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HOPE

FOR SOME REASON I am impressed to write a short article on the subject of hope. I desire to use Romans 8:24,25 as a scriptural basis of reasoning. "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."

Before treating directly on this subject, permit me to state that I believe the Holy Scriptures are to the children of God who have been born of the Spirit of God. Restating in other words – the Bible can be received only by those of God's children who have been born of the Spirit of God. When Paul speaks using the present tense of a verb it is experienced in time by those who have experienced this call to be saints. When he speaks using future tense it is yet to be experienced. When Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be be comforted," I think he meant that God's children are mourners in this present world after they have received this pure heart, but shall be completely comforted after their sojourn here in time.

According to Webster, hope is a "desired expectation." According to Paul, the things you have experienced is not a hope but a reality. Hope looks to the future. We do not hope for that we are experiencing, but these experiences enliven within us a hope for something that is yet future. Paul reasons that we have the first fruits of the Spirit in this present life. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. All these proceed from the new heart that God has given His children. We yet bear about the body of this death. This pure heart enables us to see the vileness of our sin-polluted bodies. This pure heart reveals to us our awful condition and makes us to cry unto the God of heaven for deliverance from this sinful state. Although we are in possession of the first fruits of the Spirit, the creature itself is yet in the bondage of corruption. It is yet natural and thus subject to sin and death. We expect deliverance from the bondage of corruption solely upon the merits of Jesus in accordance to God's amazing grace. We desire this deliverance because the new God-given heart has made us to hate sin and love holiness.

Paul said, "The body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." This is our state of being if Christ dwells in us. The creature that sins is the body of death that the child of God bears about in this present world. These sins cause the child of God to groan within himself waiting the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body. This will be realized when "the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." The word "also" in the above scripture means in addition to that which has already been experienced by us, to wit, the change of heart. Those who are in possession of God's Spirit are new creatures in Christ but have not realized the redemption of the bodies. He comforts us with this grand hope, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." A quickened mortal body would be immortalized, thus would never die. I do not think God's children experience this immortalization of this body in this present time. This promise inspires us to patiently await this grand change. Paul did not expect it in this life as he said, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." So this hope goes beyond this life. He anticipates this change when he says, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"

Death and the grave are things that we cannot converse with triumphantly until the grave has given up its victim, to wit, this body of death. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him." This is the reasoning of John and should suffice for us. "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness" (Psalms 17:15). I am not concerned over the question of whether we will know each other there, or any speculation concerning things yet to be experienced beyond that which is written. My only concern is, will I be among the number to enjoy eternal life wherever and whatever is?

May God grant that we who have this hope implanted in us be enabled, by His grace, to dwell together here in time, in sweet communion and fellowship with and for each other. May He grant us the spirit of forbearance and humility. May He enable us to strive for peace and edification instead of strife and destruction.

Elder E. J. Lambert
September, 1946
"Tried in the Furnace" pgs 73-75