September 20, 2008

Hope Does Not Disappoint

This is a passage from my Bible study over on As It Is Written. I thought I'd post it here for encouragement to anyone who does not read my Bible studies. I hope you enjoy!

(On Romans 5:1-5)

Romans 5:4... What is the third thing sufferings produce? Or, what does tested character produce?
Character produces hope. Hope is a really good thing. It means to be waiting with expectation. When I was studying this word in the Bible, I thought of this example for hope: The Bible's definition of hope is similar to the feeling you get when you know it is sure your team is going to win. You are watching a football game, or playing soccer or something else, and everything is intense, then the time starts running out, and your team does something like scores or whatever, and you realize it's all over. The game is over - your team is going to win and now it is just a matter of time until it ends. And you begin to rejoice, even jump for joy, because you know it's finished. You know what the outcome is going to be, and so you are filled with hopeful expectation. That is the idea we get here. Suffering produces endurance in the justified believer's life, which produces tested proven character, which produces joyful hope.

Verse 5
and hope does not put us to shame because the love of God has been
poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given
to us.

What does hope not do for us? Hope does not put us to shame. The NASB says, "and hope does not disappoint." Verse 5 is the climax of all the spiritual blessings listed in Romans 5:1-5. Hope, which means "waiting in expectation" does not leave the justified ashamed or disappointed. Why not? How could someone have hope, and then end up disappointed or put to shame? Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."

...Now, we are reading here that while Christians may suffer extremely in this life, and we are promised that it will be so, nevertheless, this hope will not be deferred, it will be fulfilled. Christians may die, yet Christ, who is our hope, will return and will raise the dead. And this is how we know our hope will be fulfilled, because it says, "the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." I have often thought, how could I ever doubt God's love? How can I doubt His love when He has given me everything? He gave His Son, as we will see in verse 6, and He gave me His Holy Spirit to be in me and with me. Through the Holy Spirit, God has poured out His love into the hearts of those of us who are justified. The Holy Spirit is given as a down payment, or as an engagement ring. He is the seal of God's promise that He will save those who are justified by faith. This love of God is poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. So if you have the Holy Spirit, then God's love has been poured into your hearts through Him and you have this hope that will never put you to shame, because it will be fulfilled!

Hope really does produce joy, and that is what I was attempting to show throughout the study of this section of Romans. To read the entire article and get the context of the lesson on hope, click here.

Grace, peace and love to all who hope in God through Jesus. (Romans 5:11).
Here is a song I found on UTube by Sarah Groves. I think it relates big time to hope, because it convicted me to look forward to the promise of God instead of back to "Egypt."

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