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Thu, Feb 16, 2012

51 - Hope and Endurance [b]

Romans 5:3-5 by Robert Dean
Hope is a process, developed, not given in total at salvation. Hope is a present reality based on a future promise, our assured destiny. Hope stands firm in adversity. Adversity is the building block of Christian character. How can there be joy in adversity? Confidence in God’s promises and His long-term plan produces a mentality of joy. Hope grows through revelation, the disclosure and unveiling of fuller knowledge through His Word. Fuller knowledge develops into an intimate relationship with God through an understanding of the all sufficiency of His attributes. Discover the joy in the certainty of His promises and the motivation to stand firm no matter what circumstances deliver.
Series:Romans (2010)
Duration:55 mins 15 secs

Hope and Endurance
Romans 5:2–5
Romans Lesson #051
February 16, 2012
www.deanbibleministries.org

Last time I began to do an analysis of hope. Why do we need to hang in there? There is this connection between hope and endurance throughout Scripture. Romans 5:2 “Through whom [Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope [confidence] of the glory of God.” Pay attention to that word rejoice; it is a key word in relation to hope and endurance. These words occur again and again in combination.

Romans 5:3-4 “And not only that, but we also glory [rejoice. Most versions change the meaning here, but it is the same word we have in verse 2. You need to see how Paul is developing it by using the same word.] in tribulations [adversities], knowing [because we know] that tribulation produces perseverance [endurance]; and perseverance, character; and character, hope [confidence].

Romans 5:5 “Now hope [confidence in God] does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

I pointed out last time we see this connection between endurance and hope. Hope is really a process and not something that we get at the instant of salvation. We have, like many other aspects of the Christian life, some element of it when we are first saved. In fact when we understand the gospel, there is a gospel promise of eternal life—we have the hope of eternal life. There is a past element to this concept of hope, as we will see, that talks about that which we learn at gospel hearing. But it is a forward-looking thing. So hope is a present reality based on a past promise that anticipates a future destiny. It shapes in our thinking a level of confidence in God, so that when we face the challenges and vicissitudes of life, we are not knocked down by them but can stand firm and develop through the Word a mentality of toughness and strength.

It is in Romans that we see most of the main ideas of the word hope that are found within the New Testament. Thirteen times in 9 verses Paul uses the word hope in Romans. Out of a total of 36 times that Paul uses the word hope, this means a little over 1/3 of those uses are found in Romans.

Hope is not a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22–23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” That is something the Holy Spirit produces within us as a character quality that reflects the character of Jesus Christ. It is the result of walking by the Spirit.

Hope is more related to understanding that promise of a future destiny that is tied in with our hanging in there as we grow. As we stick with the Christian life, we do not bail out, we do not quit, we do not go look for some place that has better programs, music, or whatever attracts people to certain kinds of churches. We understand that it is the Word of God that is really our strength in times of difficulty and that gives us the specifics related to that hope. What we see here in these verses are the ABCs of the Christian life—Adversity Builds Christian character.

Hope is not a fruit of the Spirit but is a mental attitude developed in the believer through the application of Scripture, so that we can endure through trials. It is not apart from walking by the Spirit but is more related to the content development in terms of our mindset than character per se.

Hope is based on a past promise of a future reality. And hope provides the believer with such confidence in a future reality so certain that it strengthens and toughens the believer’s mentality today to face the fight and to surmount unpleasant circumstances with a mentality of joy even in the midst of difficulty.

I want to expand this a little more and go beyond just what Paul says about hope in Romans to look at what he says other places and then knock the boundaries off of that to look at what other New Testament writers say. Technically this is what is called a biblical theology. For the average layman, biblical theology is a theology that is in contrast to a non-biblical theology. But trained theologians do not use it that way. Biblical theology is used to develop theology within the books of the Bible, so you would have a theology of Romans: What does Romans teach about the essence and character of God? What does Romans teach about the Holy Spirit, about salvation, about the sinfulness of man? Then you would look at another book like Ephesians and do the same kind of thing. That is developing a biblical theology.

Then you would summarize that: What does Paul teach about God, salvation, sin, eschatology? Then you do the same thing with Peter and the writer of Hebrews, whom nobody knows except a few over-stressed students in seminary at finals week. Then you have Johannine theology. Then you combine these and that is how you build to a systematic theology.

