…Eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we are saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Romans 8:23–25—NKJV)

We have arrived at the busy season. It is a season of expectations, hope, waiting, and joy; and accompanied by deadlines, diminished daylight, and fussy kids “generously served over a bed” of the regular chores of daily life. How we love the holidays, the expectations of the comings and goings of loved ones, of celebratory preparations, of gift giving and receiving, of ornaments and of traditions! In the midst of all the hustle, bustle, and bother we know that there is a date on the calendar upon which all our hopes are founded and to which our minds are incessantly drawn. Though we would prefer to have our “Currier and Ives” Christmas dreams come true, often reality falls short of our expectation and we find ourselves worn out with the stress of it all—though we manage to make memories and spread a bit of Christ’s love while remembering our Savior and our God.

There is a lesson in this season for the informed Christian, which is found in Romans chapter 8. This grand and glorious chapter of Paul’s expounds the spiritual blessings of genuine believers that were procured through the inestimable blood of Jesus Christ. Along with salvation, our God gives us the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The role of the Holy Spirit is to enable Christians to live free from condemnation (1–8), pursue a life of Spirit-led decisions (9–14), face the trials of life with hope (15–25), as He energizes a fervent and effectual prayer life (26–30). The rest of the chapter assures every believer of the undying love of God that reaches every believer’s heart, no matter what is coming at him. The simple lesson, which is also fitting for this season of busyness, is this: “do not lose sight of the glorious hope you have in God!”

Verses 15 to 25 call us to face the trials of life with hope. What kind of hope? It appears to be a reflected hope (v. 18). Paul tells us to calculate the present sufferings and come to the definite conclusion that they are not of the same weight (“worthy”) as the glory which shall be made manifest in (literally, “upon”) us—meaning that God will glorify Himself in and through you so that His glory is reflected from your life (2 Thessalonians 1:5–10, 1 Peter 1:7, 4:13). This hope does not come from within and is not a self-generated hope; it is rather an expectant hope. Remember, biblical hope retains no shadow of the uncertainties of earthbound hopes. Instead, biblical hope is a certainty not yet realized.

It appears to be a shared hope (vv. 19–21). Even as all of the natural creation groans in seemingly aimless idleness and futility, because of the sin of Adam subjected to the bondage of corruption, we also groan under the labors of life in this sinful world. Yet, the hope of the believer is shared by all of creation in that believers will one day be revealed as sons of God who are the recipients of glorious liberty in Christ. In this shared hope there is shared expectancy (watch with anxious longing and outstretched look, literally “away the head”). There is a certain sense in which both Creation and believers await the time for the completed redemption.

It appears to be an inextinguishable hope (vv. 22–23). The proof of your hope is found in the groaning labor of creation around you and the very sighing of your heart as evidenced by the firstfruit work of the Holy Spirit within you. It is an unquenchable longing that beats within the chest of every believer for the finished work of God’s completed redemption (Philippians 1:6).

It appears to be a characteristic hope (vv. 24–25). Our text states that we are saved in this hope, meaning “in that hope we are saved.” This hope is not a “work for salvation,” rather it is a mark of the saved life. The believer is a person who is characterized by an inextinguishable, shared hope of reflecting the glory of God, however imperfect we currently are, until the final and full manifestation of adoption and sonship—when we are fully perfect before the throne of God. The hope of adoption is one of pardon, forgiveness, acceptance, security, and sanctification. With this kind of living hope reverberating in your redeemed heart, in full knowledge that nothing can separate you from the love of God, face the world in this season, and in every other season, in confident expectation of Christ’s victory. Trust and obey.