I’ve come to realize over the years, as I came to know Jesus and became a lay student of the Bible, and continue to be a lay student, that as I’ve initially been attracted to certain Biblical scriptures over others, that such affinity has proved to be the Lord’s way of highlighting certain scriptural truths to me, foreshadowing certain personal themes perhaps, which He had all the intention of working on and unfolding in my life.
Such scriptures would both intrigue me as well as relate to me, and would quickly become favorites, yet at the same time, their inherent truth would somewhat allude me. Romans 5:5 was one of those scriptures; fascinating, yet elusive: I wasn’t able to understand the scripture in its entirety.
In fact, the whole concept of Biblical ‘hope’ as I initially encountered it as a young and maturing Christian, seemed to always mystify me a bit. “If we have an inexorable faith, why would we or should we employ hope, which seemed much inferior to faith?” I would almost unconsciously reason. Yet hope remained a nice sentiment with me–Yes, hope is indeed a good thing. I wrote about this in a previous article entitled The Strength of Hope.
I had no thought of saying or contributing more on the subject; considering that it had already been addressed, except that the following occurred.
As happens with me upon occasion, I will awake in the wee hours of the morning to the Lord quietly, yet clearly speaking a specific scripture or thought to my heart. I love those times. This happened to me again around 4 am this morning.
Here’s the scripture I received along with my personal commentary:
“And hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”—Romans 5:5
And with that speaking the Lord imparted a deeper understanding of that scripture to me.
“And hope maketh not ashamed…”
The impression the Lord gave is that we should never be ashamed of the trials and difficulties we pass through, of the vulnerabilities our hope subjects us to, that cause us to cling to the Lord and hang on in faith to His Word, His promises. This is why the Lord through the apostle Paul included this portion of the scripture: He foreknew we would be assaulted with things like anguish, remorse, and embarrassment at times because of our hope.
And why need we not be ashamed? Because of the very truth also a part of the scripture:
‘the love of God is shed abroad…”
Our hoping, our passing through trial, test, and difficulty produces, yields, the love of God being shed abroad in our hearts.” It produces; it yields the very result of God’s love increasing in us!
“the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts…”
Where? It is not only shed abroad in our hearts, meaning its depth and riches are increased in our own hearts but it is ‘shed abroad’, meaning outwards, towards others. By holding on to our faith, holding on in hope, our lives invariably as a result become a testimony, a spreading outward, a ‘shedding abroad’ of God’s love in the hearts of others.
And the scripture ends thus, reminding us that it is all a work of His grace, of His Spirit within us:
“by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Why should we ever be ashamed of a gift the Lord has given to us in love, for love, and to increase love?
© Copyright 2012 John Hislop