“For in this hope we were saved” – part 1

Wouldn’t it be great to have proof that the Spirit is working in our lives? Where’s the evidence of the Spirit producing “life and peace” in me, for instance, when I still get to thinking I’m not doing enough for God, I’m not praying enough to get results, I’m not in tune with God’s will, and I’m not doing my part properly? I can’t help but wonder “Where is the evidence of the supernatural in my life when my thinking is still so stuck on the natural plane?” I feel like one of the audience in the church at Corinth when Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:1 – “I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly.”

But there’s one obvious proof the Spirit is at work in us: it’s hope. Despite everything we have hope. And what makes that so clearly the work of the Spirit is – there’s no logical reason for hope. How can anyone have hope living in this world? It’s awful, and it only threatens to get worse as the population increases, the Earth’s resources cannot keep up with demand, climate change causes havoc, politicians dither, and greed rules. Our world is exactly as Paul described it: “subject to frustration” and “in bondage to decay,” and no one has come up with a solution that everyone agrees with or is willing to commit to.

And then we have our own problems to deal with, living in this world. It affects our health, our jobs, our hopes and dreams of financial stability and a good life in retirement. We have no control over taxes, prices or things breaking down. And if you’ve got family conflicts, troubles with bullies, weird neighbours, and your church (your one source of comfort) is gradually disappearing as well, there’s not much reason for hope, is there? In reality, in this world, there’s no reason for hope at all.

Any hope we’ve got, then, has to be supernatural. And Paul talks of a supernatural hope too, “For in this hope we were saved,” he writes in verse 24. That’s powerful hope. It has the power to “save” us, even in a world like this. So, where does it come from? It comes from the Spirit, verse 23. Because we have “the firstfruits of the Spirit…we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” We can actually see what God has in store for us. Yes, we still “groan inwardly,” verse 23, as we wait it out in this world, but the Spirit breaks through the gloom for us with a vision of what’s coming to give us hope in such an awful world…(continued in Part 2)

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