That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Who first hoped in Christ. Hope, as one of the great springs of human action, is to be distinguished from simple foresight or simple expectation; for the one may be a foresight of evil, the other an expectation of coming misfortune. Hope, on the contrary, is the expectation of future good. We do not hope for mistake, or for misfortune, or for pain; we hope for what will fill our future with brightness. "Hope is the noblest offspring, the first born, the last buried child of foreseeing and forecasting man." Hope is often illusive, but the hope of the gospel is real on account of its deep, strong, and immutable foundations.
I. JESUS CHRIST IS THE TRUE FOUNDATION or OUR HOPE. So strongly linked with it, indeed, that he is expressly called "our Hope" (1 Timothy 1:2), and "the Hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). To have hope in Christ is a higher thing than to have hope directed towards Christ. What is there in the person or work of Christ to awaken or sustain our hope?
1. In his atonement there is a foundation laid for the hope of pardon in the heart of the chiefest of sinners.
2. In his present work as our High Priest and Intercessor there is a foundation laid for the hope of purification.
3. Christ in us "dwelling in us by faith" - is the assurance of our hope; for it is Christ in us who is the Hope of glory.
4. Christ is the Pattern of our hope, for when he shall appear, we hope to be like him, being "predestinated to be conformed to his image."
5. The climax of our hope will be reached at his appearing, for that is the blessed hope of the Church. We are "to hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13).
II. THE SOURCE OF OUR HOPE IN CHRIST. We are predestinated thereunto (Ephesians 1:11). It is the "God of hope" who causes us "to abound in hope" (Romans 15:13); it is he who gives us "a good hope through grace" - not of nature or man's merits, for it is ascribed to his "abundant mercy" as the spring of it (1 Peter 1:3); and he gives us "the patience and comfort of the Scriptures, that we may have hope" (Romans 15:4).
III. IT IS A HIGH PRIVILEGE TO HAVE AN EARLY HOPE IN CHRIST. "Who first hoped in Christ." This was the great privilege of the Jews. The Gentiles were last, not first, in their enjoyment of Christ. The Apostle Paul deemed Andronicus and Junia highly favored, because "they were in Christ before him" (Romans 16:7). It must always be subject of pious regret that we had not an earlier experience of Christ; for we should thus have been preserved from many sins and follies; we should have had such a fuller enjoyment of his gospel, and we should have had many more opportunities of doing good. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.