Paul uses the word hope 23 times in 22 verses. Not all of them apply to hope in terms of the spiritual life; sometimes he uses it in a little more prosaic manner. From the key verses, we will develop our understanding of the doctrine of hope in Paul’s writings.

The first thing we notice is that hope is related to our future destiny. Hope has something to do with the fulfillment of the promise. We saw that with how it was used in Romans 4 with Abraham. Abraham had a promise that enabled him to have hope or confidence in God in fulfilling that, so that his experience with his own and Sarah’s infertility was not as real for him as the promise of God. That is part of how hope relates to faith. Faith is our belief that something is true. As Jesus said, all we need is a mustard seed of faith. The mustard seed is one of the tiniest of all seeds. You do not need a mountain-size faith to be saved; you just need a little bit of faith to be saved. But that faith in Christ is what is the basis for our justification.

Hope really focuses on the expansion of faith, and it is much more robust than faith. It is not unrelated to faith, but it is faith on steroids and focusing on the future. Hope is related to our future destiny, where that becomes more real to us than our present time.

Most of us are just like the teenagers many of you have raised. We do not like to admit this, but we used to tell the teenagers that we raised that they needed to look beyond the end of their nose when they were going to do things. Unfortunately, spiritually we often make those same mistakes as spiritual adolescents. We do not think in terms of the long-term plan of God. When that long-term plan that is beyond this earth and that goes into the Millennial Kingdom and beyond becomes more real to us, then it really begins to change and shape the decisions we make and our responses to the circumstances that we face.

Hope is related to that future destiny—our roles and responsibilities in the Messianic Kingdom, that is, during the dispensation of the Millennium. Hope develops as we grasp the reality of what the Bible calls our calling through the study of Scripture.

The passage we are going to look at is Ephesians 1:18 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Here we have an example of how Paul sort of piles one genitive phrase on top of another.

I have been doing some reading in some liberal-influenced commentaries recently. I do not care too much what liberals say, but I am hearing some of these things too often when I am trying to talk to people about the Bible. Sometimes we have to understand what the unbelievers are going to say because that is what they have heard from the Discovery Channel and the History Channel and have read various novels related to Christianity that attack Christian belief. One of the things that liberals came up with back in the 19th century was that Paul did not write Ephesians or Colossians because the writer writes differently than the writer of Romans, Galatians or 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Of course, the fact is that Paul is addressing a different audience and writing 10 years later. If you went back and read things I wrote 20 years ago before I had the benefit of an editress who crucified me daily because of the way I wrote things, you would not necessarily say it was the same person that wrote something I wrote today. Everybody grows and matures in their writing. There is different style and vocabulary, but that is related to topic and other things.

That shows the superficiality of the skeptical mind. They say this is hard and fast evidence that the Apostle Paul could not have written Ephesians. The reality is that everybody has these kinds of stylistic variance. If you look at different writers who write on different topics, that will change style and vocabulary.

What is going on around Ephesians 1:18? Why is Paul saying this? Going back to Ephesians 1:15, Paul shifts his topic a little bit. This is one of those very famous sections of Paul’s writings: Verses 3–14 in the original Greek are one long sentence. The Apostle Paul would get excited about something and would pile clause upon clause and phrase upon phrase.

What is fun is when you are teaching 1st or 2nd year Greek and getting into diagramming is to throw this one out and try to get your students diagram this in the Greek. It is bad enough in the English. Most English Bibles will break it up into as many as seven sentences. The problem with that is in an English translation, the sentence is your basic unit of thought. If this is one sentence in the original, then it is one thought with a lot of secondary and tertiary ideas. If you break it into 7, 8, 9 … 12 sentences, then what you have done is create 7 independent statements or ideas, instead of just one idea with secondary and supporting aspects to it.

As soon as he finishes that long sentence in verse 14, he starts another long sentence in verse 15. Here he shifts and draws a conclusion coming out of the long sentence of verses 3–14 and talks about prayer. Verses 15–16 “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints [their trust in Christ and their application of doctrine in their life—love for all the saints], do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:” This tells us something about his prayer life that he is continuously praying for the various congregations and various believers he knew.

