Our Cherished Hope
“… through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” - Romans 5:2
It is very telling that, in modern English, we frequently speak of our “hopes and dreams,” treating the two words as virtual synonyms for outcomes we would like to see happen but which may or may not come about. As today’s passage shows, this is not the way the word hope is used in Scripture at all. Our Biblical hope is no dream.
Through Christ, Paul writes, “we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” There are many interesting nuances to this statement. First, the verb have should be translated in the past perfect tense, as have had. Second, access means “right to enter.” Third, “this grace” refers not to God’s grace in general but to a particular manifestation of His grace, and the context indicates Paul is speaking here of justification itself. Fourth, stand has to do with position. Therefore, Paul is reminding us here that, when we placed our faith in Christ, we entered into the gracious state of justification. We are in a new relationship with God, and we can be assured of salvation for that reason.
Then, having established our position in regard to God, Paul turns his eyes toward the glorious future of believers, saying that we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” To help us understand this phrase, Dr. James M. Boice takes us to the book of Exodus, where Moses asks God to allow him to behold His glory. In reply, God agrees to let Moses see His back, but He says, “ ‘You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live’ ” (Ex. 33:18–20). In these verses, Boice notes, “the glory of God and seeing the face of God are treated as identical. This means … that ‘hope of the glory of God,’ the phrase Paul uses in Romans 5:2, is nothing less than what theologians have called the Beatific Vision. It is the vision of God—the goal of our faith, the climax. So what Paul is telling us is that the boon for which Moses prayed, and for which the saints of the ages have longed for fervently, is to be ours, and it is to be ours because of our gracious justification by the Father. Those who have been justified will see God.”
As noted above, this “hope” is no dream. The God who has justified us will complete His work in us, even unto our final glorification. This hope, therefore, is a certainty, and is yet another reason we can be assured of our salvation.
You may have been a Christian for many years, but in a very real sense you are still standing in the “foyer” of God’s grace. He is going to take you farther on, even unto glorification, when you will see His face. Do you actively think about this great and certain hope? Do so, that your faith might be strengthened and your heart encouraged.
Passages for Further Study
- Matthew 27:51
- 2 Corinthians 3:12–18
- Ephesians 2:18; 3:12
- Hebrews 10:19, 22