For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
I. WHAT IT IS. The hope of righteousness appears to be the hope of realizing righteousness, the hope of becoming righteous. In St. Paul's language a hope is not our subjective anticipation, but the thing for which we hope. Such a possession we as Christians anticipate.
1. Righteousness is a great treasure. It is a worthy object of desire. It is better than any rewards it may entail. To hunger and thirst after righteousness is to feel the deepest and purest appetite for the best of all spiritual possessions.
2. Righteousness is not yet enjoyed. It is a hope. Even the Christian who has the faith that admits to it has not yet the full heritage. The longer we live the higher does the magnificent ideal tower above us until it is seen reaching up to heaven. Some righteousness we enter into with the first effort of faith, but the foretaste is only enough to make us yearn for more;
3. We may confidently hope for righteousness. It is a hope, not a mere surmise, that urges us forward. We are encouraged by the promises of the gospel. It is a grand inspiring thought that every Christian has the prospect of ultimate victory over all sin and ultimate attainment of pure and spotless goodness.
II. HOW WE ARE TO REGARD IT. We are to wait for it.
1. We must exercise patience. Sudden perfect holiness is impossible. The idea that it has been attained is one of the most awful delusions that have ever ensnared the minds of good men. Physically, of course, it is possible for us never to sin, and to be perfectly holy, as physically there is nothing to prevent us from drawing a mathematically straight line; but in experience the one is no more realized than the other, and morally both are equally impossible. The law of life is progress by gradual development.
2. Nevertheless, we must earnestly anticipate the future righteousness, We must wait for it as those who wait for the morning, i.e. we must watch. To be indifferent about it is not to wait for it. Indifference will disinherit us from the hope.
III. WITH WHAT GRACE WE CAN THUS REGARD IT.
1. Through the Spirit. Here as often elsewhere we cannot be certain whether the apostle is referring to the Spirit of God or to our spirit. The two work together. Human spirituality is the fruit of the inspiration of the Divine Spirit. It is in this spiritual state of mind that we hate sin and long for righteousness, and have glimpses of the future that cheer us with the prospect of the great hope. Our desires and anticipations are always fashioned and coloured by the state of our hearts. Waiting for the hope of righteousness is a habit of soul only possible to those who are spiritually minded.
2. By faith. Here we come to the key and secret of the whole experience. Faith
(1) makes us heirs of righteousness;
(2) is the present assurance of things hoped for, and therefore of.this great hope; and
(3) leads us into that spiritual atmosphere where waiting tot the hope of righteousness becomes natural to us. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.