Monday, 22 July 2013
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? Romans 8:24
This is the final “for” of this subsection. Notice the logical progression of Paul’s thoughts as they come from the tip of his pen –
We are children of God, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if we indeed suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
For – the present sufferings are inconsequential to the glory which shall be revealed in us
For – the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God
For – the creation was involuntarily subjected to futility but the creation itself will be delivered from this state into the same liberty as God’s children
For – we know that even the creation is agonizing with labor pangs together until now, just as we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit groan as we wait for the redemption of our bodies
For – we were saved in this hope, but seeing isn’t hope, it is realization
Verse 16 spoke of our suffering which will eventually be replaced with our glorification. Since that verse, he’s built upon that thought to demonstrate what is intuitively known by all people, that this is a world which is not in an ideal state. It is something that is easily supported by observing the physical creation.
We are saved in the hope of being glorified and that hasn’t happened yet, so we are in hope still, being preserved for the glory to come. Just as the creation fell with the fall of man, so will creation be restored with the restoration of man. It is yet future, and this is our hope. If it were to happen to either, then it would happen to the other. Therefore, “hope” would be realized in sight. If creation were redeemed, then we would see it and there would be no hope yet future in this regard. As he says, “why does one still hope for what he sees?” The answer is, “They don’t – they live in that reality.”
And this takes us back to what the “for” of this verse is for. It is explaining the thought of the previous verse – “…we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
The Spirit is our guarantee of the reality to come, not the final reality itself. Thus, the signs of the apostles which validated the indwelling of the Spirit, weren’t an end in and of themselves. They were given as a demonstration of this hope. This is why those signs were given at the establishment of the church. To give an anchor for the hope yet to come. And this is why, despite the flagrant abuses of charismatic churches world-wide, these signs aren’t necessary now. The Bible is published, the doctrine is established, and Jesus is revealed. Those signs are no longer necessary because we have the surety of God’s word which fully explains the work of Messiah.
If God chooses to give us a sign, such as healing, this is His prerogative in any age. He did it prior to the coming of Christ and when He chooses to do it now, it will occur, but it is not a necessary part of our life in Christ. The record which testifies to His power and authority has been made; it is sufficient for our faith and practice.
Life application: What is your hope? If you have hold of what you wish for, then you don’t have hope of it, you have what you wish for. At the present time, the work of the Spirit is a guarantee of what we hope for, not the final reality of the promises to come. The Spirit has breathed out the word of God for our edification. In it, we are told that we are sealed with Him when we believe. If the Spirit wrote the book, then the sealing must be true if the book is true. Is this your hope? If so, then your hope will be realized some glorious day when the sons of God are revealed.
Glorious, precious Lord – Your word tells me that I am sealed with Your Spirit the moment I put my trust in the work of Christ. Because He wrote the book, then it must be true. I am baptized in to the death of my Lord and raised to newness of life by the power of the resurrection. This is where my hope is grounded and this is where I find my peace. Wonderful, blissful peace. Amen.