Part 9 of 10

One Hope

Paul writes this to the Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for (Gk., elpizo, expected), the evidence of things not seen.

“Hope” - Strong’s Exhaustive Bible Concordance #1680, Transliteration: elpis

Root: from a primary “elpo” (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstract or concrete) or confidence: faith, hope.

From the Strong’s definition and verse seen above we can say believers, by faith, have a “hope” or “confident expectation” in all that God has already provided for them. We believers know that we have an inheritance provided for us “in Christ,” which was achieved by the cross and invisible hand of God the Father. This inheritance is certain even though a believer may not have yet experienced or enjoyed all that Christ has bequeathed to them.   

The same Greek word, elpis, is sometimes translated “faith” because hope and faith are so closely related but they are different. As seen in Heb 11:1 above faith is the substance of things hoped for. Faith then is the fixed belief upon which our hope is built or substantiated.

2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

There is no gloom associated with the ministration of the New Covenant, for under it righteousness and life are administered to all who will receive them by faith. This is because the claims of the Old Covenant were fully met by Christ at Calvary . Thus, the ministration of the New Covenant outshines the ministration of the Old in every respect.

But we might ask this; wasn’t the New Covenant made “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah ” (Heb 8:8), rather than with “the Church, which is His body” in of our day? Yes, but with Israel 's rejection of Christ and her temporary blindness (Rom 11:25), the blessings” (Galatians 3:14) of the New Covenant are now bestowed by grace through faith upon those who do receive Christ. Hence, it was not Peter or the twelve, but Paul who, with his associates, was made an “able minister of the New Testament” (II Cor. 3:6).

The fact is that the members of “the body of Christ” are not recipients of any covenant. The Gentiles can’t have a new covenant because they never had an old covenant (Eph 2:12). God’s “covenants” (old and new) pertain to Israel only. Yet, as we read Galatians 3:13-18, we must conclude that today all “the blessings” promised to Abraham, which are also fulfilled in the New Covenant for Israel, are unto “the Church, which is His body,” to be enjoyed by faith. Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. There are these points to note with regard to “the blessings of Abraham.” 1.) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. This means the curse is never God's will for His people because His Son spilled His blood to redeem us from the curse of the law (v13). 2.) The blessings of Abraham now belong to Gentile believers in Christ (v14). 3.) The blessings of Abraham (the inheritance) is by promise (obtained through faith), not by the works of the law (vs17-18).

It is important to know what the curse of the law is...and what the blessings of Abraham are. Without knowing these things anyone can make up anything they want and redefine God's blessing.

Paul writes so often concerning the blessing the believers have already obtained or that have already been handed down to the believer “in Christ.” Note the use of either the past or the present tense Paul uses to describe them in the following verses.

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Ephesians 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

Christ’s work toward the body of Christ has been “completed” even though not all has yet been actualized.

The believer’s “hope” is related to that which has already been completely paid for and appropriated, to the believer by Christ, Believers also have a hope in that which has been foretold (e.g., rapture)by the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul. Paul is the only writer to write of the catching away of the body of Christ when Christ comes to “the clouds” (1Thes 4:17).

The believer often has not yet necessarily realized the fruit of that provision by Christ since these things are being worked out in the lives of the believer over time. God’s work is ongoing in the lives of believers, so there is that which “shall be.” We each are being renewed in our soul’s mind, emotion and will. 2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

In Romans 5:10 we see both the past tense (were) and the future tense (shall be saved). Romans 5:10 For if, when we WERE enemies, we WERE reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we SHALL BE saved by his life.

To better interpret this verse I need to define “saved” as used here. “Saved” here does not mean saved from perdition or judgment - that is already finished; rather, saved here is the Greek word “sozo,” meaning “completed.” Putting this together, we can say Romans 5:10 is telling us we have already been reconciled to God by the death of Jesus Christ, but there is “much more than being reconciled.” We also are to become “(saved) completed… by His life.”

This “completion” is one of the great hopes of the Christian believer. The Apostle Paul gives us 46 references to hope for the Christian, all of which is based upon faith. Let’s now look into the core point of “hope” for the Christian that is based upon “the mystery” gospel that was revealed to the Apostle Paul for the Gentile body of Christ.

Colossians 1:25-28 Whereof I (Paul) am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you (see Eph 3:1-2), to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints (to believers of the mystery gospel): 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect (Gk. telios, complete) in Christ Jesus:

Paul here writes to the church at Colosse concerning the individual member’s of “the body of Christ” and their relationship to “the mystery.” Paul defines of the personal subjective aspect of “the mystery” as Christ in you (individually)… (v27)” It is subjective because it concerns Christ’s “Spirit of life” indwelling the believers, personally, individually. It is also a corporate indwelling in that Christ indwells “the body of Christ” by indwelling His body members.

What is this “the hope of glory?” In all my writing the practical definition for the word “glory” that I employ is “expression.” Christ’s literal life indwelling the believer’s spirit is the means by which the believer actually may come to be an expression of Christ’s righteous resurrected life. Thus, “Christ in you,” is the believer’s only “…HOPE OF GLORY.” Thus, believers are not called to imitate Christ since we possess His life in us as the new us. We do not pay any attention to WWJD (What would Jesus do?). Christ indwelling the believer is both “the means” and “the end to which we hope.” Our “hope” is our hope or “confident expectation” based upon that fact of the “mystery” (secret plan of God); that is the mystery of His indwelling, has been made manifest to (us) his saints (v26).” Our confident expectation is that we are in live, move, and have our being “in Christ” (Acts 17:28).

Our confident expectation is of His indwelling life flowing through us as the glorious expression of Christ’s life. We may fail and at times come short, yet we can be confident that He is at work in us as we endure the issues of daily living that are designed to renew our soul (2Cor 4:16). He is working in us to bring us to actually become the glorious expression of Christ’s righteous indwelling life as we learn to trust and yield to Him who flows from our spirit to rule our soul’s expression.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP) And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.