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Links in the Chain of Security: Hope

Romans 5:2-4 March 29, 1998 90-186

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Now Romans 5 is our chapter for tonight as we look again to the living and abiding word of God. Romans 5. Let me just read the first few verses of this great chapter. "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace, in which we stand and we exalt or rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only this but we also exalt or rejoice in our tribulations knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, improve in character and improve in character, hope and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our heart through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

This is one of the great sections of Scripture in the book of Romans, for that matter, anywhere in Scripture. It reminds us of our security. Peter said in 1 Peter 1:5 "we are kept by the power of God." What he meant by that was once the Lord takes us into his family and makes us his own and adopts us as son, he keeps us. What a statement. We are kept by the power of God. In fact in John 10, Jesus said we are kept in the father's hand and no one is able to take us out of his hand. Once you have come to the knowledge of Christ, you are kept by God unto eternal glory and without question that is the most comforting doctrine in the Scripture. Take it away and fear replaces joy. It is without question the most comforting doctrine to know that once I'm a Christian, I am secure forever. My joy, my comfort is dependent largely on the security of salvation that God has given me. If it's something he gives and takes and gives and takes and I have to forfeit my joy and my confidence. But my security in salvation is based on the character and power of God and his promise in Scripture.

This is the heart of the passage I just read to you. And it's been a couple of weeks since we looked at this passage so just briefly I'll take you back to some of the things that we said. What we have here is a chain with links that hold us eternally to God. And it's very important that Paul gives that here in chapter 5 because he has been dealing in the book of Romans with the matter of God's wrath in chapter 1, God's judgment in chapter 2, the inability of man to save himself in the first part of chapter 3 and then in the middle of chapter 3 he transitions into salvation by grace through faith alone and talks about how it is that God saves sinners. They escape the wrath of God simply by faith, by believing in the person and work of the Lord Jesus.

And then in chapter 3, Paul talks about justification by faith as the only way to be right with God and shows how no works can earn our salvation. It is a gift that comes to those who believe. Then in chapter 4, he illustrated salvation by grace through faith alone by the life of Abraham, who was the patriarch of all Israel who was the model of saving faith and who really established the standard of salvation through faith and being the greatest example of that very reality.

And so he's been talking then about justification in chapter 3 and chapter 4 by faith. Now the question that immediately is going to come to the mind of the Jew is this. All right. I can accept salvation by grace through faith. The Lord is going to save me but what if I sin? Am I secure? That's the question. Can faith alone, at the point of salvation, secure my relationship to God all the way to final judgment or can something invade that? Can it happen as Paul has prescribed it that I believe and embrace Christ but somewhere along the lines, something goes wrong. I fall into sin. I fall into doubts and questions and God let's go of me. Of course Paul's answer is that's not possible. Faith alone is enough to save and the saving faith that God grants is a permanent saving faith that holds on to a permanent salvation.

The Apostle Paul wants to make this very clear in chapter 5 so he starts putting together the links in the chain that hold us eternally to God in Christ. Link number one, let's go back to verse 1. Link number one that demonstrates the security of our salvation, "therefore having been justified by faith", which sums up everything he said since the middle of chapter 3 right on through chapter 4. We have been justified by faith. We are secure in that justification, that being declared righteous, because we have peace with God. That is the first link. We are at peace with God. Remember that I told that you God is at war with sinful men. As I read to you this morning in Psalm 139, God hates the wicked. He's angry with the wicked. In fact Psalm 7:11 says God is angry with the wicked everyday. And whether men and women are consciously at war with God or not, they are his enemies and he is consciously at war with them.

In fact, in Ephesians 2:3 the ungodly are called children of wrath. That is to say they are born into a family that will experience the wrath of God. They are the objects of God's violent wrath. However, because of our faith in Jesus Christ by which God declared us righteous, peace was made. God's anger was satisfied. Because Christ bore fully the penalty for sin. He spend all of his fury on Jesus Christ. That's why Ephesians 2:14 says he is our peace. Because God's wrath was spent on Christ, he made peace with believing sinners. And by the high priestly work of Christ, his intercessory work, he maintains that peace. So Isaiah 32:17 says "the work of righteousness shall be peace and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever." That is a great verse. That's Isaiah 32:17. The work of righteousness shall be peace. When God declares a person righteous, a settled peace takes place and the affect is forever.

