guarantees to rest on. There is something very remarkable in the prominence given to hope in the New Testament, and in the power ascribed to it to order a noble life. Paul goes so far as to say that we are saved by it. To a Christian it is no longer a pleasant dream, which may be all an illusion, indulgence in which is pretty sure to sap a man's force, but it is a certain anticipation of certainties, the effect of which will be increased energy and purity...
So our Apostle, having in the preceding context in effect summed up the whole Gospel, bases upon that summary a series of exhortations, the transition to which is marked by the therefore at the beginning of my text. the application of that word is to be extended, so as to include all that has preceded in the letter, and there follows a series of practical advices, the first of which, the grace or virtue which he puts in the forefront of everything, is not what you might have expected, but it is hope perfectly.
As we move forward, we read in 1 Peter 1:21: “Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”
The Pulpit Commentary says, that your faith and hope might be in God; rather, so that your faith and hope are in God - directed towards God. Or perhaps, "so that your faith is at the same time hope towards God." The resurrection and the glory of Christ not only inspire the Christian with confidence in God, but they also give his faith the character of hope; they fill it with hope. Christ had promised that where he is there should his servant be; he had prayed that those whom the Father had given him should be with him where he is, to behold his glory. He is in heaven, on the right hand of God. Thus the Christian's faith assumes the attitude of hope; he hopes to be where Christ is, to see him as he is, to be made like unto him. This is "the hope of glory" for which we offer our thanksgivings. Peter is the apostle of hope.
The Jameison, Fausset and Brown Commentary writes of, that your faith and hope might be in God the object and effect of God's raising Christ. He states what was the actual result and fact, not an exhortation, except indirectly. Your faith flows from His resurrection; your hope from God's having "given Him glory.�Remember God's having raised and glorified Jesus as the anchor of your faith and hope in God, and so keep alive these graces. Apart from Christ we could have only feared, not believed and hoped in God.
Matthew Henry writes. "Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God's faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man's redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them. But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth, than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he is we shall be also. The soul must be purified, before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. We should hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven."
In 1 Peter 3:15 we read, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
Ellicotts Commentary for English Readers tells us regarding “Of the hope that is in you.--More literally, with regard to the hope that is in you: i.e., with regard to the Christianity in which you share. It is, of course, quite a modern application to the text to see in this anything of the individual assurance of salvation. However fairly it may be argued that a Christian ought to know why he, personally, expects to be saved, it is not the thought of Peter, here. Christianity is here called a hope, rather than a faith, especially in times of persecution.”
Albert Barnes writes, “A reason of the hope that is in you - Greek, An account. That is, you are to state on what ground you cherish that hope. This refers to the whole ground of our hope, and includes evidently two things: (1) The reason why we regard Christianity as true, or as furnishing a ground of hope for people; and, (2) The reason which we have ourselves for cherishing a hope of heaven, or the experimental and practical views which we have of religion, which constitute a just ground of hope. “It is not improbable that the former of these was more directly in the eye of the apostle than the latter, though both seem to be implied in the direction to state the reasons which ought to satisfy others that it is proper for us to cherish the hope of heaven. The first part of this duty - that we are to state the reasons why we regard the system of religion which we have embraced as true - implies, that we should be acquainted with the evidences of the truth of Christianity, and be able to state them to others. Christianity is founded on evidence; and though it cannot be supposed that every Christian will be able to understand all that is involved in what are called the evidences of Christianity, or to meet all the objections of the enemies of the gospel. Yet every man who becomes a Christian should have such intelligent views of religion, and of the evidences of the truth of the Bible, that he can show to others that the religion which he has embraced has claims to their attention, or that it is not a mere matter of education, of tradition, or of feeling. It should also be an object with every Christian to increase his acquaintance with the evidences of the truth of religion, not only for his own stability and comfort in the faith, but that he may be able to defend religion if attacked, or to guide others if they are desirous of knowing what is truth. The second part of this duty, that we state the reasons which we have for cherishing the hope of heaven as a personal matter, implies: (a) That there should be, in fact, a well-founded hope of heaven; that is, that we have evidence that we are true Christians, since it is impossible to give a “reason” of the hope that is in us unless there are reasons for it; (b) That we be able to state in a clear and intelligent manner what constitutes evidence of piety, or what should be reasonably regarded as such; and, (c) That we be ever ready to state these reasons. A Christian should always be willing to converse about his religion. He should have such a deep conviction of its truth, of its importance, and of his personal interest in it; he should have a hope so firm, so cheering, so sustaining, that he will be always prepared to converse on the prospect of heaven and to endeavor to lead others to walk in the path to life.”
