which we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and stedfast and entering into that which is within the veil…Hebrews 6:19 ASV
Hope is the great anchor, or stabilizer, of the human soul
HOPE for the Christian is Christ the Lord, who has entered into that which is beyond the veil, that is, into heaven itself; and this corresponds to the actions of the ancient high priest who was typical of Christ in that he went into the Holy of Holies, behind the veil, in the tabernacle.
The aptness of the figure of an anchor appears in the fact that an anchor is not doing any good at all as long as it is visible.
It is only when the anchor disappears in the deep beneath that it stabilizes and protects the ship.
The absolutely necessary disappearance of the anchor, if it is to do any good, also suggests the necessity of Christ’s physical separation from his followers which was accomplished when he ascended into the unseen world.
That this was truly necessary is plain in the light of Hebrews 8:4, where it is shown that Christ would have been no priest at all if he had remained upon the earth.
Christ’s qualification as high priest was upon a higher level; on earth he could never have been any kind of priest, because he did not belong to the tribe of Levi; therefore, in order for him to function as the great High Priest of Christians, he of necessity entered that higher, unseen sphere.
For the Christian:
- His treasure is there (Matthew 6:19)
- His citizenship is there (Philippians 3:20)
- His name is written there (Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3)
- His Lord is there (also in John 14:1-6)
- His affections should be there (Colossians 3:2 KJV)
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.Romans 8:25 RSV
This verse explains how we are saved by hope, because, without hope, there could not be the patience which is required to prevent the child of God from falling into discouragement.
The Christian’s salvation lies altogether within an area of what the world speaks of as “intangibles.” It is a faithful trusting in “things not seen as yet”
Hope is far more than a mere wish that something might exist or be possessed; it is a valid claim, supported by faith, and grounded in confidence that the Lord is able to keep “that which I have committed to him” against that day (1 Timothy 1:12).
Nor can it rightly be said that hope is an aspect of faith, because faith and hope are expressly distinguished, and placed as coordinates with each other in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abideth faith, hope, and love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
These three” are arranged in the ascending order of greatness, and therefore hope outranks faith in the constitution of God’s redemptive system.
The KJV’s rendition of “We are saved by hope” is thus far better than the English Revised Version’s “for in hope were we saved.” One may not resist the fear that the latter translation was encouraged by the jealousy of people to guard one of their popular theories that people are saved by “faith alone.”
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13 ASV
The Christian era was ushered in with the double promise of peace and joy, the peace being prophesied by Zacharias, thus:
The Dayspring from on high shall visit us … to guide our feet unto the way of peace (Luke 1:78,79); and the joy having been announced by the angel of the Lord to the shepherds:
Behold I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10).
Such a glorious peace and joy are available from no other source than the life of faith in Jesus Christ.
Having peace with God and the joy of the Spirit in his soul, the Christian is redeemed indeed.
As a result of such a redemption, accomplished with such a sacrifice, the hearts and minds of Christians may forever be kept with the peace of God that passeth understanding.
There is absolutely nothing in all the biographies of unbelievers, or rationalists, or modern skeptics, which can present any such testimony to the reality of peace and joy in the human heart, promised in the New Testament.
Professor Robert Flint was right when he wrote, in his famous work on Theism, “The heart can find no secure rest except on an infinite God. If less than omnipotent, he may be unable to help us in the hour of sorest need.If less than perfectly benevolent, we cannot fully love him. The whole soul can only be devoted to One who is believed to be absolutely good.”
It is very easy to obtain a temporary joy and peace through your present easy experience, but how will you do when all things take a troublous turn?
Those who live by feelings change with the weather. If you ever put aside your faith in the finished work to drink from the cup of your own inward sensations, you will find yourself bitterly disappointed.
Your honey will turn to gall, your sunshine into blackness; for all things which come to man are fickle and deceptive.
The God of HOPE fill you with joy and peace; but it will only be through believing.
You will have to stand as a poor sinner at the foot of the cross, trusting to complete atonement.