We have made peace with God because all his anger has been spent on Jesus Christ and we have permanent peace with him through our Lord Jesus Christ. The second link that ties us permanently to God in our salvation is in verse 2. "Through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith". Just as he talked about being justified by faith in verse 1, he talks about being introduced by faith, introduced into salvation. "Into this grace, in which we stand." Here's the second great truth. Our salvation is secure because we have permanent peace with God and permanent standing in grace. We stand in grace. This is just an immense concept.

Again verse 2 indicates it is because of Jesus Christ. Verse 2 starts "through whom" referring back to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is through Christ we have peace with God. He is our peace. It is through Christ, we have a standing in grace. Through his work at Calvary, all our sin being paid for, God is then free to be gracious to us. He cannot give us grace and just ignore our sin. It must bear it's appropriate punishment, Christ became our punishment and consequently we have - remember I told you in verse 2 - we have the Hebrew or Greek word rather and this is a very important Hebrew concept but the Greek word is "access". We have access into this grace in which we stand. We now stand in the sphere of grace. We breathe the air of grace. We live in the kingdom of God where grace is the operative principal. Grace is the place where all sin is forgiven and all sin is forgotten. All sin is removed as far as the east from the west, buried in the depths of the sea and remembered no more. We live in the sphere of grace where Christ ever lives to make intercession for us. We live in the sphere of grace where he keeps on cleansing us from all sin. We live in the sphere of grace where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. Or super abound the Greek says.

Access is the regular Greek word for ushering someone into the presence of royalty. Crosogoga, the word access literally was used to usher someone into the presence of royalty. It was the word used for bringing a worshipper into the presence of God and we have been ushered into the presence of God and found there a sphere of grace. Jesus opens the door to God and ushers us in. And when we get there, we find not condemnation. We don't find judgment. We don't find vengeance. We don't find anger. We don't find hatred. We don't find hostility. We find undeserved, unmerited, unending grace. And God is free to do that because Christ has fully paid the penalty for all our sins.

Psalm 1:5 teaches that believers will buy that grace, be able to stand, even in the judgment. Even in the judgment. So the relationship that we have with God is one of peace by which we have been introduced into the state of grace in which our standing is not (this is an important word) is not at all precarious. It is not at all precarious. The work of Christ created the peace. The work of Christ allowed for the grace.

And there is a third link as we see the chain coming together. We enjoy peace with God, standing in grace and thirdly, hope for glory. Hope for glory and that's verse 2, middle of the verse right on down through verse 5 at the very beginning. This really is the sort of completion of his initial discussion of this matter of security. And this is most basic to a Christian's life. We are saved in hope Paul says in Romans 8. In other words, we were saved and understood at the time of our salvation that this meant we were headed for heaven. This meant were going to be in the presence of God. This meant we were going to eternal glory. This meant that someday we would be conformed to the image of God's son. In fact, Paul in writing to the Ephesians in chapter 1 says we have obtained an inheritance. We have obtained an inheritance in our salvation. That's something not yet received but already designated for us. That is an eternal inheritance already designated for us. To use the words of Jesus and John 14, a place already prepared for us. And it says in Ephesians 1:11, "this inheritance has been predestined according to his purpose who works all things after the counsel of his will." So God has predestined an eternal inheritance to belong to us according to his purpose. Verse 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ, should be to the praise of his glory. When we came to Christ, we came in hope that we would receive an eternal inheritance. And to guarantee that it says in verse 13, "you were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise who was given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God's own possession to the praise of his glory."

When you were saved you were saved in hope, anticipating eternal heaven. When you were saved, you were fulfilling a predestined plan by which God had predetermined to bring you to eternal glory. That pledge was guaranteed to you at your salvation because you were given the Holy Spirit who took up residence in your heart as the down payment, the arabond, the engagement ring, the first installment of your eternal glory and the Holy Spirit has given to every believer to guarantee the future fulfillment of God's promised inheritance. That's all part of our salvation. That's all a part of what it is to come to Christ. when you are told about the gospel and believing in Christ it is with the hope of heaven. The hope of eternal joy and bliss and blessedness and glory and perfection and you are secured in that hope by the purpose of God. You are secured in that hope by the intercession of Christ. You are secured in that hope by the indwelling seal of the Holy Spirit of promise.