What does he pray for? This is the kind of thing that you and I need to pay attention to. How do you pray; what do you pray for? Most of us have on our prayer list people who are ill, struggling with something, facing some challenge or adversity in life. But I would suggest that most of us need to pay attention to how Paul prays for people.

He says in Ephesians 1:17 “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” We ought to pray that God would give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, but we ought to know what that means before we pray for it. Paul prays for this same kind of thing in other epistles. He recognizes that the ultimate authority, the member of the Trinity who distributes things and is ultimately in charge is God the Father. All prayers should be addressed to God the Father.

Somebody says, “What happens if we pray to the Holy Spirit or to Jesus?” We have a promise over in Romans 8 that if we do not know how to pray, the Holy Spirit acts as a sort of divine buffer. If we are not right or do not know someone’s name, the Spirit knows how we should pray and cleans things up for us in the process. That is not an excuse for sloppy praying, but that is a reality that even when we are praying like we ought, the Scripture still says we do not know how we ought to pray.

The Holy Spirit is involved as an intercessor. We do not pray to an intercessor; we are praying to the one the intercessor goes to. That is why we do not pray to Jesus, but we pray to the Father. Jesus intercedes for us with the Father, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, but Mary and the saints do not intercede. That is what Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy teaches, but we do not believe Mary and the saints have anything to do with our prayers. It is between us and the Godhead, but different members of the Godhead have different roles with regard to prayer. It does not mean that if you pray to the Son or to the Spirit that God is going to slap your hand and not answer your prayer. It does mean that nowhere in Scripture are there prayers that are addressed to the Son or the Holy Spirit. There are specifically different roles, and we should learn that and pray correctly.

We also need to understand that now and then there are hymn writers who take a little license and are addressing things to the Son. We just give them a little poetic license unless they push it a little too far and look at it on a case-by-case basis. A lot of times just the generic word Lord can refer to the Father or to the Son, so we will give it the benefit of the doubt that it is referring to the Father.

Paul always addresses his prayers to the Father, so he is praying that God the Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would be the one who would grant something to the believer. This is praying in the will of God because we know it is the will of God for us to know the Word of God and the will of God so that we can mature and glorify God.

Ephesians 1:17 “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom …” This is the first time that we hit one of these genitives—“the spirit of wisdom.” This has been translated a couple of different ways. The Greek is PNEUMA SOPHIAS, which means that it does not have an article with it, so it is emphasizing the quality, the essence of these nouns, as opposed to making any kind of specific distinctions. Some translations (NIV, EB) interpret the word PNEUMA to refer to the Holy Spirit, which is wrong. They translate it the Spirit of wisdom in the sense that it is the Spirit of God who produces wisdom. This is true in such passages as Isaiah 11:2 “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him [Messiah], the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”

We understand the principle that God the Holy Spirit is the one who produces wisdom, but that does not mean that this is how this phrase should be translated. It could be talking about just a spirit of wisdom, in which case some may take this as the human spirit. The word spirit or PNEUMA is a word that has about 11–12 different meanings in Scripture, so we always have to be careful how we understand it. It could refer to an evil spirit or demon; it can refer to the wind or to breath; it could refer to the immaterial part of man as a synonym for the word soul; and in other places it refers to part of the immaterial nature of man that is completely distinct from the soul. We have to look at each usage in and of itself.

If you get too strict with the word spirit and say if it is referring to man it is the human spirit which he gets at regeneration, then what do you do when Genesis talks about the spirit of Pharaoh? Pharaoh was not saved and did not have a human spirit. Uh, oh—I have to redo my theology. That is an example in the Old Testament of how the Hebrew word ruach simply is used as a synonym for the immaterial part of man or the thinking of man.

Sometimes the word spirit has to do with attitude, which is more likely here in Ephesians. PNEUMA could be used in this kind of genitive construction as an adjective, in which case it would mean spiritual wisdom. That is certainly possible and viable. I think the option of spirit being understood as an attitude or a mental attitude of wisdom is how it is understood in a number of translations like the KJV, NKJV, RSV and Logos’ Lexham English Bible (electronic version).

