The Great Hope and its Earnest
2 Corinthians 5:5
Now he that has worked us for the selfsame thing is God, who also has given to us the earnest of the Spirit.

I. WHAT "THIS SELF-SAME THING" IS FOR WHICH WE ARE "WROUGHT." Studying the context, we find it to be a certain state of mind in regard to many things. We must go back to chap. 2 Corinthians 4. to understand this fully. And I think it must be allowed that it is a very great and heroic attitude. He who can take up the language of a passage like this, and honestly adopt it as the description of the state and feeling of his mind, is a -very king, and must be among the happiest of men. We have around us here and now the world — God-denying and anti-Christian — which was around the Apostle Paul. It is not changed! The apostle seems to have lived in a tough house, and yet a house that, after years of toil and hardship, became worn out and frail. If it was a great thing for him to triumph over bodily suffering, and to face death, must it not be a great thing for afflicted and suffering people to do the same now? And is it not a great thing, in these times, to be able to look to that "beyond" in faith and confidence, to cast anchor of thought and faith, as well as of desire and hope, in another life? While atheism spreads blackness over the universe, while materialism drags men down to the dust, while heartless philosophies and flippant literatures tell us "it does not matter" — in times like these it is a great thing to stand on the old watch-tower, and to look by faith clearly beyond the visible into the invisible, declaring, "Yes, I see it. I know that if the earthly house of this tabernacle," etc.

II. IT IS WHOLLY THE RESULT OF A DIVINE PROCESS. It is not a natural development. If it were so, the apostle might have said, "He who created us, when we were born, for this self-same thing is God"; or, "He who gave us life, and gave us power to mould and renew our own nature till we rise into all goodness, is God." But his words take another line. "He who hath wrought us" — created us anew in Christ Jesus — "wrought us," as the block of marble is wrought into the shape of the fair figure. So are we "wrought" by God. His work is marvellous. He must have wrought a great work in Stephen before he could stand up fearlessly, with an angel face, amid the shower of deathdealing stones. He works always along main lines, amid infinite variety of circumstance, but always with a view to the "self-same thing," and therefore in some degree along the same road to reach it; and this is the road (Romans 8:29, 30).

III. ALL THIS IS MADE SURE TO US, NOT ONLY IN DIVINE PROMISE, BUT BY "THE EARNEST OF THE SPIRIT." That is to say, this "self-same thing" means not merely a hope that something good and great is coming by and by, but that it is in part matter of experience now. There are estates in this world which you can enter by crossing a river, or going over a chain of hills. You are then in the estate, and if you know the proprietor, and he accounts you his friend, you have some feeling of safety as you travel on over moor and moss, through gloomy forest and dark defile; but if you are going to the mansion — that is twenty or thirty miles distant, perhaps, and many adventures may come to you by the way. Still, if you walk well, and walk right on — not stopping for every dog that barks, or sheltering from every shower that falls, but pressing always on — why, then, just about sunset, perhaps, the western sky all gold, sweet evening breathing peace over the earth, you will see the towers of the castle whither you are going. And the landscape will begin to soften and glow; the grass is greener now; the trees are more select; the road — how smooth it is, compared with some of the first miles you trod! And then you pass the great iron gate, and lo! yonder in the doorway is your friend who has sent for you, and who is lord of all the way by which you have come. Such is our heavenly way. Every step of it is on King's ground. We are in heaven when we begin to live to heaven's King. But it is a wide estate, and looking, and longing, and praying as they travel; and this is "the earnest of the Spirit" this is the witness in the man himself that he has "passed from death unto life," and that he shall win the life immortal at length.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

WEB: Now he who made us for this very thing is God, who also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit.

The Glorious Hereafter and Ourselves
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