Adam Clarke writes, A reason of the hope - An account of your hope of the resurrection of the dead and eternal life in God's glory. This was the great object of their hope, as Christ was the grand object of their faith. The Greek word which we translate answer, signifies a defense; from this we have our word apology, which did not originally signify an excuse for an act, but a defense of that act. It is this Greek word that gives us the English, apologetics.
Matthew Henry writes, “We sanctify God before others when our behavior is such as invites and encourages others to glorify and honour him. When this principle is laid deeply into your hearts, the next thing, as to men, is to be always ready, that is, able and willing, to give an answer, or make an apology or defence, of the faith you profess, and that to every man that asketh a reason of your hope, what sort of hope you have, or which you suffer such hardships in the world. Learn, First, An awful sense of the divine perfections is the best antidote against the fear of sufferings; did we fear God more, we should certainly fear men less. Secondly, The hope and faith of a Christian are defensible against all the world. There may be a good reason given for religion; it is not a fancy but a rational scheme revealed from heaven, suited to all the necessities of miserable sinners, and centering entirely in the glory of God through Jesus Christ. Thirdly, Every Christian is bound to answer and apologize for the hope that is in him. Christians should have a reason ready for their Christianity, that it may appear they are not actuated either by folly or fancy. This defence may be necessary more than once or twice, so that Christians should be always prepared to make it, either to the magistrate, if he demand it, or to any inquisitive Christian, who desires to know it for his information or improvement. Fourthly, These confessions of our faith ought to be made with meekness and fear; apologies for our religion ought to be made with modesty and meekness, in the fear of God, with jealousy over ourselves, and reverence to our superiors.”
Our last occasion of the word “hope” in the New Testament appears in 1 John 3:3: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
Of this Adam Clarke writes, And every man that hath this hope in him - All who have the hope of seeing Christ as he is; that is, of enjoying him in his own glory; purifieth himself - abstains from all evil, and keeps himself from all that is in the world, viz., the lusts of the flesh, of the eye, and the pride of life. God having purified his heart, it is his business to keep himself in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. The apostle does not here speak of any man purifying his own heart, because this is impossible; but of his persevering in the state of purity into which the Lord hath brought him. The words, however, may be understood of a man's anxiously using all the means that lead to purity; and imploring God for the sanctifying Spirit, to cleanse the thoughts of his heart by its inspiration, that he may perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his name.
Alexander MacClaren tells us, "THE PURIFYING INFLUENCE OF HOPE: That is a very remarkable ‘and’ with which this verse begins. The Apostle has just been touching the very heights of devout contemplation, soaring away up into dim regions where it is very hard to follow,—’We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’ And now, without a pause, and linking his thoughts together by a simple ‘and,’ he passes from the unimaginable splendours of the Beatific Vision to the plainest practical talk. Mysticism has often soared so high above the earth that it has forgotten to preach righteousness, and therein has been its weak point. But here is the most mystical teacher of the New Testament insisting on plain morality as vehemently as his friend James could have done. The combination is very remarkable. Like the eagle he rises, and like the eagle, with the impetus gained from his height, he drops right down on the earth beneath! And that is not only a characteristic of St. John’s teaching, but it is a characteristic of all the New Testament morality—its highest revelations are intensely practical. Its light is at once set to work, like the sunshine that comes ninety millions of miles in order to make the little daisies open their crimson-tipped petals; so the profoundest things that the Bible has to say are said to you and me, not that we may know only, but that knowing we may do, and do because we are...
“So John, here: ‘We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’ ‘And’—a simple coupling-iron for two such thoughts—’every man that hath this hope in Him’—that is, in Christ, not in himself, as we sometimes read it—’every man that hath this hope,’ founded on Christ, ‘purifies himself even as He is pure...’ The thought is a very simple one, though sometimes it is somewhat mistakenly apprehended. Put into its general form it is just this:—If you expect, and expecting, hope to be like Jesus Christ yonder, you will be trying your best to be like Him here. It is not the mere purifying influence of hope that is talked about, but it is the specific influence of this one hope, the hope of ultimate assimilation to Christ leading to strenuous efforts, each a partial resemblance of Him, here and now.”
This concludes this evening's Discussion, “Hope, Part 6”
P.S. Tonight, we have concluded the major specific occurrences of the word, “hope” in Scripture. Next week I plan to review a topical presentation of “hope” next week. By “topical presentation” I mean that we will look at hope under the banners of Hope In God, Hope In Christ, Hope In God's promises, Hope In the mercy of God, Hope Is the work of the Holy Spirit, and other similar headings. Also, time permitting, I am going to read from a Daily Devotional I read which, right after I began this Series, had 4 or 5 devotionals all dedicated to the idea of Christian Hope. I found them to be very inspiring, and I want to share them with you. Those are my plans for next week.
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