“ …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.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13 (ESV)
Three words which we use often in our thoughts and conversations. But does our use reflect the power and fullness of these words for us? The first is Joy and this verse should fill our hearts with rejoicing. We fully believe that these blessings are for us today just as they were available to the Christians in Rome to whom these words were written long ago. God desires to fill us with joy. God also offers to us Peace. But the peace God gives is not the peace found in this world. Peace treaties and conferences and summits all mean just one thing – lack of conflict between warring parties. The peace from God is the removal of the hostility that separates us from Him and binds us to His love. If our hearts and minds are disturbed by some crisis or difficulty, God wants to fill us with His peace. If you are wondering about your eternal future God wants to remove the uncertainty and doubt and fill us with His Hope. His joy, peace and hope are our promise today and so we give thanks God for His love.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 (ESV)
Our verse is in a context that makes known the creation* and believers* both groan for ultimate restoration, the Holy Spirit does as well. One of the last promises Jesus made to His disciples was that he would send a helper and fulfilled it through the Holy Spirit sent from God our Father. The groanings too deep for words is communication within the Trinity that cannot be expressed in words. It is the Holy Spirit that works with our Lord Jesus in His high priestly work of intercession. All on our behalf for all who have believed in Jesus as their Savior, have the Holy Spirit in their lives. The Holy Spirit is helping us to pray by praying with us to our Heavenly Father. To start with, we really don’t know in ourselves how we should pray. God promises that if we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us He will impress on our hearts what things to pray for and even how to pray. As we pray we can trust the Spirit to pray with us and we can depend
* For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23
“…but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” – Romans 16:19b-20 (NASB)
The wisdom the Apostle Paul advocates in these verses is more than “knowledgeability” as one commentary puts it. It is a spiritual as well as a mental quality. Paul wants the recipients of this letter to live in such a manner that they will be equal to the task of choosing what is good in the eyes of God, and that they will be innocent and guileless about evil. They should be wise for the purpose of doing and promoting what is right, and should not get “mixed up” with anything that, in God’s sight, is wrong. God promises to exercise his sovereign will in the interest of his people!
- He will crush Satan. He will fulfil the promise of Genesis. 3:15. Not Satan but God is Victor.
- He will crush him under your feet. Those who are co-heirs (Romans 8:17) are also co-conquerors.
- He will do so soon. In a sense it is true that God is crushing Satan right along. A most decisive victory was won on Calvary. There can be no doubt about it, though, that the present passage has reference to the final, victory of God over Satan.
William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 12-13:512–513.
“ What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” – Romans 9:14-16 (ESV)
There might be many different reasons that we find ourselves not understanding the ways of God. Today, is one of those times. Our temptation is to question the why of something that happened because we didn’t want it to or thought it shouldn’t be. As true faith believers, we know that God has not made any mistake today because He never makes mistakes. We have prayed fervently for a close friend who today was called home to be with Jesus. Now, we continue to pray for his family. His wife and daughter and father-in-law in need of God’s mercy and compassion. This family lost both grandmothers in the last year and a half. But our promise today is a good one. God promises no injustice (that’s the no mistake promise). So if in weakness we may argue God is not just, Paul the Apostle says BY NO MEANS! “May it Never Be!” The Authorized Version says, “God Forbid!” NO MISTAKES, even in the toughest circumstances. It is God who gives and who desires to give Mercy and Compassion in abundance as He wills. It is God who has unbounded supply of mercy and it is He who will give it as we need it.
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” – Romans 8:24-25 (ESV)
We continue talking about hope, and by that we mean hope that has faith as its foundation. It is not a ‘wistful’ hope but a hope out of conviction that God’s promises are ours to keep and trust. “Seeing is believing” but that isn’t believing by faith and it isn’t “seeing is hoping.” Even our faith is a gift from God. Because of our faith, we have hope that what we do not see now is yet truly ours. It is not really hope at all if we say we hope in what we can see and confirm. We do not really have hope for what we see when assurance and proof is right in front of them. We hope for heaven and that hope will not disappoint; we know it is ours although we do not see it now. We have our hope in God’s promises, in His word. God has said, “Take My word on it.” So, we can and do that with faith and hope from God. It is because of that hope and our conviction in the promises that we are able to patiently wait for it to be.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13 (ESV)
In the letter the Apostle Paul wrote and sent to the believers in Rome, he takes time to proclaim how our God seeks to fulfill a promise He made to the patriarchs of the people of Israel. God has intended from the beginning to include in His plan of salvation, all nations, all people, all races without distinction. To the Jews at the time, all non-Jewish people were called Gentiles. This is the term Paul uses to identify all the people in the world, Jews and non-Jews. God is the source of eternal hope, life, and salvation for every person. He is the object of hope for every believer. Unlike our English. word “hope,” the New Testament word contains no uncertainty or ambiguity. This hope expresses something that is certain, but not yet realized. The believer’s eventual providence is to share in the glory of God and that hope will be realized because Christ Himself secures it (1 Timothy 1:1). It is only because of the clear and positive promises we have in the Word of God, that we believers have a sure foundation for hope. It is a hope that will not disappoint.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” Romans 6:6-7 (ESV)
Looking back over the past six years, we notice that when July 4 is the date on our calendar, each year we have considered the truth found in John 8:31. This year we focus on Romans 6:7. Freedom is a word dear to most of us. Nobody wants slavery? We want freedom and some have more than others. But here we learn a way to be free and it’s equally available to all people. Our circumstances can block our freedom. The country, or the political powers that rule us, can’t take this freedom from us. You see, we are slaves to sin because we are born that way. No matter how hard we try to be good, we fall short of being good enough. But when we in faith believe the promise of eternal life from God, our body of sin that has us in bondage is put to death and we are born into God’s family. We gain freedom from sin. We are no longer guilty but Christ has paid the wages for our sin. This freedom matters and makes an eternal difference. We can have it wherever we are whatever circumstances of our life.
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” – Romans 5:10-11 (ESV)
Before most of us came to believe by faith that Jesus Christ is our savior, we lived thinking that we’re pretty good people. We even believed a God exists. All we had to do was live a good life. However, we remained enemies because by not believing, we were rejecting God. We were at odds and in conflict with God. Our promise today is: God provided a way for all who would believe to be reconciled to Him while still enemies. He made a way for us to have peace. This was accomplished by the death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Since reconciliation was provided by Him for all who believed, all can trust absolutely in the truth that they will be saved by Christ. The promises don’t end with that. Our reconciliation comes with our rejoicing in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine being in a serious conflict with someone who spent all his time doing what you need to cross over and join their side. Imagine all he does is to make a way for you to be able to be his friends and brother/sister with him. Forgive and forget – that’s His way.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” – Romans 5:8-9 (NASB)
Truth has always been absolute – even when mixed in with untruthful statements, the part that is true is absolutely true. Today we hear that there is “my truth” and “your truth” even when they contradict one another. This leaves “truth” that cannot really be trusted, doesn’t it? It’s relative truth which isn’t truth. A politician’s promises are spoken and we understand that there is little if anything to trust in those false promises. We learn to distrust because of the pattern of untruthfulness. God has a different way His truth is absolute and based on His character. We can trust Him because of His pattern of truthfulness. When God says He loves us, we can know it is the truth. He demonstrated and proved His love before we were redeemed by Him, when we were still separated from Him by our sin. Doing nothing for it, God demonstrated His love toward us. We have been justified by Christ’s shedding His blood His death and resurrection. The promise He gave us is that we will be saved from the wrath of God’s judgment through believing in Christ Jesus. We’re secure in His Absolute Truthful Word.