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Written by R.Anna Phillips   


HOPE.

The Gospel Messenger--November 1881

If in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable.—1 Cor. 15:19.

This is the language of Paul to brethren—to all of all time called in this our hope—"the hope of the gospel,” “of glory,” “of salvation,” “of eternal life,” “of Christ in you the hope of glory.”

This hope is begotten of God, and springs with faith and charity in the new birth, and abides with them in perfect harmony as that the heart of their abode will believe in, hope for, and love the same things. And this hope, though already receiving and looking for benefits in this life, yet its main blessings, its far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, is to be revealed and received in the world and life to come. So that it reaches beyond this life and lays hQld on Christ for final fulfillment of the gospel promise to bring the heirs of salvation to the perfection, likeness and glory of Christ in eternal life. This grand ultimate fruition of hope as ihe invisible things hoped for, becomes so precious and priceless to the renewed heart, that it joyfully exchanges the pleasures and profits of the world and of sin, for their dear promise’s sake.

For hope fixes on things not seen, and faith, the inseparable companion of hope—though not always so manifestly abiding— is in that same heart an abiding evidence of those things not seen, and the very substance of the things hoped for. For what do we hope? Why, as to the past and present, that the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death, and quickened us into newness of life, even making us partakers of the divine nature, partakers of Christ’s life.

Faith partakes of Christ——therefore is in substance the same invisible Spirit of life. It is Christ in us. And Christ in us the hope of glory. What is this further hope of glory? The basis of this hope is Christ——Christ in us; and Christ being in us, the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead, by it our vile bodies shall also be raised up from the dead, and fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body, as an heir of the same eternal inheritance. These are the unseen things yet hoped for——” the hope of glory yet to be revealed in us. 

And faith, as I said, is not only an evidence of hope as genuine, and our first inception of Christ, and of the unseen things hoped for——but is, moreover, their substance. After that ye believed, ye were sealed with the promise of the things hoped for. And as being the substance of things hope for, Paul said: “The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God,” showing that faith in vital substance partakes of Jesus Christ—the embodiment of hope, and all we hoped for.

I think it well to consider these points, as that it may brighten and strengthen our confidence in our hope, that hath a great reward in this life. And charity, also, is an abiding, incontestable evidence of the abiding presence of hope. “And now"—in this life—"abideth faith, hope and charity.” Faith lays hold on Christ and eternal life, believing to the saving of the soul. Hope fondly expects and fervently desires, while charity loves and longs for the same. And all in harmony, in all long sufferings and endurance, strive to attain to the same things and end; and mutually evidence, strengthen and support each other in the struggles and trials incident to the pilgrimage through life. And all these, for primary evidence, go back, hand in hand, to the wormwood and the gall——the travail and pain that wrought deliverance and brought to newness of life in Christ.

Then, truly, it is Christ in you, the hope of glory. But, oh! how much is embraced in the fact. Christ in you! To have Chris in you, is to be dead to the world and sin, as Christ was. As certainly as you have Christ in you, you are in the world, as Christ was. To have Christ to love and save you, is to have the world hate and destroy you. To win Christ, is to lose the world; so that to follow Christ, looking for that blessed hope laid up for you in heaven, is to have lost all pleasures of the world and gained its contempt and hatred. Therefore, “with persecutions in this life, we receive the hope of eternal life in the world to come.” Then, how self-evident, how forcible, the fact that if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable! And how this sweetens our good hope! How exceedingly precious and blessed is this hope, when we gladly lose this world and accept persecutions, &c., for its sweet promise! And how unspeakably pleasing and priceless are the things hoped for, when if despoiled of them by a limit of time, we are most miserable. And that we lose more, and gain more, and endure more, and expect more, and are most miserable or most blessed concerning our hope, is not only proof that we, of all men, value and cling to our hope, but that of all hopes ours is the sweetest, and dearest, and best. But while its greater blessing is beyond this life, there is still a great recompense of reward here; even in having confidence in our hope: It is necessary to our peace and rest in the gospel, that we “be not moved from our hope,” but hold fast “in full assurance to the end Hope hath a patience. It is good to wait then for the Lord.

