RC Sproul defined hope as faith looking forward. But what exactly are we looking for? And how do we know that actually have a reason to hope?
- Death – phenomena of human existence where everything physical & spiritual breaks down. Life is the opposite of death; tendency toward good in all of human existence
- Life automatically and inevitably flows from holiness. Death automatically and inevitably flows from sin.
- God is the sole source of life, because He alone can give holiness.
- When we rebelled, we cut ourselves off from the source of life (God) and we are stuck with death.
- The rebellion itself is wrong and deserves punishment. Until God’s justice is satisfied, He will not grant life.
- Justification is the forgiveness of our debt to justice which qualifies us to receive life. To be justified is to be in a position where God’s justice is satisfied.
- Justification is a gift from God.
- Justification is made possible by the sacrificial death of Jesus.
- Justification is granted to those who have faith.
- Saving faith is the permanent, ongoing trust in God that one day He will free me completely from all the consequences and effects of sin. Saving faith itself is a gift from God.
- Saving faith involves 4 things: a genuine desire for holiness in and of itself; a genuine understanding that left to myself I am totally incapable of obtaining holiness; a genuine understanding that God owes me nothing and I am totally unworthy of any gift from God; and a firm trust that God both intends to and will in fact make me holy in the age to come because of the blood of Jesus Christ.
The “so what” of being justified by faith is now we have a reason to boast. Paul explains that boast in Romans 5:1-11.
1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. – Romans 5:1-11ESV
- In Romans 5:1, Paul means peace as opposed to strife.
- Having been reconciled to God, we have reason to boast/exult/rejoice in: 1) the hope of the glory of God (5:2); 2) tribulations (5:3) and 3) being reconciled to God (5:11).
- The Greek word translated exult/rejoice/boast describes that rush of excitement which comes from a realizing you have value. It is based on fully justified, accurate facts and it does not refer to our own accomplishments.
- Hope is a confident, eager expectation that something will happen. It is not a wish or desire.
- Glory of God is his Holy character which demands our respect and admiration.
- We rejoice in our sufferings because suffering tests our faith, revealing it to be genuine, which guarantees our hope.
- Our hope is certain because God loves us.
- If He demonstrated the depth of His love for us by dying when were his enemies, under His wrath, now that we are reconciled, it is much more certain that He loves us enough to fulfill His promises and bring about our hope.
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Want to read more?
- Crucial Questions, 28 free ebooks from RC Sproul
- The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
- Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
- Basic Christianity by John Stott
- Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul