When life is hard, the only way you can keep going is if you have hope that things are going to change. Paul says that things are going to change because God has called us “to share in the glory of Jesus,” He has called us to reflect the brilliance of Jesus. We don’t yet do that. But things are going to change. One day we will stand with Him in a world made new and we will reflect His brilliance. Really? Yes. We have this hope because by His grace God has got hold of us, and by His grace he’s not going to let us go till He gets to glory. So keep going.
Maybe COVID-19 has meant you’ve lost a lot. Maybe health. Maybe family. Maybe work. Maybe mental stability. You’re reeling. The people Peter writes his first letter had lost everything. Not to a global pandemic, but to brutal persecution. Homes, gone. Inheritance, gone. Everything they knew, gone. But Peter reminds them that though their hands may be empty and their earthly futures may be grim, in Jesus they could be full of hope and have an eternal future that is glorious.
Hope is desperately needed as we face such uncertain times – our jobs, our churches and our communities have been massively impacted by the pandemic and lockdown. But is there hope? And are there any certain or secure anchors for Christian hope? In the book of Romans Paul writes:
In Romans 15:4, Paul writes: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragements they provide we might have hope.”
How might we begin to exercise the muscle of hope through the endurance taught and encouragement imparted through the Scriptures? We’re going to explore that question together through digging into Romans 15:1-13, that we might grow in Christian hope, joy and peace.
Writing to Titus regarding the church on Crete, Paul pays careful attention the relationship between the finished work of Christ and the lifestyle of God’s people. He emphasises that church leaders should be appointed on the basis that they hold to sound doctrine and exhibit good conduct. As a result of such leadership, the church can produce changed and purified lives. We will focus on Paul’s key point that God’s grace is the source and motivation for all such good deeds, paying specific attention to Titus 2:11-14. We shall look back to what God has given us (2:11), look forward to the glory of God when Jesus returns (2:13) and consider how these perspectives will lead to transformation now, on a daily basis (2:13-14)
Romans 5 is a passage that fills us with hope. Paul says that because we have been justified (declared righteous) by God through Jesus, we have peace with our Creator, and now stand every day in his grace. Present peace fills us with the hope of future glory, a hope sustained even through suffering. Our suffering today cannot dilute our hope because suffering produces the kind of character that will bring praise to God on the final day. Let this great passage thrill your heart, and increase your excitement for the world to come!