“And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” Romans 8:23-24a (ESV)
This week I’ve been writing about hope, referencing Walter Henrichsen’s four approaches to hope found in his book A Layman’s Guide to Applying the Bible. Henrichsen tells us that some will have no hope, others a misplaced hope, and still others an ill-defined hope.
As followers of Jesus, we have a clearly defined hope.
That hope is a vibrant inexpressible life in heaven with Jesus that will last the rest of eternity.
This is not some vague promise of possible future reward.
It is the clear straightforward promise of spending an eternity in heaven with Jesus.
That life is inexpressible because as Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 2:9, we cannot imagine what God has prepared for us…it’s that good!
Coming to faith in Jesus is going from no hope to a hope that is beyond our wildest imaginations. Coming to true faith is going from hope placed on the meager temporary things of this world to a hope placed on God Himself.
It is not ill-defined…but clearly stated…an eternity in God’s glory.
Paul reminds us that we have the firstfruits of this hope in the indwelling Holy Spirit.
When we come to true faith in Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit…and we are no longer the same person. We sense His presence and guidance in our life.
We are new creatures.
Yet we retain the capacity for sin.
We become aware of our own sinfulness and just how much this world falls short of the life that awaits us.
That is why we groan inwardly…
We sense what awaits us…while still acutely aware of what is now.
But groaning can be transformed into becoming…through hope.
We cultivate the attitude of hope within our spirits by regularly reminding ourselves of what lies ahead.
We don’t ignore the pain and shortcomings of this world.
We groan…and wait…eagerly…all the while allowing hope to motivate us.
Prayer: Lord remind me throughout this day of the hope that lies ahead…and Holy Spirit, give me a taste of that hope when I become overwhelmed with this world.