And in verse 15 to 21 of that first chapter, it's a great, great section. We don't have time to get into all of it but Paul there is praying and asking that God the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, verse 17, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. He says now that you've come to faith in Christ, I want you to understand what that means. I want you, verse 18, to have your heart enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. I want you to understand now that you are Christian, the fullness of your promised inheritance. That's what being saved means. It means you have now been given the right to an eternal inheritance. Paul doesn't pray, I hope you'll hang on to it. he prays I hope he'll get a grip on understanding the immensity of this tremendous promise. This is God's promise. You have been given a hope and that hope is the hope of his calling. The hope of God's calling, that is the hope that is integral to the calling of God. There is no salvation without faith. There is no salvation without grace. There is no salvation without Christ and there is no salvation without hope. That's an essential element of salvation. You are saved in hope. you are saved understanding that what salvation means is that God is preparing a place for you in eternal glory, that he has laid aside an inheritance for you undefiled, incorruptible that fades not away, reserved, as Peter said, for you in glory.

So you have peace with God. You stand in grace. And you live in hope. Looking at that from another angle, the security of the believer is anchored in the past because Christ made peace with God at the cross. The security of the believer is maintained in the present because we stand in grace and the security of the believer is guaranteed for the future because we were saved in hope. Every way you look at it, from every dimension, past, present and future, our salvation is secure. Christ secured it in the past, having made peace with God, through his own sin payment - though he was without sin. It is secured in the present because grace is abounding to us no matter what sins occur in our lives. It is secured in the future because God has predetermined before the foundation of the world to bring us to eternal glory.

Peace settled in the past. Grace abundant in the present. And hope for the future. Those are the great realities that anchor us. Now more about this hope. Go back to the text of Romans 4 and look with me at how he views, Romans 5 rather, this great, great hope. Verse 2 "we exalt" - which is another way of saying we rejoice, I suppose in the vernacular today you would say we are really excited - "in the hope of the glory of God." It's cocasthiein the Greek. It is a jubilation. It is being thrilled. It is being ecstatic. It is being happy at the highest possible level of joy. Because we are at peace with God and that is a settled issue, Christ having born all the wrath of God for our sin because we stand in grace, and where sin abounds, grace super abounds. We therefore have no fear for the future. Nothing can alter the peace and nothing can void the grace. We constantly then rejoice in our secure future our future having already been settled.

And he says it this way in verse 2, "we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Hope is simply anticipation. It's confidence in the future. It's not wishful thinking. It's a settled fact. It's a settled knowledge. 1 Timothy 1:1 says "our savior and Lord Jesus Christ who is our hope." And of course our hope for the future, our confidence in the future is anchored in Christ as is our grace and our peace. Our hope in future glory is built and based on the Lord Jesus Christ. So here we find the Apostle Paul looking at the security of the believer with complete joy. No fear. Joyful, confident, boasting words of those who are secure in the assurance of an ultimate salvation, guaranteed to them by the promise of God, the intercession of Christ, the application of grace, and the resident promise of the Holy Spirit.

Now when he uses this phrase, the glory of God, we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. What is he talking about? What does he mean? Specifically, the glory of God? Well he means the glory that belongs to God. In other words, our hope is that we're literally going to share in glory that belongs to God. You say that sounds impossible. It is from a human standpoint impossible to think about but God has so pledged to us. John 17:22 Jesus in his high priestly prayer you'll remember said "the glory which you gave me, I have given them." What an amazing statement. The Lord Jesus Christ said to the father, I have shared our glory with them. if you are a believer right now, he has already shared his glory with you by giving you the Holy Spirit who dwells within you, the very presence of the glory of God.

What is the glory of God? It's simply the expression of his person - the expression of his person. We have been given a measure of the glory of God. There's much more to come. Romans 8 - we already went through the chapter. Just a reminder, verse 18 "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." In the future, there is going to be a manifestation of glory to us and through us the likes of which we cannot even imagine. We cannot even imagine. It goes on to talk about the fact that we groan to experience. We groan, verse 23, within ourselves waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body for in hope, verse 24, we have been saved. We're not what we're going to be right?

