Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
I. COMES FROM GOD.
1. Worldly hope rests upon favouring circumstances — our own powers. It hangs often upon a slender thread. "Hope centred in that child." How often parents with broken hearts have said that.
2. Few are atheists in theory, but many are such in their feelings. They are hopeless because they are godless. On the other hand, the Christian is first of all a believer in God as revealed in Christ. God therefore is the giver and the foundation of his hope.
II. COMES "THROUGH JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING."
1. It comes not to a heart that is without faith. It comes not from a creed repeated, or held merely intellectually. It comes from a faith that yields the affections, the will, the whole life to God. Are there "Christians" without faith? Then they are also without hope. Are they without "joy and peace"? Then they are also without hope.
2. Peace and joy in believing make God known. This is the logic of the heart. "Such joy and such peace can come only from God." The joy of pardon and cleansing is the faith that only God can pardon and cleanse.
3. "Peace and joy in believing" are the firstfruits of Heaven. They are like the two faithful spies who came back loaded with the rich clusters of the promised inheritance. Larger faith, permanent faith, mean larger and more permanent hope. Being "justified by faith," our tribulations work patience, our patience experience, our experience hope.
4. And this hope is for others as well as for ourselves. The man whose hope is confined to his individual interests is not a Christian. Under the stimulus of "joy and peace in believing" we argue: "The God who has pardoned my sins can pardon others."
III. IS BY THE POWER OF THE "HOLY GHOST."
1. Like all other elements of the Christian life, hope is inspired. It is not a natural impulse. The lack of hope argues, then, a lack of spiritual life. Do we find persons professing faith in Christ, and yet living drearily? It may mean enfeebled health, or overtaxed nerves. It may mean also that they have not "received the Holy Ghost." And when we remember this saintly apostle who writes of hope, yet has an enfeebled body, and nerves constantly taxed by toils and perils, we can conclude what the lack of despondent Christians most commonly is.
2. Our hope is not for the sanguine only, but for persons of every shade of temperament.Conclusion:
1. Our hope is not a selfish emotion. God never inspires mortals with any sort of selfishness, not even with religious selfishness. The hope we cherish, if it reflects the spirit of Christ, will be large-hearted. It will rest upon "the God of Hope," as the God who rules over all the world.
2. It is an exclusively Christian possession. Such is the unavoidable inference from the text. Men who are not Christians are "without God and without hope."
(E. McChesney, Ph.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.