Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Spirit's Presence and Attributes (Part V)

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:18-23)

The Holy Ghost is now described as the Spirit of hope. The biblical word for hope is more concrete than the hope which is thought of today. Biblical hope represents that which is a sure promise. This is evident in Titus 1:2 where Paul speaks concerning his faith, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” The believer's promise of future glory is so real that no present trial is worthy to be compared in magnitude. This is difficult to believe in the middle of severe troubles, yet it holds true. Paul was persecuted to the point where he “...despaired even of life (II Corinthians 1:8).” Yet, he never lost sight of the hope which is implanted by the Holy Spirit. This passage declares that even creation itself awaits the manifestation of Christ's kingdom. During the millennial kingdom, the sin curse will be lifted and the earth will be changed (Amos 9:13, Isaiah 55:12-13). Under the rule of Jesus Christ, this tired old earth will once again more closely resemble the world God intended, and after the millennial kingdom, the eternal state brings the promise of all things being created new (Isaiah 65:17, Revelation 21:1-5). When man chose to sin, God allowed all of creation to be subject under sin's curse, yet, He did not do so without a promise of future hope. The turmoil, death, and violence found in creation will someday be done away with. Man has become so used to this situation, yet God never intended it to be so. Such things were brought about by man's sin; they were never intended to be a natural part of God's handiwork.

Sin is so contrary to God's design that it makes even inanimate objects groan under its oppression. The earth was never intended to receive blood shed by sin. It rejected the blood of Abel after Cain slew him (Genesis 4:9-10). God said that the promised would reject the blood of innocent people who were slain by the wicked (Numbers 35:33), and in the end of the world, the earth will finally disclose all of her blood (Isaiah 26:19-21).

Not only does creation look for this coming, but so does the believer. He looks for the hope of complete righteousness (Galatians 5:5); he looks for the true Source of hope, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13); and he looks forward to the hope of a heavenly citizenship (Philippians 3:20).

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)

The believer eagerly awaits the future hope of redemption. A person is saved by the true source of hope which is none other than Christ Himself. However, this hope is accessed only by faith. If a man could see all these promises before him, he would not have to exercise faith. He would not have to look forward to any promises because a man does not have to hope for something that he can see. However, since true redemption is not visible, man is commanded by Scripture to exercise faith in God's promises and hope for the things which are invisible to the eye, yet made visible to the spirit by the indwelling Spirit of hope.

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