The late Professor Chris O’Brien, after whom the Life House is named at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital said, ‘Everyone needs hope, we live on hope’.
We normally associate hope with resurrection and so preach hope on Easter Sunday, but this year I am going to preach hope on Good Friday.
The Christian life is full of hope because hope is based on promise, and God reveals himself as the God who makes promises to his people. His promises are the basis of our hope.
In Romans 8 the Apostle Paul describes us as being glorified with Christ, receiving the Spirit of adoption, crying Abba Father, being co-heirs with Christ, and groaning as we await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. That is our hope, our certain expectation!
I will be preaching however on Romans 5:1-11, where Paul says the source of our hope is justification through faith in Jesus (vv. 1-2), the refreshing of our hope is suffering (vv. 3-4), and the guarantee of our hope is God’s love for us (vv. 5-8).
Paul says, ‘hope does not put us to shame’, (v. 5). It is most unloving to get someone’s hopes up only to deliberately see them smashed. God’s great love guarantees the fulfilment of our hope. Because he loves us he will not allow our hope to be put to shame; he will not allow our hope to be smashed.
The question becomes then, ‘How do we know God loves us?’, and Paul gives a twofold answer:
Verse 5—God has given us his Spirit who assures us that we are God’s loved, adopted children.
We know that God loves us because the Spirit assures us—that is our subjective knowledge.
Verses 6-8—God gave his best, his son Jesus Christ when we were at our worst. We were weak, ungodly, sinners and Christ died for us!
The florists Interflora used to have a motto, ‘Say it with flowers.’ God said it with a cross.
This is the objective basis of God’s love for us: ‘Christ died for us,’ and this is the demonstration of God’s love. In Chapter 3 God demonstrates his justice; here he demonstrates his love.
We know hope will not be put to shame because the God whose promise is the basis of hope loves us, and great love guarantees the fulfilment of great hope.
In verses 9-11 Paul twice says, ‘much more’, having done the greater in justifying us by his blood and reconciling enemies, how much more will God do the comparative lesser and so ‘shall we be saved’. The greater action guarantees the comparative lesser.
‘Everyone needs hope, we live on hope’, this is not wishful thinking, this is hope based on divine promise, guaranteed by divine love.
There is no better day to preach the cross to our people in all its brilliance than Good Friday.
Don’t overlook this aspect of hope, we all need hope. In fact it is the source of steadfastness.
‘Faith and hope are the wings by which our souls, rising above the world, are lifted up to God’ (Calvin).