Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:…
II. WHAT IS ITS OBJECT? On what is this hope supremely fixed? "Upon that which is within the veil." Yes, it is attracted y the glory which is afterwards to be revealed by the fulness of grace, which is to come unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ, the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," which eye hath not seen," but which will burst upon our enraptured souls when we awake up in the Divine likeness at the resurrection morn. O what a sublime anticipation! — The perfection of the soul in happiness, which in this world is so limited and interrupted — the perfection of the soul in purity, which is now only attained in part, because "the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and we cannot do the things that we would" — the perfection of the soul in knowledge, which here is so contracted, intercepted, acquired with so much difficulty, and so soon forgotten by the weakness of memory and the infirmities of age — the perfection of the soul in holy love, which on earth is so faint, cold, and beak — the unveiled vision of God and the Lamb — intimate and everlasting communion with the Great Jehovah. Again, we say, what a sublime anticipation! How elevating — how expanding — how purifying — how cheering — how attractive! Compare it with the hope of the worldling, whose portion is only in this life, and consists of houses arid lands, silver and gold, titles and emoluments — compare it with the hope of the sensualist, who fares sumptuously every day, and cries, "What shall we eat, what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed? " whilst his soul is unfed by the bread of life, untaught by the Spirit of God. Compare it with the hope of the ambitious, whose great object is to rise upon the scale of popularity.
II. WHAT IS YOUR AUTHORITY FOR CHERISHING THIS PLEASING ANTICIPATION? ON WHAT DOES YOUR HOPE BEST? Not upon your own merits, however amiable your temper, moral your conduct, charitable your actions, and just and uniform your dealings; nor is it founded upon the mercy of God unconnected with the doctrine of the Atonement, and the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. The believer's hope rests exclusively and entirely, as you will find in the context, upon "the two immutable things," the oath and promise of God relating to the sufferings and death of His beloved Son, as the only sacrifice for sin, and the strong consolation which is derivable from a humble dependence upon His merits and love.
1. The word and covenant of God are the charter of our hopes, which we are permitted to plead, saying, "Remember Thy word unto Thy servant upon which Thou hast caused me to hope"; recollecting that "whatsoever things were written aforetime, were for our instruction, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope."
2. The finished work of Christ is the support and security of our hope; " as the law made nothing perfect, it was merely a shadow of good things to come, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw nigh unto God."
3. Our union with the Saviour, and the renewal of our soul by the converting grace of the Holy Ghost, are the evidence and the sanction of our hope, as "Christ is in us the hope of glory," and, by the witnessing of the Spirit, "we know what is the hope of our calling," and enjoy "the full assurance of hope unto the end."
III. THE BENEFITS WHICH RESULT FROM THIS DESIRABLE STATE OF MIND. "IT IS LIKE AN ANCHOR TO THE SOUL, BOTH SURE AND STEADFAST." Here a state of trial and exposure is implied. The soul, by this nautical phraseology, is compared to a vessel floating upon the uncertain and perpetually-changing surface of the ocean, where an anchor is indispensable to its safety. On what does the hope of a newly-awakened sinner rest? On what is the anchor of a believing penitent cast?
1. On the free mercy of the blessed God "who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live."
2. It rests upon the efficacy of the Saviour's blood, which is unto all and upon all them that believe; which is the price of our redemption — the purchase of our acceptance — the ratification of our place, and the balm of our consolation.
3. The invitations of the gospel are also the sanction of a penitent sinner's hope. These are the warblings of mercy's trumpet, the proclamation of redeeming love.
4. Nor can we omit. to notice the encouragement which the pleasing change produced in the sinner's mind affords to the energies of evangelical hope. Thus assured of his safety, he spreads his sails — launches forth and speeds his way towards the promised land, the better country, favoured with the superintendence of the Saviour as his pilot, the Word of God as his chart and his compass, and hope as his anchor. At length after many a storm and struggle, the believer reaches the peaceful port of everlasting bliss. Then, again, his hope, as an anchor to the soul, is most valuable. He is now waiting for the signal to disembark and to land upon the better country. He therefore resembles Paul, who, having " fought a good fight," finished his course and kept the faith, said, "I am now ready to be offered up, and the time of my departure is at hand." "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep," &c.
IV. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS HOPE.
1. This will appear if you reflect on the insufficiency of all things here below to satisfy the immortal soul and render it happy.
2. Your peace and comfort depend in a great degree upon the possession of an evangelical hope.
3. The possession of the blessing in question is indispensable from the uncertainty of life, only during the limited span of which can the hope of glory be obtained.
4. And, finally, the satisfaction and comfort of your friends who may survive you are involved in your possessing a good hope.
(W. B. Leach.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: