Standing in Grace - Part 5

Theme: Hope of Glory

This week’s lessons discuss the important benefits that come to every Christian because of their justification given by Jesus Christ.

Scripture: Romans 5:2

Paul wrote the fifth chapter of Romans to teach those who have been justified by God through faith in Jesus Christ that they are secure in their salvation. We have already seen several ways he has done this. He has spoken of the “peace” which has been made between God and ourselves by the work of Christ, of our mystical union with Christ, and of the different way you and I are able to regard suffering because of our knowledge of what God is doing with us. The last thing I want to look at is what Paul calls “the hope of the glory of God.”

“Hope of the glory of God” concerns glorification, our ultimate destiny as believers. So the phrase is an anticipation of the statement in Romans 8:30: “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Justification leads to glorification, because if God has justified us, he will also glorify us.

Here are two important points about glorification. First, this glorious culmination of our salvation by God is certain. I have been saying this in different ways throughout this study, but it is necessary to emphasize this here especially because of Paul's use of the word “hope.” In our day “hope” is a weak word. The dictionary defines it pretty well when it says: “desire with expectation of obtaining what is desired,” “trust,” “reliance.” But in common speech we usually mean much less than this. We speak of “hoping against hope” or “hoping for the best,” which means we are not really very hopeful.

This is not what hope means in the Bible. In the Bible hope is a certainty, and the only reason it is called “hope” rather than “certainty” is that we do not possess the thing that is hoped for yet, though we will. Here are some examples of how “hope” is used.

Acts 2:26, 27—“My body...will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave.”
1 Corinthians 13:13—“These three remain: faith, hope, and love.”
2Corinthians 1:7—“Our hope for you is firm.”
Colossians 1:27—“Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Titus 1:2—“Hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.”
Titus 2:13—“We wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Hebrews 6:19, 20—“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.”
I Peter 1:3—“God...has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

In each of those passages hope is a certain thing. For even though we do not possess the hoped-for thing yet, we are certain of it since it has been won for us by Christ and has been promised to us by God “who does not lie.” Clearly, those who have been justified are to look forward to their final and full glorification with confidence.

The second and last point is this. In 1 John 3:1-3 the apostle is speaking of the return of Jesus Christ and of the fact that when he appears we shall be like him. He calls this our “hope.” But this is not something having to do only with the future, says John. It has a present significance too. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.” Our hope that we will be like Jesus motivates us to be like him now. It leads us to live as pure a life as possible.

Study Questions:

  1. How does the common understanding of hope differ from how the Bible defines it?
  2. According to 1 John 3, how does hope also have a present significance?

Application: In what specific ways can you use your knowledge of a future hope to live a holy life next week?

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