“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
Let’s think about this prayer of Paul’s for a moment in the context of the holiday season. Christmas is all about the birth of Christ, his first advent, his arrival into humanity. The Eternal God, the creative Word that has coexisted with the Father always, takes on flesh, as a helpless babe. Because of this birth, this life, we have faith today.
We are able to be in relationship with God and Paul’s prayer reminds us that God is a trinitarian God, One God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And they are all active in our lives because of the arrival of that babe in a manger.
Paul calls God the Father, the “God of hope.” There is wrath against sin but this God has made a way for resolution and reconciliation with him. Rather than a far off deity unconcerned with our lives, or a cold callous supreme being, God brings hope. Hope for salvation and the renewal of creation. And in relation to us, he is the actor, he is the One that moves just as in sending his son, he fills us with all joy and peace.
“All joy and peace in believing,” this then is the place of the Son, the God-man Jesus. The One in whom we believe – that he lived in our place and died in our place to cover sin and give us a taste for this hope of God. And in believing in Jesus, we are filled with all joy and peace.
This not simple momentary giddiness, but deep, Joy in God and peace of conscience, both arising from a sense of our justification in Christ. Because we have been justified, made right before God, through faith in Christ we can now have joy in God. Expectant, purposeful joy.
We are fully known and fully accepted by God in Christ. This is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness knowing that you have a loving Father who dances and sings with excitement over you.
Advent, this Christmas time can be difficult. Emotional. Like generations waiting on the Messiah to come, we can find ourselves waiting for the aches and brokenness of this world to be finished. We can be lonely and long for relationships or a break from the chaos. This is our remedy and rest, the joy in God through Christ. And it says ALL… not brief, not just some, but enduring, dumped on, filling joy.
In Christ we also have peace. The peace that comes in knowing that there is now no condemnation for those that believe in him. The peace that has us living in response to our eternal security and not trying to earn it. The peace of knowing that Jesus is in control and has a plan for us.
Don’t miss the opportunity to believe in Christ today. That Jesus worked to save you. It is the place of joy and peace.
The God of hope fills us with all joy and peace in believing in Jesus, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Here is the Spirit active and working, empowering you that you may have plentiful, inexhaustible hope.
We abound in hope, the Spirit works, when we are believing, being filled by this God of hope with joy and peace. We don’t generate hope, no we are filled with it by another. And this is what Paul is praying for you.
Hope to get through the holidays. Hope for transformation, and turning from sin. Hope for the salvation of those we love and reconciliation with those that are our enemies. Realizing what God has already done in our lives and hoping for greater victories for the gospel in the future. Hope for an end to violence and bloodshed. Hope for unity and harmony.
And in Christ, this is what we have to offer the world. Hope.
We abound in hope by God’s grace and this is what advent is about for us. The waiting and the faithfulness of God to come, to work mightily, and now another time of waiting, not for salvation but for finality. For eternity with our king, in the fullest of joy and peace.
In hope, let’s look forward together.