I think that is what this is talking about that God might give to the individual believer an attitude or mentality of wisdom. Wisdom in biblical thought is something very different from wisdom in Greek thought. Even though this is a Greek word, the background for Paul is not Athens but Jerusalem. The idea of wisdom in the Old Testament is the idea of producing something skillful. Bezalel and Aholiab were two of the craftsmen that were put over all the craftsmen that built the tabernacle. They were given skill (the KJV translates it that way) in their craftsmanship in building the articles for the tabernacle.

As the goldsmiths, seamstresses, weavers, and others made the tabernacle one of the most beautiful pieces of art that ever existed on the planet, the Spirit of God gave them chokmah, which is translated wisdom but has the idea of skill. For the Jews, skill was not intellectual acumen, not academic accomplishment, which was more of the Greek idea of someone who could think well, had a good grasp of intellectual issues, and was adept in logic. That is not the Hebrew idea which was much more practical. For them wisdom was the ability to take abstract truth and make something of it that had beauty and value.

When we look at the difference between wisdom and knowledge in the Bible, knowledge is our understanding of what the Bible teaches, and wisdom is the ability to take the knowledge and apply it to the circumstances and situations of our life, so that what we are producing is something that has spiritual beauty, that has real value as testimony before men and angels. God is the one to give that mentality of wisdom. Paul is talking to believers at Ephesus, so it is clearly something that goes beyond anything that happens at salvation and is clearly talking about the believer’s spiritual growth.

The second term in Ephesians 1:17 “… revelation in the knowledge of Him” has the concept of disclosure or unveiling, and it is the idea that as we study the Word, God is going to disclose Himself more and more to us, so that we come to know Him more in a fuller sense. The Greek word that translates knowledge is the word EPIGNOSIS, which has to do with a fuller, more experiential knowledge. It is not that I can rattle off the 10 attributes of God and give you 10 points on the doctrine of the Trinity, but that knowledge then leads me to a closer relationship with God. As that relationship develops, it in turn leads to a greater understanding of those attributes and of who God is and what He has done.

Paul is praying that God would be the one to give us this mental attitude of wisdom or skillful application and continue to disclose Himself in a fuller knowledge of Him. This is not apart from His Word but is through His Word. We just cannot exhaust the knowledge of God that comes through His Word. I do not know why people try to find it somewhere else; it is all there. We have not exhausted the 66 books of the Bible yet, so why do we want to go somewhere else to find knowledge of God.

All of that is important to understand because verse 18, related to hope, is the next part of the sentence. We have to understand the context of what Paul is talking about that he prays for. Verse 18 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

It is an unfortunate place to put the verse break because we think of this as a separate sentence. There are some translations that break this into a separate sentence in the English. The versions that are guilty of that are the NASB, NIV, NEB, NET (new electronic text), RSV, Logos’ Lexham English Bible, and they recognize this is a continued thought from the previous verse.

Ephesians 1:18 “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened…” is a parenthetical statement. It can only be taken that way because the word that is translated enlightened is PEPHOTISMENOUS, which is a perfect participle which means it is talking about completed action. It is not talking about the process of enlightenment, which is how it might appear in your English Bible; it is talking about an already-completed enlightenment. The only thing that is already completed in enlightenment in reference to a Christian is what happens at regeneration.

What Paul is actually saying here is that he prays to the Father that He “may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” because the eyes of your understanding have already been opened, they have already been enlightened. That happened at regeneration.

Then he comes back to his main line of thought in verse 18 “… that you may know what is the hope of His calling.” If we drop out that initial phrase and just talk about “revelation in the knowledge of Him … that you may know what is the hope of His calling,” it takes us to the next level.

Even though there are some translations that try to tie this into a present tense rather than looking at it as completed action, the context both in Ephesians in this chapter and the overall epistle talks about the fact that we are already children of light. Being a child of light is something that occurs to us positionally at the instant of salvation. Light is the result of responding to the gospel.

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Light here is related to the knowledge of the gospel—knowledge of who man is, who God is, and the revelation or disclosure to man of our need for salvation. That is related to the glory of God. We will see something related to the glory of God again and again as we go through this concept related to light.

