One of our women’s Bible study groups have been studying together through the book of Romans. We have had a wonderful 14 weeks together, having learned so much and experienced a fresh falling of God’s grace on our lives and in our midst as we have spent time with Him personally in His word, and time with each other as sisters in Christ! Our last homework lesson gave us an assignment to reflect on the last 14 weeks of learning and choose a passage from our studies to write a devotional on. In this current season of hope, I chose the below passage to write on, and wanted to share it with you. May God grant you new and exciting opportunities to share our message of hope this Christmas!
…”and hope does not disappoint,” Romans 5:5
The Christmas season is often referred to as the “season of hope.” For believers in Jesus Christ it is that very thing, and not just a season, but a life-long hope that reaches beyond this life and is met with its reality in eternity! But for those who don’t put their faith and trust in Jesus, their hope, even in this season of hope, is quite frankly…hopeless. You see, hope is only as good as the object of that hope.
In the book of Romans, chapter 5 speaks of hope and goes so far as to make a bold claim, “…and hope does not disappoint.” There are few things, if any, in this life that can make that claim. Disappointment is such a universally experienced part of the fabric of life on this planet. It causes us to wrestle with feelings and emotions that surface in the face of disappointments. When loved ones disappoint us we hurt; when our children disappoint us we get angry; when friends disappoint us we often reject; when church disappoints us we judge. And when life in general feels like a disappointment, we despair!
With all the certainty of disappointment in regard to what the world would offer us to hope in, how can we be certain of what the Bible says in Romans 5:5, that hope does not disappoint? Is there really something we can have that is not subject to disappointing us, something secure enough, sure enough and strong enough to surpass all things that this world offers, and without the slightest chance of failing us? The answer is a certain yes!
Romans 5:5, as quoted above, doesn’t stand alone but is predicated upon all that Paul has presented in the previous four chapters of Romans summed up for us in chapter 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’”
Let me list for us the key words from that text that stand like foundation stones under the promise of hope that will not disappoint; gospel, power, God, salvation, believe, righteousness, faith. The certainty of hope is secured by the very object of that hope, the Gospel of Jesus Christ! And what is that gospel, or “good news”? Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
The reason that the hope we have will never disappoint is because it is a hope secured by God Himself, made available to all who believe in the atoning death of His Son Jesus on their behalf! It is backed by the blood of Jesus! It is a hope that the Spirit assures us of by filling our hearts with the love of God (Rom 5:5). And it is The Hope that the world needs to learn of, experience and embrace.
So this Christmas season and every season embrace this truth again for your own life and pray for the opportunity to share this certain hope with someone whose sure to be disappointed by anything less, even as 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”