|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Part three of a series. Read part two.
Jesus Christ is the hope of everyone who trusts in Him - Jew and Gentile, in all periods of history, under the Old Covenant and under the New Covenant. The promises of God in Christ are not only a hope for the future, they are the hope of present reality.
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: "For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name." And again he says: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!" And again: "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!" And again, Isaiah says: "There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope."
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:4-13)
In our last article we saw that the hope of which the Holy Spirit speaks through the Apostle Paul is rooted in the Scriptures. It is not a nebulous hope based on our feelings, wishes or whims, but is rooted in Biblical facts. The Apostle Paul has spent the first eleven chapters of Romans expounding those facts. In the chapters that follow he is explaining what the facts of our salvation mean for the daily life and future hope of the believer.
This brings us to the second fact on which our hope is founded, and that is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. What He has done, is now doing, and will do in the future forms the confirmation and the fulfillment of that hope.
Verse 8 - In verse 9 Paul declares that Jesus Christ in His saving work on our behalf has confirmed the promises that were made to the fathers. Among these are the promise of redemption that God made to Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter three; the promise of a people that God made to Abraham in Genesis chapter 12 and repeated in Genesis chapter 15; the promises that God confirmed to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to David, and all the way down through the line of the prophets.
And not only the promise of redemption, but the promise of the Redeemer. The promise of deliverance from sin and death and the curse; the promise of all that we need to live this life; the promise of comfort in trials; the promise that God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus; the promise that He will never leave us not forsake us; the promise of the life to come, of New Heavens and a New Earth, and the promise of ruling and reigning with Christ forever. All the promises of God are in Christ.
Notice also that Paul is making it clear that these promises are not for the Jew only, not only for the Old Testament fathers, not only for those who received the promises in the Old Testament - the promises are also for the Gentile. They are for all of God's people. At the end of the roll-call of faith in Hebrews chapter 11, the inspired writer puts it this way: "And all these [the people of the Old Testament], having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise" - they did not see the fulfillment - "God having provided something better for us [today], [in order] that they should not be made complete apart from us."
There is one body of believers in Christ from the beginning of time to the end. Jesus Christ is the hope of everyone who trusts in Him, Jew and Gentile, in all ages, in all periods of history, under the Old Covenant and under the New Covenant. In John chapter ten, Jesus said to the Jews, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold." He was speaking of the Gentiles. "Them also I must bring," He said, "and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:16)
Furthermore, Paul tells us that the Scriptures always spoke in this way from the very beginning, and in verses 9-12 he gives us four examples:
The first, in verse 9, is from 2nd Samuel chapter 22 - "For this reason I will confess You among the Gentiles, and sing to your name."
The second, in verse 10, is from all the way back in Deuteronomy chapter 32 - "Rejoice O Gentiles, with His people."
The third, in verse 11, is from Psalm 117 - "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples."
The fourth, in verse 12, is from Isaiah chapter 11, and it is one of the great prophecies of the coming of Jesus Christ: "There shall be a root of Jesse, and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall have hope."
The promises of God in Christ are our hope of future glory. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." (1 Corinthians 15:19) In Colossians 1:27 Paul tells us that "Christ in you [is] the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)
But the promises of God in Christ are not only a hope for the future. They are the hope of present reality. In fact, the Apostle Paul has already talked about this at the beginning of Romans chapter five:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:1-6)
"Hope does not disappoint." What Paul is saying is that the hope of the believer is not a deceptive hope. It is not a false hope. The hope of the Christian is the expectation that we shall without fail receive all the promises of God. All the promises of God are in Christ, Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians chapter 1, beginning at verse 20. And in that passage he goes on to say that the fact that God has given each of us His indwelling Holy Spirit is the guarantee of the promises. Furthermore, the Scriptures declare that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). In the original Greek there is actually no verb in that sentence. In the Greek that makes the statement true without any time limitation. What it declares was, is, and will be true. The unchangeableness of our Lord Jesus Christ is axiomatic - a foundational, incontrovertible fact.
Where do we find the facts about Christ, and the promises that are ours in Him? We find them only in the Scriptures. The Bible is a book of facts. The Scriptures are the source of our fact-based hope. "That you, through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." And who is the confirmation and the fulfillment of that hope? Jesus Christ Himself.
Next: God's Desire: That We May Abound in Hope
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