Hope is one of the defining characteristics of the Christian life. It is not worldly wishful thinking but conviction that what God has promised will be fulfilled. Hope takes God at his Word. Christian hope is also future oriented. For example, in the eighth chapter of Romans, Paul explains, “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” (Rom. 8:24-25). Although we have not yet entered the heavenly realm, we know it exists, that it awaits us. Our Lord has promised us the kingdom, given us the guarantee of his Spirit, and is preparing us for glory.
In a choir, a selfish voice creates dissonance. A submitted voice enjoys consonance. If you can hear one voice above the others, a choir sings not as one voice but a dissonant two. But when every individual submits to one another together, a choir produces the beauty of harmony in one voice. Likewise in Christ’s church, who is composed of many yet sings as one, we submit to one another resulting in harmony, living, singing forth, to the glory of One. May we as Christ’s church, as one voice, sing forth beautiful praise to the One who not only gives us life but also lives that we may glorify him forever.
If there is a pinnacle to Paul’s epistle to the Romans, perhaps this is it. Surely this is the exclamation point on what has been revealed up to this point. Considering just the previous several chapters, who can hear of the doctrine of predestination and not praise God for his sovereign grace? Who can read of the gift of the gospel and the necessity of evangelism and not rejoice that God commissioned and mobilized his church into all the world? Who can learn of God’s kindness to Gentiles like you and me and not respond with humble gratitude that God grafted us in?
But the faith that God gave Abraham did not falter, as it never will, but grew: “[Abraham] did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do” (Rom. 4:20-21 NET). Therefore, “In hope [Abraham] believed against hope.” Though his circumstances shouted hopelessness, Abraham had hope, not because he looked to himself and his faithfulness but because he looked to the One who promised.
Trials teach. They teach us to honor and glorify God. They teach us to walk humbly before him.
And they teach us to rejoice in God’s provision. Let us be faithful to listen.
By the master’s grace through his Son, let us glorify God through the privileges of his vineyard. Let us with gratitude rejoice in the fruits he produces through us.