Here we see a link between these three and how they interact to help us as Christians to grow. This verse reads:
“…and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
In the previous couple of verses we saw the progression and process of growth as we walk with Christ. We saw how suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character and character produces hope.
Now Paul extends that teaching to show us how hope works in us so that we are not disappointed or ashamed as we walk in Christ, and the power that fills us, keeps us and builds us up in hope is the power of God's love with which we are filled through the infilling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
It is in hope that we come to Jesus in the first place. We come to Him in recognition of our failures and sins seeking a saviour and a solution to the problems, troubles and stresses and in the hope that He will provide the answers.
And He does. Through the sacrifice Jesus made God has given us the hope of eternity. As well He gives us the hope of a better life now where He can and will resolve all the sins, troubles, problems and so on.
Hope is a powerful thing. Without hope nobody would do anything. Just consider this for a moment. It is hope that drives dieters to lose weight. It is hope that drives those who exercise to continue. It is hope that gets people out of bed who are looking for better employment. It is hope that pushes people going to university to learn new skills for a better career. And it is hope that drives Christians to walk the path Jesus set before us even though we are warned there will be persecution, failures, falls and opposition along the way.
Hope is the driving force that lifts people up and gets them moving. It is the drive that says to them, “If I do this or that it will lead me to a better place.”
Hope is the key to the walk. It is the force that pushes us along when we want to give up. But hope does not work alone in isolation as we see in this same scripture. For it is the love of God that underpins our hope so that we know His power and Hid will carries us when our hope wavers and we may feel like it is too much.
We hope and hold onto our hope of salvation because of the love of God that is given to us. We receive His love in many different ways, and the knowledge of His love sustains us through all that we have to face as we walk with Christ.
It is when we understand the love of God that we begin to hope and do not lose hope. All that we have in this life exists because of the love of God. Our salvation through Jesus Christ exists only through the love of God.
It was because God loved the world so much that He gave His,only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life…as the Apostle John wrote in that most famously of verses, John 3:16.
Everything exists because of the love of God. The grace we receive from God to lift us, sustain us as we walk, and give us the fulness of the hope of salvation comes through and because of the love of God.
But in this progress and process that we see in the first few verses of Romans 5 we understand the depth of God's love and how He has given us the fulness of His love. We have His love totally and fully because under the grace He provides and the way God established the new covenant, He gives us the Holy Spirit who reflects the fulness of God's own love.
The Holy Spirit
When God designed the process of the new covenant He was doing a number of things. In brief, this was the problem.
Man sinned and fell short of the glory of God. There was no way for man to restore himself to glory because he was a sinner. If man was to be reconciled to God, then God had to do the restoration. But God said He would have nothing to do with man because he was a sinner. So God arranged the perfect sacrifice by the death of Jesus who suffered the penalty of sin without sinning so that man could take on Jesus' death as his own and thus “die” so that the penalty of sin could be paid. In addition God said if we would have faith He would remove all our sins and set us free from the law so we could not continue in sin.
But there was more. God did not want to stop with the process of forgiveness for man and having to continue to forgive forever the failings as man constantly fell down due to the sin factor and the natural human passions and desires of the flesh. No. What God seeks is for man to achieve true perfection so that man is transformed from a walk of sin into a walk of love as He is love. He wants man to be perfected so that man's nature is reformed to be like God. So that man does what is right in the eyes of God, not because of fear of retribution under law but because man chooses to do what is right and that it becomes his nature.
God is seeking man to be transformed into God's own image so we think, act and behave like Him.
So how does this next phase of the walk happen? That is where the Holy Spirit comes in. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, counsellor, protector, guide, intermediary and more. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God to enable man to be transformed through the teaching, guiding and so on that the Holy Spirit accomplishes within man as we walk with Christ.
When the Holy Spirit completes the work he has been set by God to transform a person into to the image of God, then that person will have reached the place of perfection in Jesus Christ. And when a person is perfected into the image of God they will be like God and walk like God, and that walk is the walking in love.
So what we see the work of the Holy Spirit is, is to train a person in living in the love of God.
So when we see in Romans 5:5 that, “… God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” What we see is that the love of God is being poured into us to transform us into His love. The love of God is in the Holy Spirit which is in us when God gives us the Holy Spirit. And the work of the Holy Spirit is to align our thinking, actions and behaviours to be like His and thus to be like God's thinking, actions and behaviours.
See how much that God loves us and why we are not put to shame or disappointed in our hopes? God did not give us an external teacher to bring us into the way of love but gave us a teacher to dwell within us who reflects and IS the love of God.
God poured His love into us and we are being transformed from the inside out. As Jesus taught the Pharisees to “… First cleanse the inside of the cup…” (Matthew 23:25-26) rather than looking good on the outside but being unclean within, so too the Holy Spirit is cleansing us from the passions of the flesh from within.
This is the work being conducted on and in us as we learn to walk in the Spirit. By walking on the spirit we take control of the passions of the flesh and over time the fruit of the spirit is brought forth within us. And at the completion we hope to have the love of God not just on us but in us.
So we see the connections in all that God is doing in the working of the new covenant. His work is to bring us to perfection and every part of His word and His covenant is there for a purpose. We need to go to Him and find it and have Him lead us for that is the only way we shall truly enter and receive the love of god that transforms and promises the hope of salvation.
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