“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” – Lamentations 3:21-25 (ESV)
At Christmas time we might hear and say much about “peace” and “joy” and experience great happiness. But not always. Not for everyone. Christmas time can also be a very difficult time for many. Who we celebrate and what we remember at Christmas is the birth of Jesus who was born in Bethlehem and lived there for maybe two years or more. The birth of Jesus, who is the Christ (Messiah) was the fulfillment of prophecies given by God to prophets, whose stories are written in the books of the Old Testament. Jeremiah was one of those prophets. Today’s verse, found right in the middle of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. He states clearly his reason for hope in the middle of his sorrow over the destruction, captivity, and exile of Judah. He calls to mind the lovingkindness, the mercies, the faithfulness of God. He declares that God is enough – his portion – and the reason for Jeremiah’s hope. Then the promise for us, that the LORD, is good to those who wait and seek him. Today, whatever our circumstances or memories, let’s seek Him while we wait and find in His word His goodness. It will give us hope also.
“My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.” – Psalm 62:5-6 (NASB)
There are times in our lives that our best option is to back away from our worries and take a respite, like a breather. The idea of waiting in silence as we read in this verse is very close to the idea of resting. God created us humans and gave us a physical body that needs rest for recuperation from the work we do. God also gave us a soul which also requires rest and we get that rest by waiting for God in silence. When we wait we can hear and learn to believe in God’s promises. That’s what gives us hope and that hope comes from God. Our word ‘hope’ means a way to wish. We want but don’t know if we will get it and perhaps will be disappointed. But God created us to have hope that comes from Him and never disappoints us. Our hope grows and gets stronger as we wait in silence. As we wait in silence, we think about and meditate on what God has promised. He promises hope from his unchangeable character and lovingkindness. Today let’s do it; let’s wait only for God and for Him alone.
Therefore having been justified on the principle of faith, we have peace towards God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom we have also access by faith into this favour in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.– Romans 5:1-2 (DARBY)” Since we have considered these two verses over the past two days, today we look again in a different version of the Bible.
In the fifth chapter of Romans, we’ve already considered the first two verses mining for the promises God has given to us. All who by faith believe that God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to live his live on earth in human flesh. God’s purpose was accomplished when after living a perfect life, without sin, Jesus was sacrificed on the cross while carrying the sins of the world. He paid in full the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). Everyone who believes in Him and repents, receives eternal life. So far we have noted two links which secures our eternal future. The Apostle Paul specifies two links securing our salvation; we have peace with God (v.1); we have access to be standing in grace (v.2). Also in verse 2 we find that we have a sure hope of glory. The third link, (v. 2) promises us access and hope, and standing in grace we make our boast in this hope of the glory of God. Our hope will positively not disappoint. It is amazing to recognize that this hope is ours. Proclaiming this hope we will never be ashamed for it is solid true.
“we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 1b-2 (NASB)
As we read yesterday, we have a relationship with God based on objective peace. We were brought into this relationship of peace through our Lord Jesus Christ and by no self-effort or work. And now, “through whom [that is Christ] also we have obtained our introduction by faith.” Again, to be clear, our introduction, our access, to grace is by faith; and it’s through Christ alone. Everything is because of Him. This truth is rich, it has boundaries which are untouchable and unreachable. “Through whom” ⸺ Jesus Christ, ⸺ we have peace with God and through Him we stand in grace. It’s because of Him. Peace with God is a first link and standing in grace is a second link to our security in Christ. The key thought is that the intercession of Christ brings all this to us all. Through Christ “we have obtained our introduction,” or literally, obtained our access (see NKJV). The word “access,” here is translated in the NASB by the word ‘introduction,’ which in Greek means access, entrée. It is a word of epic importance. It’s a staggering word. Through Christ alone we have access by faith into God’s realm where grace overflows.
“Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:22 (ESV)
The last verse in Psalm 33 is a short prayer. This is really a prayer of faith. When we think of God’s love as enduring and never failing, that is faith. We believe that God loves us and always will. The “steadfast love” can also be rendered as “unfailing love” and we can believe that God loves us and always will. Our verse also mentions our hope and of course that is not wishful thinking, it is expectation. When we expect God to show us His love that is also faith. So, in faith, let’s expect God to demonstrate his steadfast love to us. And, let’s expect it to be not a once in a while experience but a lasting all time experience. That’s what it means to have God’s love resting upon us all the time. God’s love is with us all the time, that is a promise God has given to us and we can trust in it with a hope that will not disappoint us – not ever.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” – 1 Peter 1:3 (NASB)
When we hear the term “born again” we need to keep in mind that many have used it in ways to make it commonly misunderstood – especially from its original meaning in the Bible. In our verse today we have a promise of God’s great mercy. He has caused us (faith believers) to be reborn with a living hope. Again we consider the difference between the today’s usage of ‘hope for’ and the living hope that Christ has provided. Our hope in Jesus is a living hope. We have absolute assurance because what we hope for has already been done. We have already a living hope and all it promises in Jesus Christ. When Jesus died physically while hanging on the cross, He, the Son of Man, was absolutely dead. He had committed His spirit into the hands of God the Father. But Jesus did not remain dead. He was resurrected to a new life. That is what our living hope is about – we too have in Christ the benefits of His resurrection. He has already caused it to happen for us through our spiritual birth. It’s a hope that is alive and never will disappoint us.
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;” – 1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NASB)
It was about A.D. 51 when the Apostle Paul wrote from Corinth this letter to those believers in Thessalonica. They constituted the church which was founded on Paul’s second mission trip. With Paul was Timothy and Silas, so it is those three that make up the “we.” Paul was a man of prayer and he with his companions prayed frequently for the all those who were in the church. Paul uses a favorite three-fold combination of faith, hope and love. The Thessalonians’ response to the preaching of the gospel in their midst established indisputable proof of their salvation. The evidence of God’s love for the Thessalonian believers was His choice of them unto salvation. From the Greek word translated chosen (eklogēn) comes our English “election.” That God has chosen to bless some individuals with eternal life is clearly taught in many places in both the Bible. Likewise clear, is the fact that God holds each of us personally responsible for our decision to trust or not to trust in Jesus Christ. Verse six affirms their choice as they followed Paul and in his submission to Jesus as Lord and Savior.
“ …and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:4-5 (ESV)
Aren’t there times for each person when what is hoped for ends in deep disappointment and even shame? We stake our hope on uncertain outcomes and when it fails us, we may well be downcast for a time. This isn’t the kind of hope that we receive as believers from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We’ve learned that even the times of sufferings are times that produce good traits in us. Endurance, character, and hope are mentioned in our verse. In this promise is this hope. A hope than will never result in our shame or disappointment. The hope comes from God and is built upon His Word and His promises. How is it we can be so certain that this hope won’t disappoint us? Because it comes as a result of God pouring His love into our hearts. This is the ministry of His Holy Spirit. This is why God gave to us His Spirit dwells within us never to leave us without His encouragement and counsel. We’re assured by God and so our hope is in that assurance. We are His precious people and He our marvelous God.
“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)
The verse selected for today is often a favorite. Many take the promise in this verse as if it is given directedly to each believer. In a much larger sense it is true but not in the primary sense. Jeremiah, was sent to give God’s messages and warning to the His people in the Kingdom of Judah. (The northern Kingdom of Israel was gone and its people dispersed.) Warnings of conquest and destruction were repeatedly given to them by God through Jeremiah and each was ignored, mocked, and disregarded. They treated Jeremiah treacherously with malice and physical torture. But look one verse back to Jeremiah 20:10 we have the necessary context. God promises a time to bring the captives back from Babylon after seventy years in exile. Not all came back but God is promising in verse 11. God promised welfare and no longer calamity. He promised a future and a hope. While not directly in this verse, God has promised each believer a future and a hope. We too have this promise of welfare and not calamity from God from God. We find these promises many places. He gives us hope that is absolute and never disappoints.
“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:7-8 (NASB)
It’s Christmas Day on our calendar and our thoughts are turned to the Gift of Gifts, Jesus the Son of God. Remembering so many other names we can use; King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. We might think our selected verse is sort of unusual for this day. But, no. It is appropriate in many ways that we recall and think about the reason we have this day on our calendar and what we celebrate God becoming fully Man while remaining fully God. It is mind blowing. Let’s take time to contemplate this extraordinary situation.. If the Son of God came to help us stop sinning — to destroy the works of the devil — and if he also came to die so that, when we do sin, there is a propitiation, a removal of God’s wrath, then what does this imply for living our life? For the next three posts, thanks to notes from John Piper’s “Solid Joys”, we will look at three gifts which God in Christ has given us. They are, A Clear Purpose for Living, Hope That Our Failures Will Be Forgiven, and Christ Will Help Us.