“ …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.
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, And what kind of wisdom is in them?” – Jeremiah 8:8-9 (NASB)
Throughout Scripture God makes promises that are either judgments or warnings of the same. That is what we find today in our passage. One of God’s prophets delivered a grave warning. It was a critical time for the Kingdom of Judah. Even the scribes and religious leaders were spinning the Word of God into lies and led the people deceitfully and away from God. Pretending they were wise; God promises shame and dismay and exposes their foolishness. Why is this happening in Churches today? Because preachers of the Gospel are rejecting the Word of the Lord. They deny inspiration by God the Holy Spirit, and they deny its authority. picking and tossing bits and pieces from it away they choose to disbelieve God. It’s simple, for those who reject the Bible and claim it is not the infallible Word of God do so to avoid responsibility to live by its truth. God says to them, “So, exactly what kind of wisdom do you think you have now? For you have none.” All they have is promised shame. Let’s be forewarned, if we have a weak view of Scripture, God promises we will have a weak interest in it.
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.” – Psalm 25:1-3 (ESV)
David often struggled with the demanding issues of life. In this psalm he writes of avoiding denial and affirming dependence. He knows he must trust God in the face of his troubles and troublemakers. The important perception of shame for the wicked and no shame for the righteous returns is our promise. There are actually two promises here – one is positive for those who trust and wait for God and the other is negative for those who are disloyal and unfaithful. First, there is no shame in waiting for the Lord to act for us or give us the guidance we can have only from Him. It is good for us to remember that waiting for God to act on our behalf is a manifestation of the faith He has given to us. We are always fighting the temptations to rush ahead with our own plan. In Isaiah 30:18 God is waiting to be pour his grace upon us and He will. Waiting is a way to blessing. Second, those who are recklessly unfaithful and deceitful; those who seek to follow their own way are the ones who will be shamed for trusting in their own false teaching.
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1b-2 (ESV)
We are to look to Jesus as the object of faith and salvation. Why are we to look to Him? Because He is both the Author and Perfecter of our faith. The word “author” is a term that means originator or even the preeminent example; it suggests that Jesus “pioneered” the path of faith Christians should follow. He also “perfected” the way of faith since He reached its end successfully. The term expresses the idea of carrying through to completion. It also might mean ‘maturity’ of the kind that is moral completeness. It is only in Christ that we find a faith that is perfect and it is only through Christ that that perfect faith become a reality for us. For those reasons, we live our lives in His and through Him our faith is perfect. On our own it is nothing more than daydreaming or wishing. We fix our eyes on Jesus and because of what he did, enduring the cross despising the shame He sits at the right hand of the throne of God. We are there too seated with Him (Ephesians 2:4-6) because God gave us a gift of faith which led to our salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)