But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. – Romans 8:25
23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.
25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
The Count of Monte Cristo written by Alexandre Dumas tells the story of Edmund Dantes. He is betrayed by his best friend and sent off to prison for life. He is in turmoil for years struggling with revenge, hope, love, and freedom. In his struggle, we see our own.
He spends 24 years figuring things out. He feigns death and manages to escape and locates a vast fortune hidden on the island of Monte Cristo. He now has the means to carry out his revenge. He does so systematically and successfully up until the point he realizes that the son of his best friend, who married his fiancée in his absence, is actually his own child. Rather than kill him, he spares him.
The book ends with the sagacious line spoken to his son, Maximilian, “all human wisdom is contained in these words: wait and hope!”
Biblical hope is not wishful thinking: “I hope everything turns out okay.” Biblical hope is the confident expectationthat regardless of our circumstances and struggles, all that the Father has promised will one day be realized.
Biblical hope is the present possession of every child of the King. But things hoped for are not yet experientially possessed. We can only hope for things that are still in the future. We confidently expect that they will one day be realized.
Our present salvation in this life is but the tip of the iceberg of what is to come. It is but the shadow of the reality of the substance of what one day will be. We have the certain promise of our inheritance to come, but we have not yet taken possession of our inheritance.
1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Now we see and know the Father in part. But then we will have the unrestricted, perpetual pleasure of getting to know and experience Him fully. We will gaze and reflect upon the Father’s face.
Why did the Father create the human race? He created us to know and enjoy Him forever. Because of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ we have been delivered from the consequence of our sin. We are forgiven and redeemed. But we have the great promise of future glory when we will be delivered from sin itself. The restrictions and limitations of living in a fallen world will be no more.
REFLECT & PRAY
We can have confident assurance that what He promised; He will also surely perform.
Father thank You for the promise and hope of things to come. In the meantime, encourage me to persevere and overcome the difficulties I face in this present world.
Until the future becomes the now of our present experience, that which is dimly foreshadowed should give us confidence which lifts our spirits and allows us to rise above the vicissitudes of life. “To Paul, life was not a weary, defeated waiting; it was a throbbing, vivid expectation” (Barclay).
Our hope is unseen and intangible, yet it is sure and certain. We are not to passively wait for it. But rather we are to hold on eagerly and strenuously despite suffering and difficulty. We look forward expectantly with endurance, steadfastly or not moving at all.
The Greek word translated eager expectation is apokaradokia. Apokaradokia comes from apo – off, kara – head, and dokeo – to watch. It connotes an amazing word picture of watching eagerly with an outstretched head. “It describes the stance of someone who scans the horizon with head thrust forward, eagerly searching the distance for the ﬁrst signs of the dawn breaking” (Barclay).
Expectant hope with endurance is a matter of focus.
Children of the King do not live only in the world; they also live in Christ. They do not see only the world; they look beyond it to the Father. They do not see only the consequences of human sin; they see the power of the Father’s mercy and love. Therefore, the keynote of the life of each child of the King is always hope and never despair. As children of the King, we wait not for death, we for life (Barclay).
“We were saved in this attitude of hope. We did not receive all the benefits of our salvation at the moment of conversion. From the outset, we looked forward to full and final deliverance from sin, suffering, disease, and death. If we had already received these blessings, we wouldn’t be hoping for them. We only hope for what is in the future” (William MacDonald).
We are to look forward not backward, upward not downward, outward not inward (Edward Everett Hale).