This takes us back to what is often referred to as the Shekinah glory in the Old Testament—that visible presence of God in the tabernacle that was in the Holy of Holies and that was the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. When Moses would go in, God would speak to him; when Moses came out, his face just shone. He had to wear a veil over it because as it dimmed, the people would think that God was leaving him. It was the light that was related to God’s glory.

Some people get the idea that Shekinah has something to do with light. Shekinah is just a Hebrew word (not used in the Old Testament) for a dwelling place and denotes the dwelling presence of God. It pops up in places as a cognate in Greek, even in Russian, as the word skene, which means a dwelling place. Russian borrowed it from the Greek. Light is related to that dwelling presence of God.

Another place in which this is used is in 2 Corinthians 6:14. Here it helps us understand that believers are positionally and by nature now regenerated; they are light because they have responded to the light of the gospel. We are children of light because light is our new nature. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers …” This is the biblical prohibition of missionary dating. There are a lot of people who think that they just cannot find anybody out there that is Christian or spiritually mature, so I am just going to date whoever I can find and try to convince them to become a believer and then hope they will become mature.

That whole concept is spelled MISERY. I have seen it again and again because it always invokes compromise of one’s belief system in that process. I cannot tell you how many single people I have known over the past 10–12 years—almost crisis proportions—who never discover or locate a person of the opposite sex who is interested in the Scripture at the same level that they are. You have two options: one is how to be alone and the other is to compromise. It is sad to watch how many compromise. I know of a lot of tremendous believers (more women then men, sadly) who just cannot find somebody who they can share with on that spiritual level, so they settle. You just do not settle for 2nd or 3rd best—it is always bad.

Paul states it clearly in 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” We are light, as Paul says in Ephesians 5:8. “For you were once darkness [positionally as an unbeliever], but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” “Light in the Lord” describes our position or identity in Christ, but the next phrase moves from the positional realm to our day-to-day Christian growth. We are children of light, and now we are to walk as children of light. I do not know what your family name is, but let us say you are Smiths. Your daddy would say, “A Smith does not live like that; she are to live your life like a Smith.” That is what Paul is saying—you are a child of God, and your last name is Light. You are to live according to the standards of the Light family. It is not an option and is our position.

Because of that, Paul challenges the Philippians in 2:15 “That you may become blameless and harmless [Christian growth, direction of our spiritual maturity], children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Every believer is to be a light in the world. We are not supposed to hide our light (“This little light of mine; I’m going to let it shine.”).

1 Thessalonians 5:5 “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” That is our position. The instant we are saved, there is an enlightenment there that comes because we are now a new creature in Christ. Hebrews 6:4 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened [regeneration concept], and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit.”

This is not taste in the sense of going to the grocery store and tasting all the samples offered on every aisle. By the time you get through, you do not want to buy any groceries because you are full. I remember one year when we first went to Connecticut and had not been there more than month, we decided to go exploring. We went over to Newport in Rhode Island, and they were having a chowder festival. There must have been 25–30 restaurants that were represented, and each one gave you a little paper cup with a little less than an ounce of clam chowder. When you go through 25–30 restaurants, that is 25–30 ounces of clam chowder, and you are full!

That is not what the word means. It is not to just get a little taste or sample; it is to fully embrace something: The idea to eat something, take it into your person, and assimilate it into your being. This is not a term for just sampling salvation; this is the term that relates to being saved. You are fully enlightened, have tasted the heavenly gift, and are partakers of the Holy Spirit.

This concept of enlightenment is related primarily to our position first of all in Christ that comes at regeneration. Paul is praying (Ephesians 1:18) that since we have already been enlightened when we were regenerated and become a new creature in Christ, we have new capabilities to understand divine truth. He says that already having the eyes of your understanding opened, he prays that God the Father would give you the spirit or mentality of wisdom and increase revelation in knowledge of Him. This is for a purpose. Knowledge is not the endgame and is just the means to an end. All of the notes that you take in Bible class are not the endgame. They will help you go to the next level.

Ephesians 1:18 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Now what exactly does this term calling mean? It is a term that has been picked up in Calvinistic theology to relate to what is called effectual calling. This means that God the Holy Spirit, in Calvinistic theology, only effectually calls those who are elect. Everybody else gets passed over; the Holy Spirit ignores them.

