Fueled by Hope

Sam Petitfils

"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."  Romans 15:13

As the Apostle Paul brings his lengthy letter to the Romans to a close, he brings them back to the foundations of a Spirit-filled life: hope.  For the Christian, we can no longer base our hope on the fleeting promises of this life, nor can we rely on well-meaning promises of people who ground their hope in the things of this world.  We need something of substance; we need biblical hope.

A person can be saved, justified and live a reasonably well-ordered life and yet lack the sort of hope God desires for him or her.  We have all experienced seasons of defeat when we have taken our eyes off the prize that we labor for (Philippians 3:14).  When we transfer our hope from God’s clear and faithful promises to the unreliable hopes of this life, our wells will soon run dry.  God designed us to draw encouragement and hope from spiritual truths, not the empty things of this present life.

Notice the words of the text above: “the God of hope.”  He is the one who supplies this hope and who can bring about the promises that support our hope.  Then the text continues, “. . .so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  The Holy Spirit continually supplies the believer with a steady stream of hopeful encouragement and soothing support throughout this life.  Indeed we have a more sure word of prophecy (2 Peter 1:19), one that we would do well to heed.

Who or what are you living for?  When God blesses us with things, even in this life, we should pause and remember who supplied us with these good things. But when we lack what we think we need, we should not forget that God will not allow us to go without anything we truly need (Psalm 84:11).  Paul said it best when he proclaimed that his God would supply all his needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

Finally, we note the text says, “. . .fill you with all joy and peace in believing. . .”  Yes, we must believe God and trust in His Word.  Has He promised and not make good on His Word?  He most certainly will make good on His Word and lift our souls in triumphant praise.  The evil one seeks to ruin us by attrition and by the poundings of bad news we experience in this life, but God’s Word lifts us beyond the present world that is doomed to pass away, and points us to the heavenly realities.  We need to focus upon the hope set before us and rely on it without reservation.  Trust in God and believe His Word.  He will supply a true and genuine hope that will not fade with time.  I close with a line from a hymn that points us to our only foundation of hope: In Christ alone.

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

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