It was such an odd blessing – sandwiched between exhortations in Romans ch. 15:
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans ch.15 v.13
But there is far more in this than meets the eye.
First of all – immediately precedng this promise, we’re told that Jesus – by implication this same God of hope in whom we have put our trust – is both the source and object of our hope. We, who were without hope, without purpose, without meaning – have found direction, destiny and a new desire through the One who fulfilled promises made about Him centuries before He walked among us as a man – God in human form.
However, this hope is not abstract – it has a practical application that Paul is all too confident to remind his readers of. If we hope, it is not some vague sensation of wellness. It is a firm conviction that inspires us to believe and act on that faith.
Not only that but hope, peace and joy are inexticably woven into faith. We are convinced by hope which gives us peace of mind for we know that God will keep His promise. Our conviction is firm because we know the One who made the promise, and He has always proved to be faithful. Because we are at peace, we can see and experience the benefit of what we hope for before it arrives in the flesh. This is joy – not some desperate confession in a vain attempt to manufacture faith, but the overflowing result of a genuine belief in God’s specific favour granted to fulfil His will in our lives as a direct response to prayer.
And this is Paul’s concept of a normal Christian experience. Not the rarified heights of a legion of super-saints, but the birthright of all who confess the name of Jesus – whether Jew or Gentile, male or female. No-one is exempt from this power.
We receive – purely through the power of the Holy Spirit – again, the birthright of all, the guarantee of our salvation – providing the same life-changing power to accomplish this as He did when we first confessed Christ’s lordship.
One final point – this is abundant hope – not just a small measure of hope or a hope reserved for special occasions and the holiest of acts, but an overwhelming surge of hope that energises all that we set our hearts upon under the inspiration of His Spirit.