You will never have peace and joy unless you do.
If you once begin to say, I am a saint; there is something good in me, and so on, you will find joy evaporate and peace depart.
The necessity of believing it is not by this “alone” that people shall receive the blessing.
One must stand at the foot of the cross, etc., and this is only another way of saying that one must accept and obey God’s terms of justification, entering the body of Christ.
It is “in Christ” that all spiritual blessings are bestowed (Ephesians 1:3); and let none think to receive them by any other means than that of being found “in him.”
Tragically, this expression which occurs no less than 169 times in Paul’s writings seems to have gone through many minds without having made any impression at all!
In the power of the Holy Spirit … is Paul’s reminder that only God’s children, the baptized true believers “in Christ” who have received the Spirit as a consequence of their sonship shall ever possess this joy and peace. People may forget to tell how they are received, but the apostle failed not to declare it.
In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another; in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in prayer; communicating to the necessities of the saints; given to hospitality.Romans 12:10-13 ASV
The Greek word for “love” in both this and the preceding verses is [AGAPE], that great New Testament word which has captured the loving admiration of people in all generations, meaning love in its most comprehensive and selfless qualities.
It is all that the other is, and more. These qualifying words are [FILOSTORGIO], meaning the kind of affection that exists in a family, and [FILADELFIA], literally meaning brotherly love.
(Like that) of an animal for its offspring, a parent for his child, a near relative for his close kin. Its use here indicates that the church tie should rival that of the family.
In honor preferring one another … carries the connotation of setting an example and taking the lead in the honoring of others. Instead of coveting and trying to grasp honors for one’s self, the Christian should rather desire to exalt his fellow Christians, even taking the lead in the conveyance of such honors to them.
Instead of waiting for others to honor us, we should lead them in the manifestation of esteem and respect.
A lazy Christian is a contradiction of terms.
Having been saved from the guilt and ravages of sin, the Christian is man at the zenith of his best powers.
Strength, zeal, enthusiasm, vigor, and the full thrust of his total energy should distinguish the Christian’s performance in business, trade, profession, study, artistic creation, or in anything else that he pursues as a vocation; and, above everything, such qualities should characterize his devotion and service in the church.
The opposite of what Paul commanded here is lukewarmness, a negative condition represented as disgusting to God himself (Revelation 3:16).
Our difficulty lies not in comprehending but in obeying.
The glorious hope of the Christian is more than enough to flood the soul with rejoicing, even in the midst of abounding disappointments, provided it is kept in focus by the mind.
This hope is the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19) which enables the child of God to endure whatever storms may come, but not, however, without prayer.
Prayer is the breathing of the redeemed soul, and the cessation or neglect of it will smother and destroy spiritual life.
It is most unfortunate that the word has been so frequently associated with exceptional holiness, when it means nothing of the kind, but only the actual fact that from the first moment of conversion every Christian soul is consecrated and devoted to God.
The needs of God’s people were great when these words were written; and we know how keen Paul was in encouraging the Gentiles to help their poorer brethren in Jerusalem.
In the same way, he appeals to all the Christians in Rome to communicate to their fellow believers whatever might be necessary.
In an affluent society like that in current U.S.A., the desires of the so-called poor are frequently substituted for necessities in the benevolent programs of both the church and the secular society and government, and, in this, failing to retain the Biblical concept of “need” as the basis of all true benevolence; but, despite this, there are always examples of Christian need in every community.
I have never seen it practiced except upon a scale so parsimonious as to render it a virtual nullity.
The scanty manner in which the rich disciples of the present day share the wants (and one supposes Lard meant the needs of the poor) of the poor is a sham.
From their thousands, they dole out dimes; and from their storehouses full, mete out handfuls.
This is no compliance with the precept; and it were better for a Christian that he were without a coat to his name, than, having two, not to give to his brother who has none.
Such precepts as the present will, in the day of eternity, prove the fatal reef on which many a saintly bark is stranded.