Waiting for the Hope of Righteousness
James Smith, 1860
The gospel, like some swift-winged messenger of mercy from the upper skies, flies through the world, having in its hand an act of grace, for the emancipation of the slaves of sin and Satan; and proclaiming a full, a present, an everlasting pardon, to all who will accept of it. It prescribes no conditions — but only asks us to believe, receive, and be happy! It takes the willing soul by the hand, and leads it from the Lawgiver — to the Savior; and delivering it from the law — places it under grace. Now there is no condemnation. Now there is no ground for doubting or fearing. Now the slave — becomes a child, the servant — becomes a son.
Into this state, the Galatians were brought, by the preaching of Paul; from this state, they were being led by the Judaizing teachers; therefore the Apostle reproves them, reasons with them, and exhorts them to stand fast in the liberty, with which Christ has made them free, and be no more entangled with the yoke of bondage. He insists upon it, that it must be all law — or all grace. Moses alone — or Christ alone. That justification must be gratuitous — or altogether by our own works; and if any one sought justification, in whole, or in part, by the works of the law — he was fallen from grace. "For we," said he, "through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." Galatians 5:5. We, through the teaching, and power of the Spirit, wait for the blessed object of our hope — even eternal life, by faith.
Here is an ATTRACTIVE Object."The hope," not a grace — but a prospect — not a work within us — but an object before us. The hope that is laid up for us in Heaven, of which we have been informed by the gospel.
It is something good, exceeding good.
It is something future, which we are led to expect.
It is something attainable, though its attainment may be difficult.
It is an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away, which is reserved in Heaven for us.
It is a house not made with hands.
It is a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
It is a state, in which we shall enjoy a freedom from all evil, and be put in possession of all real good, both physical and moral.
The poor body will no more suffer from pain — but will be healthy, spiritual, powerful, and immortal.
The soul will be no more tormented by sin, nor harassed with doubts, and fears — but will be holy, confident, and happy forever.
O glorious hope, prepared for us, by our Heavenly
Father's love; procured for us, by our beloved Savior's sufferings and
death, and revealed to us, by the blessed Spirit, in God's holy book!
The GROUND of Our Hope is Righteousness.
The righteousness of Jesus.
A righteousness, which is the gift of grace.
A righteousness, which becomes ours through faith.
A righteousness, which Jesus wrought out for us.
A righteousness, which the Holy Spirit revealed to us.
A righteousness, which became ours by believing in Jesus.
A righteousness, which was provided by the Son of God, which is imparted to us by the Father of mercies, and which we were enabled to apprehend and appropriate through the aid of the eternal Spirit.
This is the righteousness of God, which is by faith of
Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all, those who believe, without any
difference. No righteousness — no Heaven. No faith — no righteousness. How
important then is faith in Christ!
The MEDIUM of Possession, is Faith.
Not works, however splendid.
Not experience, however deep.
No — but by simple faith alone, the righteousness of Christ becomes ours; and through that righteousness, the hope of eternal life. In this faith, there is first the persuasion of the existence of this righteousness. Feeling our need of a righteousness, we are led to the Divine Word; there we are informed, that God through the life, labors, and death of his beloved Son — has provided a righteousness for sinners. Hence springs up in the mind, the persuasion that there is already prepared, the very righteousness we need. Then we embrace the righteousness provided for us, and presented to us. And perceiving that God has laid up in Heaven a glorious hope for all who believe in his Son, a confident expectation of enjoying it, springs up in the mind.
We expect it as a free gift. We feel confident, because
God who cannot lie, has promised. Being a free gift — no worthiness
is expected in the recipient. Being provided by a faithful God — we can look
forward to it with confidence and joy. It is promised to faith — not to
works; to believing — not to doing. "It is," as the Apostle says, "of faith,
that it might be by grace."
Our Present Position is Waiting.
We wait for the glorious object of our hope.
We have to wait God's time — when we shall be put into possession.
We wait in God's way — which leads us directly to the inheritance.
We wait in God's work — who employs us for our good, and his own glory.
We wait — and should do so patiently, though briars and thorns be with us.
We wait — and should do so with perseverance; though the Lord may delay, and we may be deeply tried, sorely troubled, and often filled with painful solicitude.
Waiting supposes, that we believe the object of hope to
be real, certain, valuable, and worth waiting
for; and this is preeminently the case with the hope of the gospel. We shall
have a real Heaven, the same that Jesus has. Its value is
incalculable, for it comprises all that is good, great, and glorious. It is
certain, as certain as the promise and oath of God, the obedience and
blood-shedding of the Son of God, and the witness and the earnest of the
Holy Spirit can make it. O glorious object of our hope! Hoping for what we
see not; that which is real, invaluable, and certain — well may we with
patience wait for it.
The SOURCE From Whence We Derive Grace To Wait, is the Spirit.The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of God, as the Spirit of Christ, works faith in our hearts, produces patience and fortitude — and fixing the eye on the glorious hope, enables us to wait for it. We are not more indebted to the work of Christ without us, for a title to this hope — than we are to the Holy Spirit within us, for a perception of it, a desire to possess it, and patience to wait for it. By his gracious influences and divine teaching — he encourages us under all our difficulties, supports us in all our conflicts, witnesses to our interest in it, and points us forward, persuading us that we shall possess it. Blessed Spirit, you begat in me a desire for glory, you revealed Jesus to me as the way to obtain it, you worked faith in my heart to believe and expect it, and hitherto you have enabled me to wait for it.
Brethren, see, first, on what your eye should be fixed — the hope laid up for you in Heaven.
See, second, on what your heart should rest — the righteousness of God our Savior.
See, third, the principle you should cherish, faith. Not doubts, or fears, or languishing hopes — but faith. Faith in Jesus and his finished work! Faith in God, and his covenant love, and most holy Word.
See, fourth, the posture in which you should be found, waiting.
Not sleeping — but watching.
Not loitering — but working.
Waiting, or looking for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God, our Savior Jesus Christ.
See, finally, the agent to whom you are indebted,
the Holy Spirit. Yes, to the Holy Spirit, you are laid under the deepest
obligation, and to the Holy Spirit you should render constant praise. Seek .
to realize more of his presence,
to feel more of his power,
to experience more of his love, and
to exhibit in your daily life and conversation more of his fruits.
O my soul, see to it that this is your daily experience, and seek grace to say, "I, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."