A Cross-Centred Life
Future Hope
In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 22b of 83

“…9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.…” (Romans 5:6-11).

 [We noted in the first part of this study that Romans 5:6-11 is really an exposition of Romans 5:5, which read: “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” We noted how Paul is saying firstly, that God’s love is displayed on the Cross; Secondly, the Cross brings future hope; and Thirdly, the Cross brings present joys. We have already considered the first point. In this continuing article, we must consider the second point. —JJL]

2.   The Cross Brings
Future Hope

a.   Paul refers to this hope as “hope that maketh not ashamed” in verse 5. But how could we have “hope that maketh not ashamed”? We could have such a firm hope, because God’s love for us has been demonstrated by Christ and made known to us by the Holy Spirit.

If Christ our Lord laid down His life for us, then is it conceivable that we will lose our salvation and face God’s wrath at the end of our life’s journey? Surely it is inconceivable. Thus Paul says:

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

It is hard to explain any clearer than what Paul has already done. If God loves us so much that Christ die for us, He will surely save us from the final outpouring of His wrath. Christ died for us when we were God’s enemies. If that is so, will? God forsake us now that we are friends of God, and Christ is living for us? If the death of Christ for us, reconciled us to God, shall not His living for us ensure our final salvation?  “If justified as sinners by his blood, much more shall we as friends be saved from wrath through him” says George Smeaton.

If you are willing to do something great for someone who was your enemy, will you hesitate to do something less for him when he has become your friend? We have become the friends of God through the great sacrifice of Christ. Will God now abandon us?

b.   “We shall be saved by His life,” says Paul. Note that the term saved or salvation in Scriptures is used with many different shades of meaning. We have been saved in our justification. We are being saved in our sanctification. We shall be saved in our perfection at death, and our resurrection and glorification when Christ returns. Now very often, the word “saved” is used in more than one sense. Our justification, sanctification and glorification are,—after all,— very closely related. We cannot have one without the other.

What does the word “saved” mean here in Romans 5:10. It means, no doubt, sanctification and glorification, and everything else in between. By the death of Christ, we have been saved in our justification. Now, by the life of Christ we shall be sanctified and preserved unto the day when we shall be glorified, and have no more sin.

The Scriptures tells us in many places that this work of preservation is maintained by the risen Lord himself. The Lord Jesus told his disciples before He went to the Cross: “because I live, ye shall live also” (Jn 14:19).

The apostle to the Hebrews explains that Christ has “an unchangeable priesthood,” for He rose from the dead, never to die again:

“Wherefore He is able also to save [us] to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (Heb 7:25).

What does it mean to save us to the uttermost?

It means to save us completely from our sins. Christ did not come to save us in our sins, but from our sins. Sin is lawlessness. Christ came to translate us into the freedom of living according to the law.

But to save to the uttermost involves also reversing completely the effect of sin in us. Therefore to save us to the uttermost would mean raising us up again at the Last Day, and giving us a glorious body like unto His own body.

The apostle Paul teaches us that because Christ rose from the dead, we will also rise. We would not only rise spiritually in our regeneration, but our bodies will rise again at the resurrection. Thus Paul would later say:

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom 8:11; cf. 1 Cor 15:23).

Yes; from now till our resurrection many dangers will confront us. There will be many dangerous pitfalls and there will be many mountains to cross. There will be wild beasts to content with. And then there will be the treacherous river Jordan. What confidence do we have that we will make it to the celestial city?

We have confidence because God demonstrated His love for us when Christ died for us. And not only so, but Christ rose from the dead and He ever liveth to make intercession for us. And did He not say, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mt 28:18). Did He not also say: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Mt 28:20) and “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb 13:5).

c.   Dearly beloved Christian, are you concerned that you will attain unto glory? I hope you are concerned. You should be concerned! If not, there indication either of secret atheism or of worldliness in your heart. No one who believes God do not desire to attain unto glory, for the alternative is eternal damnation. No one who is heavenly minded will not desire glory, for this world can not satisfy them. They know that only future glory will satisfy their inward groaning.

If you have no desire for the glory of God, I would urge you to consider your life again and remember that the glory you have today will go with you to the grave. You brought nothing into this world. You will bring nothing out of this world, not even your earthly glory and honour. In the twinkling of an eye, all that you have in this world will be lost. When you open your eyes again on your death bed, you will either see the glory of God or the curse of God. If you have no desire for glory and you are not living for God’s glory, how do you expect to attain unto glory?

The Lord Jesus says:

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Lk 13:24).

Will you not strive to live with glory in view?

But now I would speak to you who have a firm desire for glory. I know there are times when you would doubt if you would attain unto glory. When everything is going well for you, you may not doubt. But when you face severe trials and temptations, you will doubt. Scriptures shows us that and experience confirms it.

What should you do if doubt overwhelms your soul? You may not doubt the goodness of God; but you may doubt if you are good enough.

Well, then, remember it was not you, but God who justified you. And remember that If Christ died for you while you were God’s enemies, He will surely keep you in His love now that you are His friend. You are His friend by a covenant bond. Do not doubt that, or you would be doubting God. You may doubt your love for God, but never, never doubt God’s love for you. If Christ is your Lord, never doubt His love for you.

The Cross of Christ displays God’s love for us, and brings us future hope. This is why Paul says we have hope that maketh unashamed.

But the Cross does not only bring future hope. It brings present joy.

…to be Continued Next Issue

—JJ Lim