1 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;…
Of all the ingredients that sweeten the cup of human life, there is none more rich or powerful than hope. Its absence embitters the sweetest lot; its presence alleviates the deepest woe. Surround me with all the joys which memory can awaken or possession bestow — without hope it is not enough. But though you strip me of all the joys the past or the present can confer, if the morrow shineth bright with hope, I am glad amid my woe. Of all the busy motives that stir this teeming earth, hope is the busiest. Is it so in regard to the pleasures and possessions of time? — how much more should it be in regard to eternity? How should, how can that man be happy amid the brightest joys of time, who sees his little span of life shelving down precipitously into the dark, dreary, desolate abyss of nothingness or into a more dreadful eternity of woe? and how should, how can that man be greatly saddened by the ills of time, who sees a blissful eternity fast drawing nigh? Thus then we realize the value of hope as a source of happiness. It gladdens the pilgrimage of earth, it irradiates the dark horizon of death, and provides for the eternity beyond.
I. WHAT IS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR HOPE? Most men live in hope of happiness beyond the grave. Few men, I suppose, are altogether destitute of it. But when we ask for a reason for the hope that is in them, how often do we find it a dream and a delusion and a lie! Some, acknowledging their sins, trust that by their prayers and penitence and performances they can atone for bygone sin, and others who, confessing the worthlessness of all they can do, throw themselves on the general mercy of God. In none of these do we recognize the foundation on which our hope is resting. And what then have we seen in the work or person of Christ to awaken hope? We reply — 1, Looking back on the past work of Christ we find a sufficient remedy for the guilt of sin.
2. Looking at His present work, we find a remedy for our pollution. He purifies His people as well as pardons them. He regenerates and renews them by His Spirit, as well as redeems them by His blood. He reconciles them to the holiness as well as to the justice of God.
3. How is the strength of this foundation proved when, turning from the work to the Workman, we contemplate the surpassing excellencies of His Person! Who is this that undertaketh to provide pardon for the guiltiest, and purifying for the most polluted? It is "the Lord" — the Lord of Glory — the only-begotten of the Father — the eternal Son of God. What virtue, then, in His atoning death I what prevalence in His prayer! what power in His hand to purify! It is "Jesus," the Son of Mary, an Elder Brother, partaker of flesh and blood, made in all things like unto His brethren, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with our griefs. How true and real, then, were the sufferings which He endured when He died for men, and how tender are His sympathies as now He pleads for or with us — "a High Priest, touched with the feeling of our infirmities"! Once again, this is the "Christ" — anointed by God, commissioned for this very work. He does not stand alone; the Father sent Him.
II. But now, in the second place, some may ask, WHERE IS THIS WARRANT OF OUR HOPE? Who are you, or what have you done more than others, that you should thus confidingly draw near to Jesus? The warrant of His holy Word — yes; with unfaltering voice we proclaim aloud that Christ speaking to us in the Word was, and is, the sure and only warrant of our hope.
III. But again, in the third place, we have learned to say, The Lord Jesus Christ accepted, appropriated, built upon by us, is THE SUBSTANCE OF OUR HOPE. Received and rested on He became our Saviour.
IV. But then, in the fourth place, we learned to say THAT CHRIST IN US, CHRIST FOUND AND DWELLING IN US IS THE EVIDENCE, THE ASSURANCE, OF OUR HOPE. "I live," said Paul — "I live": there was no uncertainty here, no dim or doubtful hope, but all the certainty of conscious life — "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." "The Lord Jesus Christ is my hope," the principle of life in me. As the sap of the root dwells in every branch and leaflet, imparting life and verdure; as the volition of the head lives in every member, guiding all its actions; as a master dwells in his own house, controlling all its arrangements, so Christ dwelleth in His people by His Holy Spirit, quickening, controlling, guiding them, conforming them to His own likeness. Well then may the Christian say, "Christ in me is the hope of glory." This is indeed a step in advance in the Christian's life! It is more than salvation provided, however fully; it is more than salvation offered, however freely; it is more than salvation accepted, however surely. It is salvation in possession.
V. But now, when thus we have considered THE SECURITY OF THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE AS CONTRASTED WITH THE FALSE HOPES OF THE WORLD, LET US CONSIDER THE BRIGHTNESS OF THIS HOPE. It is not only sure, but glorious, transcending all else that men have ever pictured for themselves. For what does the Christian hope? I know not what I shall be, but when He shall appear, I shall be like Him. I am called to "the obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ." This is our destiny. We are "predestinated to be conformed to His image." Say, then, how dazzling is the glory of the Christian's hope! Jesus stands revealed not only as our Saviour, but as Himself the pattern of our salvation. Where He is, there we hope to be. What He is, that we hope to be. What He has, we hope to have.
VI. But now, in the last place, it may be asked, WHEN SHALL THIS HOPE PASS INTO POSSESSION? Bright as the salvation of which I have spoken may be, it is not yet fulfilled, it is only hoped for. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. Till fulfilled, it is fragmentary and incomplete. What, then, it may be asked, is the period when hope shall pass into full possession? An earnest and foretaste we have in this life, yea, unspeakable joy when our sins are forgiven and our hearts are purified. An amazing increase we shall have at the hour of death, when our disencumbered spirits shall break away and be with Jesus. To those, then, who now ask us, as we live on earth, Is your joy complete? is your hope fulfilled? we answer, Not yet; not even when our sins are pardoned and our hearts are purified; not even when at a communion table we hold fellowship with our present Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the climax of our hope. When He appears in glory, but not till then, shall we appear with Him, our joy completed and all our hope fulfilled.
Parallel VersesKJV: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;