Romans 8:24
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Why do I say that we “wait for the adoption?” Because hope in the future is of the very essence of the Christian’s life. It was by hope that he was saved. Hope, at the time when he first believed, made him realise his salvation, though it is still in the future. This is, indeed, implied in the very nature of hope. Its proper object is that which is future and unseen.

By hope.—It is usually faith rather than hope that is represented as the means or instrument of salvation. Nor can it quite rightly be said that hope is an aspect of faith, because faith and hope are expressly distinguished and placed as co-ordinate with each other in 1Corinthians 13:13 : “and now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three.” Hope is rather a secondary cause of salvation, because it sets salvation vividly before the believer, and so makes him strive to obtain it.

It must not, however, be overlooked that the phrase translated “by hope,” may be taken, rather to mean “with” or “in hope.” It will then serve to limit the idea of salvation. We were saved, indeed, in an inchoate and imperfect manner, but our full salvation is still a subject for hope, and therefore it is not past but still in the future.

Romans 8:24-25. For we are saved by hope — That is, our salvation is now only in hope; we do not yet possess the full salvation; but hope that is seen is not hope — Hope here, by a usual metonymy, is put for the object of hope; and in Scripture, to see, often signifies to enjoy, and sometimes to suffer. The meaning here is, the thing hoped for, when actually enjoyed, is no longer the object of hope. But if, or since, we hope for that we see not — That is, which we do not enjoy; then do we — Naturally and usually; with patience wait for it — Especially if the object of our hope be very excellent and necessary for us, attainable by us, and assured to us in this way. Thus, if our hope of the heavenly inheritance, valuable beyond all we can express or conceive, be strong and lively, it will produce in us a patient waiting till God’s time be come to put us in possession of it, and in the mean while will render us willing to bear the intervening troubles contentedly.8:18-25 The sufferings of the saints strike no deeper than the things of time, last no longer than the present time, are light afflictions, and but for a moment. How vastly different are the sentence of the word and the sentiment of the world, concerning the sufferings of this present time! Indeed the whole creation seems to wait with earnest expectation for the period when the children of God shall be manifested in the glory prepared for them. There is an impurity, deformity, and infirmity, which has come upon the creature by the fall of man. There is an enmity of one creature to another. And they are used, or abused rather, by men as instruments of sin. Yet this deplorable state of the creation is in hope. God will deliver it from thus being held in bondage to man's depravity. The miseries of the human race, through their own and each other's wickedness, declare that the world is not always to continue as it is. Our having received the first-fruits of the Spirit, quickens our desires, encourages our hopes, and raises our expectations. Sin has been, and is, the guilty cause of all the suffering that exists in the creation of God. It has brought on the woes of earth; it has kindled the flames of hell. As to man, not a tear has been shed, not a groan has been uttered, not a pang has been felt, in body or mind, that has not come from sin. This is not all; sin is to be looked at as it affects the glory of God. Of this how fearfully regardless are the bulk of mankind! Believers have been brought into a state of safety; but their comfort consists rather in hope than in enjoyment. From this hope they cannot be turned by the vain expectation of finding satisfaction in the things of time and sense. We need patience, our way is rough and long; but He that shall come, will come, though he seems to tarry.For we are saved by hope - It cannot be said that hope is the instrument or condition of salvation. Most commentators have understood this as meaning that we have as yet attained salvation only in hope; that we have arrived only to a condition in which we hope for future glory; and that we are in an attitude of waiting for the future state of adoption. But perhaps the word "saved" may mean here simply, we are kept, preserved, sustained in our trials, by hope. Our trials are so great that nothing but the prospect of future deliverance would uphold us; and the prospect is sufficient to enable us to bear them with patience. This is the proper meaning of the word "save"; and it is often thus used in the New Testament; see Matthew 8:25; Matthew 16:25; Mark 3:4; Mark 8:35. The Syriac renders this, "For by hope we live." The Arabic, "We are preserved by hope." Hope thus sustains the soul in the midst of trims, and enables it to bear them without a complaint.

But hope that is seen - Hope is a complex emotion, made up of an earnest desire, and an expectation of obtaining an object. It has reference, therefore, to what is at present unseen. But when the object is seen, and is in our possession, it cannot be said to be an object of hope. The Word hope here means the object of hope, the thing hoped for.

What a man seeth - The word "seeth" is used here in the sense of possessing, or enjoying. What a man already possesses, he cannot be said to hope for.

Why - How. What a man actually possesses, how can he look forward to it with anticipation?

24. For we are saved by hope—rather, "For in hope we are saved"; that is, it is more a salvation in hope than as yet in actual possession.

but hope that is seen is not hope—for the very meaning of hope is, the expectation that something now future will become present.

for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?—the latter ending when the other comes.

Though we certianly believe there is such a redemption or salvation belonging to us, according to the promise of God, yet for the present we have no possession of it; all the salvation we have at present is in

hope, which, according to the nature of it, is of things not yet enjoyed, for vision or possession puts an end to hope; no man hopes for what he sees and enjoys. For we are saved by hope,.... We who have received the firstfruits, who were in a lost perishing condition, and by nature no better than others, than the Gentiles, are saved by sin and wrath to come by Christ, with a spiritual and everlasting salvation. They were already saved in the preparations and purposes of God; in the covenant of grace; in the arms and hands of Christ, through his purchase; and as considered in him; and with respect to the inchoation and application of salvation, in effectual calling, and their right unto it by the righteousness of Christ; and with regard to the certainty of it, in faith and hope: the manner in which they are said to be saved, is "by", or "in hope"; not that hope is the cause of salvation, but the means by which souls are brought to the enjoyment of it; salvation, or glory, is the object of it:

but hope that is seen, is not hope; for what a man seeth why doth he yet hope for? in the former clause, "hope" signifies the grace itself, but here the object of it; which is represented as unseen, not yet fully enjoyed, something future, and to be hoped for; as the resurrection of the dead, which is the object of hope, and is unseen, and even incredible to carnal reason, and is to come, and good foundation there is in divine revelation, to hope for it; and the hope of it is of great use to the saints, whilst in this world of trouble: eternal glory and happiness is also the object of the hope of believers; it is said to be the hope of their calling, which they are called by grace to; the hope of righteousness, which the righteousness of Christ is the ground and foundation of; and that blessed hope, the sum of their happiness; and hope laid up for them in heaven, where it is safe and secure; all which is unseen, and yet to come; but good reason there is to hope for it, since the Scriptures of truth so clearly express it; and the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ, lay such a solid foundation for hope of it: the Alexandrian copy reads, "why doth he yet wait for?" and so the Ethiopic version, with which agrees the Syriac version, reading the whole, "for if we see it, why should we wait for it?"

{23} For we are saved by hope: but {f} hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

(23) Sixthly, hope is necessarily joined with faith: seeing then that we believe those things which we are not yet in possession of, and hope does not refer to the thing that is present, we must therefore hope and patiently wait for that which we believe will come to pass.

(f) This is spoken by the figure of speech metonymy, that is, hope, which stands for that which is hoped for.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 8:24. Τῇ γὰρ ἐλπ. ἐσώθ.] Ground of the υἱοθεσίαν ἀπεκδ., so far as the υἱοθεσία is still object of expectation; for in hope we were made partakers of salvation. The dative, “non medii, sed modi” (Bengel), denotes that to which the ἐσώθ. is to be conceived as confined (Winer, p. 202) [E. T. 271], and τῇ ἐλπ. is prefixed with the emphasis of the contrast of reality; for “sic liberati sumus ut adhuc speranda sit haereditas, postea possidenda, et ut ita dicam, nunc habemus jus ad rem, nondum in re,” Melancthon. Comp. Titus 3:7; Colossians 3:3 f. Following Chrysostom, others (recently Rückert, Köllner, and de Wette) take the dative in an instrumental sense; by hope—thus assuming that Paul characterizes faith, the proper medium of salvation, as hope. Incorrectly, because in general Paul specifically distinguishes faith and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13), while he always bases salvation only on faith, from which hope thereupon proceeds (comp. Colossians 1:27); and here especially, as is shown by what follows, he brings into prominence the definite conception of hope, which as δόξα μελλόντων (Plat. Legg. I. p. 644 C) rests in the προσδοκία ἀγαθοῦ (Plat. Def. p. 416 A). Hofmann also takes τῇ ἐλπ. in the sense of the means, but so that it shall signify the benefit hoped for, the object of the waiting, which God has offered to us in the word, by which we were converted to faith (Colossians 1:5). Thus, however, the thought that we have been saved by hope (instead of by faith, Ephesians 2:8) is set aside only by the insertion of parenthetical clauses. And in Colossians 1:5, the blessing hoped for, heard of through preaching, is set forth as the ground, not of conversion or salvation, but of love.

ἐλπὶς δὲ κ.τ.λ.… ἀπεκδεχ.] is a deduction from Τῇ ἘΛΠ. ἘΣΩΘ., closing the first ground of encouragement, and meaning substantially: “the nature of hope, however, involves our patiently waiting for.”

