Romans 5:3-5 The Message
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
Romans 4, the Apostle Paul recounts the story of the Patriarch Abraham.
Romans 4:1-3 English Standard Version
Abraham Justified by Faith
4 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
For the new followers in Rome, Paul greatly emphasized Abraham’s faith.
Paul said even Abraham, who was considered a God-fearing and good man, was praiseworthy not because he was so good but because in faith, he believed God.
If we ourselves go read the story of Abraham in Genesis, we will find quite a few examples of Abraham making substantial mistakes and committing great sins.
For example, twice focused only on what mattered most to himself and he lied and told an Egyptian that his wife, Sarah, was his sister (Genesis 12 and 20).
Abraham was a good man in many ways, but he was an ordinary, flawed person, like anyone else.
The great thing about Abraham was not anything about Abraham himself; it was his focus on the “one thing:” he faithfully put his trust and hope in God.
Abraham slowly disciplined his focus on what mattered most: believed God’s promises, Abraham faithfully put his hope in God’s being true to his promises.
The same is very much true for our disciplining our focus away from us today.
If we focus all of our hope in our own power or our own goodness or strength, we will constantly and continuously be indescribably hopelessly disappointed.
In ourselves, we do not have enough goodness to give us hope for the future.
Focus on faith in God, given to us by Holy Spirit, is the surest source of hope.
Do you and I have any of that self same disciplined focus on hope in God alone?
A Disciplined Focus on God’s Brand of “Sure Hope”
Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message
Discipline in a Long-Distance Race
12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
A disciplined focus on Hope.
It’s the oxygen our souls need to thrive.
Hope is the wild-eyed creature that pops up after the enemy tries to eradicate the very beating of faith in our hearts.
It’s the essence of being a disciplined Christ-follower and as a hopeless, broken world watches us under an electron Microscope, as they scornfully question, “If hope does not disappoint us, why are you Christians disappointed all the time?”
However, before we can answer that question, we need to define what hope is.
Hope looks like light, seeing hundreds of fireflies lighting up a dark night.
Hope is the long barren heavily scorned and mocked Hannah praying fervently, disciplined in her knowing God hears her while she’s taken for a drunken fool.
Hope is a father staying at hope forgiving his undisciplined wayward child.
Hope is the oxygen our souls need to breathe to stay alive.
Hope is a category 5 torrential downpour that washes the world clean.
Hope is uncountable millions of little green shoots being nourished, unearthed after a long and cold winter’s nap and stretching and reaching to the heavens.
Hope is praying your loved one will be found alive after tragedy strikes.
Hope is knowing we will be reunited with our loved ones on the other side of heaven.
Hope is the soldier at war in a far away land who begged God to use His words to care for, to heal and to love his son or daughter miles away.
Hope is a foster child finally finding his forever home in a family that fiercely loves, protects and cares for them.
Hope is watching your autistic child make a friend.
Hope is walking hand in hand with God the Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit.
What Does ‘Hope Does Not Disappoint Us’ Mean?
The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.”
Christian hope is rooted in faith in the divine salvation in Christ (Galatians 5:5) and through the love poured into us through God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
What have you and I been hoping for?
Have we been trying to discipline our hope away from the world and unto God?
Where have we been disciplining our minds, where are we focusing our Hope?
Did anything above resonate with your heart?
Or have you given up?
Maybe you and I are too afraid to invest in hope again because we dread the possibility that if we try too hard to discipline ourselves, we will lose all hope?
Or perhaps we simply don’t remember what hope even feels like anymore.
We are physically, mentally, spiritually exhausted from trying to recall what hope looks, tasted, feels, sounds like – we do not care to know what hope is.
If you’re in this camp, we need to go back to the Bible, discipline ourselves back unto Word of God, to understand God’s hope isn’t the same as the world’s hope.
God’s hope is not and never will be the same as the world’s definition of hope.
Both denote a positive expectation, but the world’s hope is rooted in a fallible person, situation, or thing. God’s hope is rooted in Him.
The basis of Christian hope is found Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.”
The Greek word for hope in this passage is ‘hypostasis.
The anonymous author wrote in the book of Hebrews, “Faith is the ‘hypostasis of things hoped for…” which literally means “that which underlies.”
Meaning our faith in Christ underlies our hope, the deeper our faith is, the more difficult it is for hope to be overthrown and turned into disappointment.
A hope that does not disappoint means God has given us hope that raises up to our defense – to become our sword and shield in the midst of disappointment.
