“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)
The word hope in these two verses can be a little misleading. In fact, in most instances where the word hope appears in the New Testament, it can be easy for us to miss what the passage is actually saying. We tend to think of hope as something desired, something that we wish will happen, but we do not really know if it will or not. Someone will ask us if we are going to receive a job promotion, be able to take a vacation this Summer, or be approved for a loan we applied for and we respond, “I hope so.”
When we use the term hope, we are merely expressing the outcome that we personally desire. But as to whether or not it will actually happen is unknown, uncertain, and, sometimes, unlikely. We hold on to hope even in the face of overwhelming odds. When the word hope appears in the Bible, however, it usually refers to something that will definitely happen in the future. Perhaps better translated as expectation, our hope looks toward something that the Lord has promised but has not yet happened.
With that in mind, we see that what the Apostle Paul is telling us in Romans 8:24-25 is that our Salvation is not yet completed. It is by hope that we are saved, that is, hope (or expectation) is the lens through which we see the full fruition of our Salvation accomplished. This expectation of the ultimate realization of every aspect of Salvation (culminating with the “redemption” of our physical bodies, as we read in Verse 23) shows us the three tenses in which God saves the believer. We have been saved from the penalty of sin through justification, we are being saved from the presence of sin through sanctification, and we will be saved from the corruption of sin through resurrection. God’s Salvation of the Christian is past, present, and future — consummating with the Second Coming of the Lord when the bodies of those who have died are raised again and the bodies of those who remain are changed.
The moment that we come to faith in Christ, we are saved and our destiny is forever changed. We are no longer lost and bound for Hell, but are redeemed and headed for Heaven. We receive a multitude of blessings and benefits here on Earth, but our hope, our expectation looks toward that day when our journey through this life concludes and we enter into the glorious presence of the Lord forever.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,