βλεπομένη] But a hope (ΔῈ ΜΕΤΑΒΑΤΙΚΌΝ) that is seen, i.e. whose object lies before the eyes (comp. on the objective ἐλπίς, Colossians 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 6:18; Thuc. iii. 57. 4; Lucian, Pisc. 3; Aeschin. ad Ctesiph. 100). Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:18.

τί καὶ ἐλπίζει;] Why doth he still hope for it? By καί is indicated the—in the supposed case groundless—accession of hope to sight (1 Corinthians 15:29). Comp. generally, on this strengthening use of the καί, etiam, in lively interrogation, Klotz, ad Devar. p. 633 f., and on 1 Cor. l.c. Bengel aptly remarks: “cum visione non est spe opus.”Romans 8:24 f. This sentence explains why Paul can speak of Christians as waiting for adoption, while they are nevertheless in the enjoyment of sonship. It is because salvation is essentially related to the future. “We wait for it: for we were saved in hope.” The dat τῇ ἐλπίδι is that of mode or respect. Our salvation was qualified from the beginning by reference to a good yet to be. Weiss argues that the sense of ἐλπὶς in the second clause (res sperata) makes it “absolutely necessary” to take it so in the first, and that this leaves no alternative but to make τῇ ἐλπίδι dat comm and translate: “for, for this object of hope—eternal life and glory—were we delivered from eternal destruction”. But the “absolute necessity” is imaginary; a word with the nuances of ἐλπίς in a mind with the speed of Paul’s need not be treated so rigorously, especially as the resulting construction is in itself extremely dubious. Hope, the Apostle argues, is an essential characteristic of our salvation; but hope turned sight is hope no more, for who hopes for what he sees? We do not see all the Gospel held out to us, but it is the object of our Christian hope nevertheless; it is as true and sure as the love of God which in Christ Jesus reconciled us to Himself and gave us the spirit of adoption, and therefore we wait for it in patience. For διὰ cf. Romans 2:27. ὑπομονὴ: in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 we have ἡ ὑπομονὴ τῆς ἐλπίδος ὑμῶν used of a suffering but steadfast Church: ὑπομονὴ is the constancy which belongs to and characterises hope in dark days. In the pastoral epistles (1 Timothy 6:10; Titus 2:2) instead of the πίστις, ἀγάπη, ἐλπίς, of earlier letters, Paul writes πίστις, ἀγάπη, ὑπομονή, as if he had discovered by experience that in this life “hope” has mainly to be shown in the form of “patience”.24. For we are saved] Lit., and better, we were saved; at the time of our deliverance from darkness into light.

by hope] “Hope” has the article in the Gr.—If our English Version is retained, the meaning will be that our conversion was effected, in one sense, by the discovery of “the hope laid up in heaven” for the justified. But the connexion of salvation with faith is so marked and careful in N. T. doctrine that it seems far more likely that the true version (equally proper in grammar) is, we were saved in hope; i.e. when we believed we accepted a salvation whose realization was future, and could therefore be enjoyed only in the hope we felt in view of it.—“Salvation” here is used (as e.g. 1 Peter 1:5,) for the crown of the saving process; final glory.

hope that is seen] i.e. “the hoped-for object, once seen, (as present,) ceases ipso facto to be hoped for.”Romans 8:24. Ἐλπίδι) the dative, not of the means, but of the manner; we are so saved, that there may even yet remain something, for which we may hope,—both salvation and glory. He limits the present salvation, but, while he limits, he by that very circumstance takes it for granted.—τί καὶ) why yet does he hope for it? Where there is vision, there is no need of hope. The blessed will be sure of the eternity of their blessedness, because they shall have no need of hope; and therefore they will be established in it.Verses 24, 25. - For by (or, in) hope we were saved; not are saved, as in the Authorized Version. The aorist ἐσώθημεν, like ἐλάβετε in ver. 15, points to the time of conversion. The dative ἐλπίδι, which has no preposition before it, seems here, to have a modal rather than medial sense; for faith, not hope, is that whereby we are ever said to be saved. The meaning is that when the state of salvation was entered upon, hope was an essential element in its appropriation. A condition, not of attainment, but of hope, is therefore the normal condition of the regenerate now; and so, after shortly pointing out the very meaning of hope, the apostle enforces his previous conclusion, that they must be content at present to wait with patience. But hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Now comes in a further thought, and a very interesting one. By hope (τῇ ἐλπίδι)

Better in hope. We are saved by faith. See on 1 Peter 1:3.

Hope - not hope

Here the word is used of the object of hope. See Colossians 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 6:18.

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