Salvation by Hope
James Smith, 1862
"For we are saved by hope" Romans 8:24
Salvation is of the Lord! "By grace are you saved." So testifies the divine word; and yet Peter says, "Save yourselves;" and Paul adds, "That I may by all means save some;" to which James appends, "He shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."
God is the author of salvation;
grace is the source from which salvation flows;
Jesus is the Savior;
faith is the grace that receives salvation;
while separation from the world and dedication to God—prove that we are saved.
To all this our apostle adds another view, and says, "For we are saved by hope" (Romans 8:24).
The NATURE of Hope.Hope is a grace of the Holy Spirit, produced by him in the believer, and drawn forth into act and exercise by the promises of the word. It is made up of desire and expectation. Its object is something good; for we cannot desire evil; nor is hope the right word, when evil is the object. It must be good, or what appears to be good.
Hope it is something future; for we do not desire or expect that which is present or possessed. It is unseen, hidden in God, laid up for us in heaven, reserved against that day.
It is good promised; for we cannot expect good from God, except he has promised it. Therefore David said, "I wait for the Lord; my soul does wait, and in his word do I hope." So again he pleads, "Remember your word unto your servant, upon which you have caused me to hope." "I have hoped in your word." "My soul faints for your salvation; but I hope in your word." "I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words. I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise."
The blessings promised by God drew forth the psalmist's desire and expectation. So the sinner, when he feels his sin, perceives his danger, and is alarmed at the wrath of God—has his desire and expectation drawn out to the Savior, who by the word is presented to him; and the description given of him is, that he has "fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before him."
As God's promises embrace both body and soul; both this life and the next, so does hope; for "godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." For "this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life."
Our heavenly Father knows that we have need of all these things. All things needed for life and godliness are promised; and everything promised may be lawfully desired, and steadily expected, because promised.
But hope only expects good things in God's way. If we hope for eternal life, it is as Jesus said, "This is the will of him who sent me, that every one who sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life." So we hope for eternal life through believing in Jesus. Or, as David says, "Lord, I have hoped for your salvation, and done your commandments." We expect to be saved in the way of evangelical obedience.
Hope is the child of faith, which faith is the confident expectation of things hoped for, the full persuasion of things not seen. We cannot hope for what we do not believe, or expect but as we believe God's promises.
The highest object of our hope is complete salvation, called "the hope that is laid up for us in heaven," even the full possession of God's glorious salvation, which is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Hope is founded on God's mercy; "Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy!"
Hope is founded on the immutable promise of God; "In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie promised before the world began"
Hope is founded on our relation to God as our Father, who loves us, cares for us, and is bound to provide for us!
Hope is founded on the faithfulness of God to his word; for it is "impossible for God to lie," "faithful is he who has promised, who also will do it!"
Hope is founded on the perfect work of Christ, which atoned for our sins, brought in everlasting righteousness, and made perfect and never ending peace.
Hope is founded on the resurrection of Jesus, which attested the truth of his mission, the perfection of his work, and the pleasure of God in him; as we read, "God raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope may be in God."
Hope is founded on his intercession, as within the veil in the presence of the Father pleading for us; therefore the apostle says, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever."
Sometimes we found our hope on, or encourage it by, our former experience; as Manoah's wife reasoned with her husband, when he thought they must die because they had seen an angel of the Lord; she said, "If the Lord were going to kill us—he would not have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering. He would not have shown us all these things or spoken to us now like this." So the believer now reasons, "If God did not intend to save us—he would not have convinced us of sin, led us to Jesus, or raised our hearts above; therefore I will hope in his mercy, and expect everlasting life."
Hope is founded on the covenant of grace, as it includes the gifts and promises of the Father, the offices and engagements of the Son, and as ordered in all things and sure—our hope finds a firm, a settled, an immovable foundation!
Hope, or the strongest desire for the greatest good,
and a lively expectation of the most glorious blessings, is warranted, fully
warranted in God's most holy word—and becomes at once one of our greatest
privileges—and a most solemn duty.
The OFFICE of Hope."We are saved by hope" Not in the same sense as we are saved by faith, which delivers us from guilt, degradation, and eternal death, by receiving from Christ, and confiding in Christ. To be saved by hope—is to be kept, preserved, upheld, or sustained, in the midst of foes, dangers, and trials.
Hope quickens us in duties—and preserves us from becoming cold and dead.
It comforts us in tribulations—and keeps us from being disheartened and gloomy.
It enables us to overcome temptation—and so to hold on our way, looking unto Jesus.
It gives us peace in death—in the sure prospect of victory over the grave.
Thus hope saves us:
by preventing despair—into which we can never fall while hope lives within us;
by preserving us from desperation—to the verge of which we are sometimes brought;
by guarding us against rebellion—the seeds of which are still thickly sown in our corrupt hearts; and
by protecting us against apostasy—into which we can never fall so long as we hope in God.
From many evils, at many times, in many ways—we are saved by hope.
Hope is possible to all wherever the gospel comes—none have reason to despair; but it is a certainty in the experience of the Christian. He can say with Paul, "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly," but with a holy expectation of gaining the prize.
Hope always generates patience, therefore we read of the "patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." The stronger our hope, the steadier our patience; and the steadier our patience, the more unruffled our peace.
Salvation includes our election—which is past;
our effectual calling and sanctification—which are present;
and our glorification—which is future.
We were chosen to salvation by the Father;
we are redeemed by Jesus Christ;
we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit; and
we shall be glorified by the cooperation, and as the joint work, of the whole of the divine persons in the Godhead.
Hope is in God—as its highest object and best end.
Hope is through Christ—who is the way to the Father, the truth, and the life.
Hope is on the ground of the Word, which warrants, excites, and regulates it.
Hope is for all that God has promised, whether temporal or spiritual, in this world or the next.
Hope should be encouraged—as it brings . . .
glory to God,
comfort to our souls,
credit to religion, and
honor to our Lord Jesus Christ.
O God of hope, we beseech you to fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lord Jesus, you are our hope: as such be ever present with us, unfolding your glory before us, and imparting more and more of your Spirit unto us.
Holy Spirit, fill us with a lively hope, and teach us to
expect . . .
all that God has promised,
all that Christ has procured, and
all that You have revealed in Your most holy Word.