The Hope of our Calling
“…that you may know the hope to which he has called you…” (Ephesians 1:18)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:18
We come now to look at the specific things Paul desired for his readers as he prayed they might grow in their knowledge of God. As mentioned last time, there are three of them.
First, he desired that they might know “what is the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18). This refers to the glorious future God has in store for his children. That is the way the New Testament uses the term “hope.” It is not a vague and uncertain expectation that something good will happen. It is the certain, assured confidence of something laid up in heaven for us and ready to be revealed at the last time (1 Peter 1:5). In other words, it is the “inheritance” that we have already considered (Ephesians 1:11, 14).
Paul often writes about this hope. In his letter to the Colossians, for example, a letter that was written at the same time as the letter to the Ephesians, the apostle connects the faith and love of the Colossian believers with the “hope” that is laid up for them in heaven (Colossians 1:5). Later in the same chapter, he speaks of the certainty that they will be presented holy and blameless before God “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard…” (Colossians 1:23).
Similarly, in his letter to the Romans, in a section in which he speaks of how Christians “groan inwardly” as they wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of their bodies, Paul writes: “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24-26).
In this latter quote, Paul makes clear that the “hope to which he has called you” relates to something unseen that will come to pass in the future. It belongs to the new order of things that will come about at the end of the age. He also says that this hope gives rise to patient waiting – especially on the part of those who are suffering. It is something so glorious that “the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
While “hope” is of special value to us in the context of suffering, tough times are not the only times when it supports us. It helps when we are tempted by the world and its pleasures, and when our present life has little meaning for us.
The truth is that the “hope to which we have been called” is something that we should dwell on every day. It has the power to make the heaviest of burdens lighter and the deepest discouragements bearable.
- How often do you think of the world to come and the glory we will share there with Christ?
- Is this perhaps a comfort to you now in the midst of trials, sufferings and discouragements?
– Andrew Young