We've been saved in hope. We've not yet seen the glorious manifestation of the sons of God he talked about in verse 19. We have not had the redemption of our body that someday will be made into the very body that is like that of our risen Lord Jesus Christ. We have been saved in hope. And he says in verse 24, "hope that is seen is not hope. Why would one hope for what he sees?" So we have been saved in anticipation of something we've never seen. Now this is a very important part of our salvation. I can tell you why very practically. Because for many people, when they became Christians, life got much more difficult. I hate to tell you that but Jesus coming into your life is not the end of all your trouble. It may just be the beginning of a whole lot of new trouble. I'm sure life was much more complicated for the Apostle Paul after his conversion than it was before.

And throughout the history of Christianity, when someone proclaims the Lord Jesus Christ, it is inevitable if they are faithful in doing that the persecution will come and being a Christian doesn't at all protect you or insulate you from all the grief of this life. Christians struggle. They struggle in their lives with sin. They struggle with temptation. They experience disappointment, unfulfillment, shattered dreams, broken relationships, messed up marriages, broken families, disappointing children, loss of jobs, cancer, heart disease, and death. They go through economic difficulties. They go through challenges just like everybody else does. Let me tell you something folks, our salvation is largely predicated on something we will experience after this life. Isn't it? Coming to Christ doesn't eliminate all the problems of this life. In fact, it compounds them for us because all the things we are naturally drawn to, we have to say no to.

And so we live these lives that are restricted by the word of God because we love and honor the Lord God and are confident he has something prepared for us in the future that makes any suffering in this life small compared to the glory to which he will reveal in us and the more faithful we are in obedience to him, the suffer here for righteousness, the greater will be our eternal glory. And we're all banking on that, aren't we?

We are saved in hope. We haven't yet seen the very real ultimate end of our salvation. Here we are gathering and serving the Lord and entering into study of the word of God and the application of the word of God and trying to live lives that are unto God and do all of this and I promise you this, they are no earthly rewards pledged to you. It won't necessarily make you rich. It won't necessarily make you healthy in spite of what people want to say. We're basically looking to the future. We are saved in hope. Now what kind of salvation would it be where the future wasn't secure? Where you made all of these commitments and endeavor to do all of these things but had no guarantee along the way that you were ever going to make it? Boy that would get old. Real fast. that is such a travesty on what the Scripture teaches. We have made peace with God because all our sins have been dealt with. Christ made that peace. He is our peace. We stand in grace. No matter what sin comes into our life, grace is granted in response to that sin and we were saved in hope. The whole purpose of God in saving us indicated in Romans 8:29 was that we might become conformed to the image of his son.

He saved us to take us to glory and make us like his son. We were saved in hope. That is to say the hope of sharing in the glory of God. 1 John 3:2 "being like him" "being made like him". 2 Corinthians 3:18 "being transformed into his image from one level of glory to the next." Philippians 3:21 that incredible statement that we'll be transformed into a body like unto his glory. Just amazing, amazing promises. The hope of the glory of God then is our confident assurance that in the future, we will partake of divine glory. We will literally partake of divine glory. We will enter into the consummation, the glorious revealing of the children of God.

In 2 Timothy 2:10, Paul is talking about salvation. A lot of passages on the subject but here's one that you might overlook. Paul says, "I endure all things for the sake of those who are the elect, who are chosen, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus." Listen to this. "Salvation, which is in Christ Jesus and with it, eternal glory." It is intended to salvation that we receive glory. Eternal glory. Some day we will be made like Christ. We will be made in his image. We will be perfect and without sin and holy. We will be the brothers of Christ as Romans 8:29 says. "He will be the chief one among many who are made like him."

Verse 30 says he predestined us. He called us. Romans 8 he justified us. He glorifies us. You're going to make it to glory. Everybody who is justified ultimately is glorified. There cannot be any failure on God's part in this plan because God made the plan and God has the power to carry it out. Listen to Jude, the end of the little epistle of Jude is a wonderful benediction. "Now to him who is able to keep you from" what? Falling. "Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory blameless with great joy." There it is. The pledge and promise that God is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory blameless and with great joy.

