Living Out the Sacrifice – Rejoicing in hope

Hope is like a credit card.  You borrow from the future today.

We all hope–even if that hope is veiled.  However, the Apostle Paul is challenging the believers in Rome to wear their hope on their sleeves.  They were supposed to “rejoice in hope” (Rom. 12:12).  The Message renders the sentiment: “cheerfully expectant.”

Let me ask you this:  Do we have any reason to do this?  Is their any justification for rejoicing in hope?  You know that there is!

The beginning verses of Hebrews, chapter six, are often debated.  Scholars continue to disagree as to the identity of those who have fallen away (6:1-8).  However, everyone believes that the you mentioned in verse nine is in reference to the Christian audience to whom this lengthy treatise was sent.  Consider what the author had to say:

Heb 6:9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

Heb 6:10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

Heb 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,

Heb 6:12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

If you have been following this Living Out the Sacrifice series from Romans 12, you may have noticed the similar themes appearing above.  Here’s the text I have been explaining from Romans 12:

Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship…Rom 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;  Rom 12:11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; Rom 12:12 rejoicing in hope…

Show the same diligence.  So that you will not be sluggish.  Realize the full assurance of hope.

This idea of “realizing the full assurance of hope” mentioned by the author of Hebrews is that of cultivating or developing.  He deeply desires the believers to remain steadfast in their hope “until the end” (6:11).  The question begging to be answered is:  How?  How do we cultivate hope?  Paul gives us a clue.  In Romans 15:13, he said:

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Hope comes from God. It is the eager anticipation that that which is unseen will one day become reality (Rom. 8:25).  That’s how rejoicing is possible.  Since we will experience the blessings of the future, we can taste of them now.  This is why time in the Scriptures is so vital.  It is through the Word of God that we come to learn of our blessings now and in the future.  This is why Paul told the believers in Rome:

Rom 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Are you rejoicing in hope?  If so, my guess is that you are not neglecting your time in the Bible.  If you have not been rejoicing in hope, my guess is that you have become negligent in your reading and study of the Scriptures.  Which is true of you?  When the author of Hebrews mentioned the concept of “diligence” (6:11), it is in the context of the spiritual life.

God will bless our diligence in the Scriptures and hope will result.  And because the hope will be genuine, it will be evident to others.

Rejoicing in hope is possible!  Have you read or studied God’s Word today?  I guess you could count reading this blog entry as doing just that!  Keep it up!

 

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