Where Is The Hope?
Pastor Steve Ellison
Employers, physicians, rescue workers, psychiatrists, pastors, child welfare workers, emergency service personnel, hospice staff, etc. universally attest to the power of hope and to the tragic power of despair. Widows and widowers often die soon after the death of their spouse. Travelers lost in dire circumstances, employees trapped in dead end jobs, children who do not know where their next meal is coming from, cancer patients, etc. all seem to spiral downward quickly, unless they believe there is hope. The stories are everywhere and they are either thrilling or heartbreaking. Romans 15 identifies the source of the world’s most reliable hope. It is an unlimited supply of hope. It came at great cost to the giver. It costs the recipient nothing and yet at the same time, everything.
I have personally officiated at many funerals. I have personally sat in many hospital and hospice rooms. The absence or presence of hope is immediately and clearly apparent. Romans 15 is mostly concerned with teaching Christians to willingly lay down their rights for the good of their brothers and sisters. Christians are able to lay down their rights in this life for a variety of reasons including that they have hope, specifically hope in Christ. The word hope is found four times in Romans 15:4-13. Verse four states, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (NASU) Clearly if believers want hope, they need look no further than the Scriptures. Certainly this applies to the New Testament; however, if you need a reason to study the Old Testament, this verse is specifically referring to the Old Testament. An earnest and diligent life-long study of the Bible will convince you of the absolute faithfulness of God. That is sure and true Hope.
In verses nine through twelve, Paul quotes several Old Testament passages to emphasize that because of God’s great love and mercy, Gentiles have hope. He quotes 2 Samuel 22:50, Psalm 18:49, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 117:1, and Isaiah 11:10 to build the case that Gentiles ought to be full of joy and full of hope because of the mercy and love of God. He closes these quotes with, “There shall come the Root of Jesse, and He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles hope.” (NASU) If you are looking for real Hope, look to Christ.
Verse 13 ends this section of Scripture with, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NASU) Paul makes sure that we know where to find real hope to sustain us in all the troubles and trials of this earthly life. He identifies God the Father as “the God of hope”. Because of the fact that God is good, omnipotent, and completely faithful, we can be at peace because we have sustaining, joyful hope. Paul further went on to say that it was his desire that we not just be acquainted with hope but rather that we would abound with hope. He closes the thought with the obvious truth, that this will only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:4-13 plainly shows exactly where the hope is. Hope is centered in the Trinity of Hope, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Verse four points out that we can find this Trinity of Hope in the Bible. ….…….…..firstname.lastname@example.org