We do not believe that. We believe that those who are chosen by God are those who respond to the gospel. It is that invitation of the gospel that is a synonym for the calling. There are in theology two calls. One is the external call, and this is the external gospel invitation which any person hears. There is the internal call which is the work of God the Holy Spirit, which always goes along with the external call in making the gospel clear and understandable. In Calvinism, they often teach that because man is so spiritually dead (and he is), he cannot hear the invitation. If he does not need to hear the invitation, why does Satan blind the minds of the unbeliever (2 Corinthians 4:4)? If people are so spiritually dead that they cannot understand the meaning of the gospel to respond to it, then why does Satan need to blind them? He can just leave them alone because they are not elect. But Satan blinds them because they can understand and they can respond if they so choose, and he has to deceive them and distract them from the hope of our calling.

Matthew 22 is the best illustration of calling in the Scripture. This is the parable of the wedding feast. Jesus made a lot of points by telling stories. Some people say telling stories and reading stories are not really teaching doctrine. But Jesus taught a lot of doctrine through telling stories, so just because it is a story does not mean Jesus did not teach something.

He is talking here to the disciples and the multitudes. Verses 1–3 “… The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.” The call here is synonymous to the invitation. They have been invited to the wedding and have been told to come. They are not willing to come and obviously resist the call, the invitation.

Verses 4–5 “Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.” The call goes to everyone and refers to simply that invitation to believe the gospel.

Verses 6–8 “And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.’ ” Why were they not worthy? Not because of something inherent in them because they made a decision to reject the invitation (gospel).

Verses 9–14 “ ‘Therefore, go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Those who are chosen (EKLEKTOS, elect) are the ones who responded to the invitation. All were called, all were invited, but the only ones who were chosen are the ones who responded to the invitation and had the right wedding garments. The wedding garment is a picture of the imputation of righteousness. One came who wanted to come on his own terms, and the picture here was that God says, “You are not getting in on your own terms. You are getting in on my terms, which means you wear the wedding garments I provide [righteousness of Christ].” Calling relates to invitation. The way that the New Testament writers used the term called is simply as a synonym for those who responded to the invitation.

When we look at Ephesians 1:18, “the hope of His calling,” it is His calling. He calls us, and the hope is part of the calling which is that expectation of eternal life. We come to understand all that is involved in that eternal life and our future destiny, and that comes under the next category which is “riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

The genitive phrase “of the glory” should be understood as an attributive or adjectival genitive modifying inheritance. It should be translated “what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.” We have a glorious inheritance and have to come to understand the wealth of it. We have to understand the riches that are ours in that eternal destiny in terms of ruling and reigning with Christ in the terms of the millennial kingdom and beyond that on into heaven. It is not sitting on a cloud, plucking on a harp. There is going to be a tremendous amount to do and all kinds of things we are going to advance in. The knowledge of God is infinite and eternal, and we will never ever approximate it.

We have this glorious future in front of us, and we need to come to understand it. The more we come to understand it, the more that motivates us to do well now, to develop that tough mental attitude to face the difficulties, the challenges, and the heartaches of life that come our way. We never know how they are going to hit us.

Paul says the same kind of thing in Colossians 1:5 “Because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” The past is the gospel; the promise, the future is the destiny. Our hope is our confidence today in terms of the future.

This is described in Colossians 1:23 as “the hope of the gospel which you heard.” It is that expectation of a future reality.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul uses it again in relationship to endurance. He praises them “remembering without ceasing your work of faith [production of faith in your spiritual growth], labor [produced from your love] of love, and patience of hope [endurance that your confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ produced] …” There is a hope that comes when we understand the gospel, and then there is a hope that develops and matures as we go through the process of facing trials and enduring. Hope that we have at the beginning is transformed to a mature, robust hope as we grow and mature by our understanding of the gospel as the future becomes more real to us.

In Titus 1:2 talks about this hope as being the “eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.” Titus 3:7 “that having been justified by His grace we should become [future tense] heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” You have an aorist participle, “having been justified”, which precedes the action of the verb, “become” (GINOMAI, become something we were not before). This connects hope and inheritance and our eternal life.

Titus 2:13 “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”