Our Christian Hope
“Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through he Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”- Romans 5:3–5
In addition to peace and access into the gracious presence of God, our justification—being declared righteous in Christ—also provides us with the blessing of the “hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1–2). Because we are in Christ, we have the hope of one day seeing the Lord face-to-face in all His refulgent glory, of being glorified ourselves so that we experience Him in the blessedness for which we were created (1 Cor. 13:12; 15:35–57; 1 John 3:2).
Let us not misunderstand what the Apostle means by the word hope. We often use the term hope to refer to something that may or may not happen, but Scripture views hope as a sure thing. Indeed, hope is related to that which we do not yet see (Rom. 8:24–25), but that does not make that for which we hope any less real than if we could see it right now. On this side of eternity, we do not see or experience the full glory of God, but this glory is certain. Its reality is so sure that it serves as an anchor for our souls (Heb. 6:13–20). Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in his commentary Romans: “Hope is not taking a deep breath and hoping things are going to turn out all right. It is assurance that God is going to do what he says he will do.”
This hope of final salvation is so certain that today we rejoice in it, knowing that it will never put us to shame (Rom. 5:2, 5). We need not fear that we will one day find out that our hope is unreal and that we will be embarrassed by the false confidence we had in it. We need never doubt that the final day will arrive. We can rejoice in it now, knowing that we will rejoice in it then. On account of this hope, we also rejoice in our sufferings (v. 3). This seems strange—who in their right mind gets excited about feeling pain? But Paul is not telling us to take joy in tribulation’s pain itself. Instead, as he expands upon his point in Romans 5:3–4, Paul says we rejoice in our sufferings on account of what they produce in us. As we suffer, our faith is tested and tried. The impurities are removed, and as we see the Lord keep His promises to us, we grow in the certainty that our hope is already providing for us.
Moreover, we are convinced that hope will not put us to shame because God has poured His own love into our hearts (v. 5). By His Spirit, He convinces us of His love for us, and being convinced of His love for us, we love Him in return, persevering in faith. Augustine wrote, “That God may be loved, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, not by the free choice whose spring is in ourselves but through the Holy Spirit, who is given to us.” Pouring His love for us into our hearts, He creates love for Him in us that perseveres to the end.
That God pours His love for us into our hearts helps us to be confident that those who receive such an outpouring will endure to the end in faith. If the Lord Himself convinces us of His own love for us, and He must do so since His love is an omnipotent and everlasting love, how can we not persevere until the end? As we grow in our knowledge of God’s love for us His people, we are encouraged to love Him more in return, and by this we know that we will see Him in glory.
Passages for Further Study
1 Peter 4:16