That's the promise of God. He's going to keep his promise. He has the power to do it. That's why we sing "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but holy lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground" is what? Sinking sand.

"When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on his unchanging grace." What the writer is saying is even when sin comes into my life and I've lost the view of his face, I rest on his unchanging grace. "In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil." That's from the book of Hebrews where the anchor is within the veil in the holy of holies in heaven. His oath, his covenant, his blood support me in the whelming flood when I'm drowning in problems here and I'm supported when all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.

The writer knew exactly what he was talking about. Our hope is secured in the power of God, the promise of God, presence of the Holy Spirit and the wonderful intercessory work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is our great hope. Blessed be, writes Peter, 1 Peter 1:3, "the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope." What is that? Verse 4, "to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you." Then verse 5, "who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." You are protected and you'll be brought to that final glorious salvation.

Now let's go back to Romans 5 and he continues to talk about this hope in ways that are so wonderful. In verses 3 and 4 of Romans 5, he expands on what he has said about hope. He has talked about rejoicing in hope. Now he says, verse - well we'll pick it up at verse 3. "Not only this. Not only do we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God but in the meantime, we also rejoice in our tribulations knowing that tribulations bring about perseverance and perseverance proven character and proven character hope." This is really wonderful and it's kind of what I was saying earlier. The believer not only rejoices in the glory to come. We rejoice in the hope of glory. We are thrilled and excited about what awaits in the presence of God but in the meantime we're not down in the mouth and we're not in despair even when we're going through tribulation.

Why? Because we understand (listen) that tribulation contributes to perseverance and perseverance contributes to proven character and proven character enlarges our hope. Why? Because as we become more and more like Jesus Christ, we will be the recipient of greater and greater eternal reward. That's the bottom line. For example, if as a Christian you suffer what I call righteous trouble. You suffer for righteousness sake, you're persecuted, you're wrongfully accused and abused, you're misjudged, misrepresented, assaulted by the kingdom of darkness, assaulted by family and neighbors and coworkers and classmates and whoever else, you are falsely accused, that is a positive. We rejoice in that. Why? Because it's an honor to suffer for Christ, isn't it?

Paul saw it as an honor to bear on his body the marks of Christ. It's an honor to suffer for the one who suffered for you. Not only that, it's a joy to experience sustaining power. It's a joy to experience sustaining grace. As we saw with Paul in 2 Corinthians 12, the more he suffered, the more his prayer life was enhanced and it was a joy to commune with God. And when you suffer and you see the delivering hand of God, it increases your faith. So righteous trouble is a cause for rejoicing. It's an honor. It's a privilege to bear the marks of Jesus Christ. It's a tribute to your faithfulness to do that. It's a joy to experience the sustaining grace and power of God in the midst of that. It's a privilege to see that drive you to knees and increase your prayer life and thus be enriched by the communion of prayer. It's a special blessing to have faith increased as you see the power of God expressed in your suffering. But even unrighteous suffering.

Let's talk about unrighteous suffering or unrighteous trouble. Well what do you mean by that? I mean the trouble you bring on yourself because you sin. That happens too, doesn't it? I suppose we could put it under the category of chastening. Hebrews 12 if you're going to sin and violate the law of God and as a Christian you're going to live a disobedient life, the Lord is going to chasten you. He's going to come to you like a loving father would come to a child that he cared about and he's going to bring about the necessary discipline. He says in Hebrews 12, "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord nor faint when you are reproved by him, for those whom the Lord loves he disciplines and he scourges every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as sons for what son is there for whom his father does not discipline. If you are without discipline, which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons."

Listen if you are a Christian and you will sin and you will be disciplined. That's just the mark of being a Son of God. And they, like earthly fathers, discipline us and we respect them. Shall we not respect God when he does it? They disciplined us, verse 10, for a short time, as seen best to them. He disciplines for our good that we may share his holiness. What a great statement. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

So what is happening is the Lord is chastening you and producing holiness and righteousness. So that's what verse 3 is saying, "we rejoice in our tribulation." Why? When it's righteous suffering, it's a privilege to suffer for Christ. When it's unrighteous suffering, it's purging us and sanctifying us and conforming us to the standard of holiness. So we can say as Christians, we rejoice in all our sufferings, all of thelipses, all the pressure. Why? Because it produces something in us. Look at it again in verse 3. It produces perseverance or literally pupomone, endurance. Endurance. It means - it's from the verb minnow, to be, to remain. It's the preposition pupa, which means under. To remain under. To endure under circumstances and when you go through these sufferings, they produce endurance and endurance produces, the translator say, proven character.