But the most fatal thing to us is to deny the resurrection of the dead; in which case our hope is cut off in this life, and our faith also is vain, and we are indeed of all men most miserable. Paul used this language as declaring the fatal, inevitable result of such a position, and in defiance of the resurrection of the dead—even of “these vile bodies.” In proof tha to preach the gqspel is to preach the resurrection, and that he had preached it as a cardinal point in the gospel, he said if the dead are not raised, then he, in preaching th gospel, had testified falsely; had testified falsely of God in saying he had raised up Christ from the dead—whom he had not raised as an individual body, if the dead entire are not raised.

Some of the brethren at Corinth had denied the resurrection of the body. But how clearly and forcibly did Paul show the ruinous results of such a position—that it was to limit their hope to this life!

In which case, having lost the benetits of the world for the gospel’s sake, and now despoiled all the blessings and benefits of that by a denial of the basis principle in it—the resurrection of the dead—they not only stood in jeopardy every hour, their very lives at stake, but worse still, they, of all men, or sects, as to religious principles, were most miserable; as that they had lost all and gained only what comes in this life—hatred and persecution—nothing more nor better. But he declared the resurrection a gospel truth. He protested against their error by their rejoicing at all; as that they had nothing at all to rejoice in, if their denial of the resurrection be true. And as “set for a defence of the gospel” in every point, he defended the resurrection as a fundamental principle in the gospel system, without which it was devoid of salvation. Then how good, how great, how precious is our hope, that by way of the resurrection reaches over time and immovably fixes in the risen Christ and eternal life! What vast issues hang upon it—even life and death! And how fatal to limit it! How weakening to doubt it! But, oh! what great recompense of reward to confide in it in full assurance. How strengthening and consoling, in faith, to bind it to our heart— an abiding, priceless jewel——the seal of promise imprinted there by the Holy Spirit as a pledge divine of the full fruition of all the unseen things hoped, promised, and waited for! And that as an anchor to the soul, that in all tempestuous tossings on the storms of life, shall stay the barque till it reaches the eternal shore!

But how many of us slander and depreciate our blessed hope, and call it “my poor little hope.” Get them to value or price it, and it becomes a rich hope, that worlds could buy; or to measure it, and it is a great, weighty hope—a reaching hope, that stretches over time and takes in all heavens--embracing Jesus Christ in, bodily fullness of God.

Oh, my precious, priceless hope! Dear, sacred blessing! yielding Valley of Achor (trouble); door of hope!Valley—or low, dark places of trouble—is the inlet for hope in its manifold benefits. “Tribulation worketh patience; patience, experience; and experience, hope.” In all our troubles and distresses, of whatever nature, hope is a sweet consoler, as it whispers, “It is only for this life, and this life short and, will soon be over, and then——” Though the heart may daily ache from unjust censure or condemnation, it sweetens the hope that says, “Jesus knows; he judges hearts and with righteous judgment; he clears your conscience. It is only through time you must endure and suffer. Time is short; rest and wait in hope. The day of revealing soon will come, and then—” Or, if we are sick, and suffering physically, why, we are consoled with the knowledge that we have hope beyond this life and body; and our flesh rests in it,is comforted with the sure world to come, wherein the inhabitants never say, “I am sick.” Or, if we are bereaved of loved ones, while nature must pine and weep, the hidden man reaches along with his hope to Christ; remembers that in weakness of the flesh, and in dishonor, he was sown to grave, and was raised in power divine, and life eternal and immortal; and thereby destroys him that held the power over death—gained the victory over the grave, and holds the keys of death and hell; and that this is a pledge of his great, immeasurable, surpassing love and power to save sinners. And then in the sweet, sacred blessedness of hope, we commit our living and our dead to Him “who doeth all things well,” and rest from this labor of love in patience of hope.

R. ANNA PHiLLIPS

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.