Romans 15:13 ESV
“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.”
What is our hope, as believers in Jesus Christ? Well, first off, the word means “expectation of what is sure (certain).” It has to do with confidence that something is going to happen and/or has already happened and will continue to happen. It is not wishful thinking like “I hope it won’t rain tomorrow” or “I hope tomorrow is going to be a bright sunny day.” No, this hope is something we know is happening and we can, thus, count on it.
This particular hope is not of man or of the flesh of man or of our own doing, though, for even if it was, it would not be something we could be sure of because we have little control over our own circumstances, and we can’t guarantee what is going to happen tomorrow or the next day. Only God can do that because he holds our tomorrows in the palm of his hands. He is the one directing our lives and our future and he is the only one who can guarantee anything, because he is God, and he is in control over all things.
Another thing about this hope is that it has stipulations. It has conditions. Not everyone has this hope. Not even everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ or who verbally confesses him as “Lord” has this hope. Jesus said that only those who are doing the will of God who is in heaven have this hope of eternal life with God and will enter God’s eternal kingdom. Many will hear him say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Jesus also said that if anyone would come after him that he must deny himself and take up his cross daily (die to sin daily) and follow (obey) the Lord. For, he said if we save (hold on to) our lives that we will lose them (for eternity). But if we lose our lives (die to sin and to self) for his sake we will save our lives, for it profits us nothing if we gain the whole world but we forfeit our own lives, meaning we don’t have the hope of eternal life.
Then we read in quite a few passages of Scripture that if we walk in (practice) sins such as sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, orgies, drunkenness, fits of anger, and sorcery, etc. that we will not inherit the kingdom of God. For God is not mocked. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life.
For, those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. We have died with Christ to sin that we might live to God and to his righteousness. We have put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and we are being renewed in the spirit of our minds by our creator daily. And we have put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness, and we are walking not according to the flesh but by the Spirit.
For the grace of God is not free license to continue living in sin without guilt and without punishment. His grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
So, we are to no longer be enslaved to sin because Jesus died to free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin. And we are to know here that we are slaves of the one we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness and to sanctification, and which ends in eternal life with God. For God condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
So, if we say that we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, we lie and we do not practice the truth. If we say we know God but we don’t do what he commands, then we are liars, and the truth is not in us. For it is whoever obeys the word of the Lord who will never see death and who will have hope in God for salvation from sin and for eternal life with God. And we have to hold firmly to that faith until the very end if we expect to have our salvation completed and have eternal life with God.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 15:1-11; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:23-24; 1 Jn 5:3; 1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Co 15:2; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:26-31]
Peace in Believing
So, people will say in response to all of this, “Isn’t God’s gift of salvation free?” Yes! We do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Only because of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins in his death and resurrection can any of us be saved from our sins and have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. And only in the power of God can any of us live free from the control of sin over our lives and live holy lives pleasing to God.
But the free gift of God’s grace is freedom from slavery to sin so that we can now walk in righteousness and holiness in the power of God. So, if we refuse to live in freedom from slavery to sin, because we choose to hold on to our sin and to continue to walk in it, and if we refuse to walk in righteousness and holiness, according to the will of God, in his power and strength and wisdom, then we have refused the free gift of God’s grace.
An Original Work / August 8, 2012
Based off Ephesians 1:3-10 NIV
Praise be to God, the Father of Jesus,
Who has blessed us in heavenly realms.
For He chose us in Him from beginning
To be His holy children of God;
All in accord with His will and pleasure;
To the praise of His glorious grace.
In Jesus Christ we receive forgiveness.
We have redemption through His shed blood.
Glorious grace God freely has given us
In the One He loves and adores;
All in accord with the riches of His grace
Which He pours out on those He loves.
With all His wisdom and understanding,
God has made known His will unto us,
According to His will and good pleasure,
Purposed in Christ till all be fulfilled;
To bring all things on earth and in heaven
Under our Lord Christ; be unified.