Docamain, that literally means tested character. The word dacamazo- familiar word - means to put something to the test for the purpose of approving it. Proven character is good translation. All the flaws removed. So we rejoice in the future hope. But we're not concerned about what happens here in terms of its negative impact. The worst that can happen to us here at the hands of others that persecute us has a positive effect. Worst that we can bring upon ourselves by our own sinfulness, God disciplines and produces out of that, the path of holiness and sanctification. So verse 3, we rejoice in our tribulation because it produces endurance. Endurance produces proven character. The end of verse 4, and proven character leads to an expanded, more wondrous, more joyful, more fulfilling hope.

Boy that is such a great, great truth. The more you suffer in this world, the brighter your hope becomes. The more you suffer for righteousness in this world, the brighter your hope becomes because the greater will be your eternal reward. So as the Lord refines us and refines us through persecution or through chastening, he is more and more causing us to be able to endure and to be shaped into proven character. The tree shaken by the storm roots itself more deeply. And that's what happens in our lives. Salvation doesn't refine the character. It just plants the capacity. The trials really do the refining. And we rejoice in tribulation. That's what's so wrong about much of the emphasis today. People seem to think that the Christian life should be a path in which you escape tribulation. Somehow everything needs to be immediately fixed. Whether or not we're supposed to go to some miraculous path to find the miraculous answer to fix our problem or some counselor to fix our problem or some alteration of circumstances. The fact of the matter is it is the very trials and tribulations of life that God uses to shape us and we should embrace them with joy because they produce a greater and greater hope. They make you long for heaven more and they'll make eternal heaven even more glorious by increasing your eternal reward.

1 Thessalonians 3:3 puts it this way. "So that no man may be disturbed by these afflictions." Why? For you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. We have been destined for this. Andrew Murray has the idea. He writes, "First he brought me here. It is by his will I am in this straight place. In fact, I will rejoice. Next he will keep me here in his love and give me grace to behave as his child. Then he will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons he intends me to learn and working in me the grace he means to bestow. Last in his good time, he can bring me out again how and when he knows."

You are literally, even now while waiting for eternal glory, being conformed to the image of Christ and given a greater way to glory through your sufferings. We are then secured to God with a peace that cannot be altered. A grace that cannot be replaced. A hope that cannot be destroyed. And verse 5, "And hope" (I love this) "does not" what? "Disappoint." "Does not disappoint." The idea here is someone who becomes ashamed because they trusted something that deceived them. They were bilked, we would say. They were conned. Boy, the world is full of such people. My, my. Everybody outside the truth of Christianity and any other religion is in the midst of a satanic con job, aren't they? And their hope is going to be smashed someday. People without hope are described in Ephesians 2:12. People with a deceptive hope are described in Proverbs 11 but we have a hope that will not disappoint. And we're never going to be ashamed. Never going to be ashamed.

Those are three great realities that link us to eternity. And they're really all built on the immense and amazing love of God. Look at verse 5, "All of this because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us for while we were still helpless at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." And he goes on to discuss that. But that's for next time. All of this is linked to another great immense link. Peace that's one great link. Grace that's one great link. Hope that's one great link. But the anchor to this is God's great love. And we'll look at that next time. Let's pray.

Father, we are so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to contemplate these great realities, thankful to you for not only doing these things but revealing them to us with such great clarity that we can't miss understanding. Our hearts are overjoyed because of it. We thank you for our eternal salvation from which we can never be severed. Lord we aren't worthy to be saved. We aren't worthy to be kept. We certainly aren't worthy to be glorified but that makes it all the more your glorious work for which we thank you and praise you. Lord, if there are any here who have not entered into this glorious salvation, by which they are linked eternally to the living God, we pray that this might be the very hour of their great salvation. Be merciful to sinners and save them for your glory. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.