Romans 8:24, 25
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?…
The Christian, like the rest of the creation, waifs for full redemption, but consciously and aspiringly. He is an heir who has not yet entered into the possession of his inheritance. He is saved from the guilt of sin, and is being released from its power. His sun is veiled under morning clouds, and he shall soon rejoice in cloudless splendour. A state of hope is the condition in which and the instrument by which he works out his complete salvation.
I. HOPE IS EXERCISED ON THE UNSEEN. What we see is here before us; what we hope for is still in the future - the invisible womb of time. Faith and hope are inseparable companions; where the former is, the latter is nigh. Hope is faith in the attitude of looking towards better things to come. It vividly pictures the approaching glory, and is "the present enjoyment of future good." Christian hope is not a mirage that mocks the heart, but is surely grounded on the work of Christ, who has revealed the character of God and his far-reaching purpose of love. Many a man depending on high expectations has found them baseless; the legacy is absent, the coveted post is given to another. When the sceptic talks of a bird in the hand being preferable to two in the bush, we reply that by the very nature of the case Christian anticipation is precluded from being satisfied with the temporal. "We look for new heavens and a new earth."
II. HOPE DRIVES OUT DESPAIR, THE FOE OF PATIENCE. Where despondency grows, there activity ceases. What means that sudden splash, that piercing cry, except that life has been quenched because the light of hope had vanished first? The gospel, by its promise of a free pardon for the penitent sinner, rolls away the burden from the back, enables the criminal to take heart of grace, and to exchange the dungeon of dreary fate for the glad sunlight of a new lease of endeavour after righteousness. There is a danger of succumbing to the weariness of the long Christian journey, but hope grasps the future and draws us thereto. Hopeful, in the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' had much ado to keep his brother's head above the water; but he comforted him saying, "Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us."
"Hope, like the glimmering taper's light,
Adorns and cheers the way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray." We are not as shipwrecked mariners, uncertain if any vessel shall pass near enough to succour us; we know that, if we wait patiently, "he that cometh will come, and will not tarry."
III. HOPE FITS THE SOUL FOR ITS FUTURE ARENA OF GLORY. For every state certain qualifications are requisite, if we would play a proper part therein. Dr. Johnson would like due notice of Burke's visits, that he might prepare himself for the lofty conversation certain to ensue. The young lady prepares herself for the engagements of society, and to acquit herself gracefully on her presentation at court. It is the hope of after-practice that inspires the labour of the student barristers and doctors. The necessary waiting is a beneficial discipline testing perseverance and fidelity. The disciple of Christ can abstain from worldly indulgences because of more cherished longings. He will not barter away his birthright even though faint with hunger. "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself." Hope is the great engine of progress and reformation. Israel under Ezra could ratify a covenant of amendment, because "there was hope for Israel concerning this thing." - S.R.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?