Summary: In this sermon we look at a third blessing of justification, a third possession in Christ, which is rejoicing in hope.
In the first four chapters of his letter to the Romans the apostle Paul explains how we come into a right relationship with God. The good news of God is that we can come into a right relationship with God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This is called justification by faith.
Now, as he begins chapter 5, the apostle Paul writes about the blessings of justification. Having explained how we receive justification, he now explains what justification gives us.
"1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through 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. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and 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.
"6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For 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. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:1-11)
Paul wrote the fifth chapter of Romans to teach those who have been justified by God through faith in Jesus Christ that they also have the blessings of justification.
We have already examined two blessings. They are peace with God and standing in grace. Today, we examine the third blessing, which is rejoicing in hope.
The English poet Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.” But where does man turn when hope dries up?
The director of a medical clinic told of a terminally ill young man who came in for his usual treatment. A new doctor who was on duty said to him casually and carelessly, “You know, don’t you, that you won’t live out the year?”
As the young man left, he stopped by the director’s desk and began to cry.
“That man took away my hope,” he blurted out.
“I guess he did,” replied the director. “Maybe it’s time to find a new one.”
Commenting on this incident, theologian Lewis Smedes wrote, “Is there a hope when hope is taken away? Is there hope when the situation is hopeless? That question leads us to Christian hope, for in the Bible, hope is no longer a passion for the possible. It becomes a passion for the promise.”