in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, would be for the praise of His glory.
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.
That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.I. TO BE BROUGHT TO FAITH BEFORE OTHERS IS A PREROGATIVE WHICH PERSONS SO CALLED HAVE ABOVE OTHERS.
1. Let us acknowledge their dignity. The young rise up before the ancient in nature; so should it be with us who are babes, when we meet with those who are veterans in Christ (see Romans 16:6; 1 Corinthians 16:15).
2. Let those so honoured walk worthy of their dignity, by adorning their age in Christ with graces corresponding, such as experience, wisdom, weanedness, all kinds of mortification. Should one of fifty have no more wisdom and staidness than another at fifteen, it would make their old age despicable.
II. THE END OF ALL THE BENEFITS WE OBTAIN IN CHRIST IS, THAT WE MAY SET FORTH HIS GLORIOUS GRACE AND MERCY TOWARD US. Let our words, our works, our whole man be at His command and service. The Church in the Canticles so praises the beauty of her spouse, that she wakens others; so should we from our hearts set forth the praise of our Christ, that others may by our means be brought to inquire after Him. Those who find bounteous masters on earth, how will they tell of their affability and liberality, of every circumstance wherein they do them any grace and favour? How will they protest themselves devoted to their service; how impatient are they of anything which so much as seems to tend to their disparagement? What a shame, then, it is that we should walk, neither feeling our hearts affected, nor yet opening our mouths to praise Him who has redeemed us and brought us to the hope of an immortal and incorruptible inheritance.
(A. P. Perceval, B.C. L.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
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