For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
I. CONSIDER FAITH IN CHRIST.
1. Explain the nature of it.
(1) This includes in it an assent to the truth of Christ's being appointed of God, to be a Mediator betwixt Him and the sinful children of men.
(2) An hearty acceptance of Him to be our Saviour, as He is proposed to us in the gospel. The apostle tells us that with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, so as to be justified, to be entitled to life (Romans 10:10). Justifying faith is not seated only in the head, but in the heart.
(3) True and saving faith in Christ imports a dependence upon Him.
2. It is our duty to believe in Christ.
(1) The evidences of God's appointment of Jesus to be Mediator betwixt Him and men are sufficient to convince all attentive unprejudiced persons, upon whom the light of the gospel shines. The exact accomplishment of the many ancient prophecies recorded in the Old Testament, relating to the Messiah, in our Lord Jesus; the miracles wrought by Him in the presence of enemies, as well as friends, who could not deny the reality of them; and His resurrection from the dead on the third day.
(2) As it is "a faithful saying," so it is "worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."(3) We all need Christ and His salvation, therefore it behoves us greatly to accept of Him.
(4) Christ Jesus is an all-sufficient Saviour, therefore we ought to believe in Him, to depend upon Him.
(5) We are expressly required in the Word of God to believe in Christ Jesus. A heart of unbelief is emphatically styled an evil heart; it rebels against the word of the living God, and departs from Him (Hebrews 3:12). Having showed that it is our duty to believe in Jesus Christ, give me leave to subjoin a few remarks.
1. Though it be our duty to believe in the Lord Jesus, and this should be pressed upon our consciences, yet we need the aids of Divine grace to enable us to discharge this duty; therefore we should ask them of God.
2. It is not only the duty of persons, when they are first awakened to a sense of sin, to believe in Jesus Christ; those also who have received Him should be daily exercising faith in Him.
II. CONSIDER HOPE IN CHRIST.
1. Let us consider what it is true Christians hope for in the Lord Jesus.
(1) True Christians hope that the Lord Jesus will keep "that which they have committed unto Him against the great day."(2) They hope that He will "present them faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy."(3) True Christians hope through the Lord Jesus to be admitted to dwell for ever with Him in His Father's house.
2. Let us inquire into the reasons of this their hope in Christ.
(1) God's appointment of the Lord Jesus to the work of mediation encourages the hope of believers in Him.
(2) The dignity of Christ's Person encourages believers to hope in Him. We are expressly told in His Word that He hath "laid help upon One that is mighty" (Psalm 89:19).
(3) The resurrection, ascension, and intercession of Christ encourage the hope of believers in Him.
(4) The compassion of Christ is a reason of believers' hope in Him. Though He be "a great High Priest," and "is passed into the heavens," yet He is not such a One "as cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:14, 15, 16).
(5) The promises of God in Christ Jesus greatly support the hope of believers in Him; they have a promise of very ancient date to bear up their hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2).Concluding reflections:
1. We may hence learn that true Christians should be ready always to answer every man that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them. Seeing it is so reasonable, so well grounded, they should never be ashamed of it, nor suffer themselves to be moved from it by the vain cavils of men.
2. Is our hope in Christ Jesus? Then it should be our great care to "glorify His name, and to adorn His doctrine in all things." And in order hereto let us live answerably to our hope in Him.
3. It behoves us to be very solicitous that we do not take up with such a hope as shall make us ashamed. The salvation proposed by Jesus Christ to His disciples is inexpressibly great; and it should be our great concern that our expectations of it be not disappointed. "Not every one that says unto Christ, "Lord, Lord," that pretends respect for Him, "shall enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 7:21). "The hope of the hypocrite shall perish."
Parallel VersesKJV: For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.