This kind of hope is found not in our avoidance of suffering but our working through it with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit because, suffering produces joy, perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (James 1:2-4)
What Is the Context of Romans 5:5?
“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous (justified) through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us,” Romans 5:1-5.
We learn what hope means in God’s kingdom through the words of Paul beginning in the fifth chapter of Romans. Full
Here, Paul tells us we have justice, peace, grace, perseverance, character, and hope which is all built on the faith we have in Christ.
The kind of hope that does not disappoint that Paul is talking about here is the kind of disciplined hope that only God can give.
This kind of hope Fully Relies On God—His power, His promises, and the sacrifices He alone made for us.
This type of hope carries a promise because of what He has accomplished.
As we read through the rest of Romans 5, we learn we have this hope because Jesus died for us while we were yet his utterly worst enemies (Romans 5:8).
We have been justified and we will be delivered from all things.
God didn’t save us based on our own righteousness.
We were saved because of our faith, hope and belief and love for God’s Son.
This hope points directly to the glory of God – “we boast in our hope of sharing in the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
This means, no matter what comes our way: suffering, turmoil, tragedy, death, and heartbreak. God will conquer it all.
In other words, “Hope has a sanctifying effect. We who look expectantly for the return of Christ, knowing that when we see him we shall become like him, and purify ourselves “as he is pure” (1 John 3:3 ).
Hope also stimulates good works.
Following his teaching on the resurrection of the dead, Paul exhorts readers to do be “steadfast and immovable doing the Lord’s work abundantly since such “labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:51-58 ).”
Then, How Exactly Can Christians Hope When They Experience Disappointments?
Throughout Scripture, we find the same message trusting in God’s promises and hoping in the Lord:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” Hebrews 10:23.
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance” Ephesians 1:18.
“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope” Psalm 130:5.
If we read in between the vast array of scriptures about hope, we will also find hundreds of people inside the Bible who experienced true utter disappointment: Adam, Eve, Hagar, Job, Hannah, Moses, Sarah, David, Jacob, Gideon, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jonah, the exiles, Nehemiah, Jesus, the Disciples, Paul, Elijah, others.
Yes! Even Jesus experienced disappointment during his ministry: when the people didn’t receive His message, when His disciples struggled with doubt, or when He encountered those legalistic religious leaders who wanted to kill Him.
Yet, each and every one of these biblical accounts of real-life people are marked by moments of every single one of them decisively overcoming disappointment.
They also went to accomplish great things for God and some even accomplished things beyond their wildest dreams.
The common thread of each of them was their hope in God.
Their belief in God was bigger than their disappointment.
Instead of blaming God when tragedy struck, instead, they turned to God.
“Hope in God transcends the lost hopes of human frailty and sin and begins to take effect in our lives precisely when human hopes are gone” (Romans 4:18).
How can Christians hope when we experience disappointments?
We put our hope in the Lord as we look at Paul’s example in Philippians 4:4.
Here, Paul was suffering greatly but he was writing to the church in Philippi which happened to be a church that was exceptionally poor.
But Paul was writing to them from a Roman Prison to encourage them to keep a disciplined, focused hope as they learn to be content with having much or little.
Paul wrote to encourage them through his example walking with Christ, even in the midst of disappointment, he could deal with humble means or prosperity.
No matter the circumstance Paul persevered through hope because no matter what came, he “can do all things through Christ’s strength, (Philippians 4:13, ESV).
The exact same One whose Grace strengthened Paul and provided contentment, courage, and a disciplined and focused hope is exact the same One working all things together—even disappointment—for our good too (Romans 8:28).
Because of the Sovereignty of God, Jesus’ resurrection power at work in us, the Holy Spirit interceding and praying for us when we have not the wherewithal to intercede for self, we can breathe in His kind of Hope that does not disappoint.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Prayer for a Hope That Does Not Disappoint
Lord God, our Creator, Author of our Life and Perfecter of our Hope, we raise our hearts, our souls, our hands high to thank you for your peace and for being our true source of hope. No matter what we walk through, may we lean on you. I believe that the hope you give us will not disappoint. You are working through every struggle and hardship we face. We will not be disappointed because of the salvation and blessing of a heavenly inheritance through Jesus Christ. Help us to abound in joy and to rest in your loving arms. Give us grace, strength, to lean on your powerful promises today.
Dear God, we praise you because you are true to your promises, we thank you that you are the true source of hope. Help us, by your Holy Spirit, to put our hope in you.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.