Hope for the Holidays
Category : General
Romans 15: 4 (KJV)
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
It has been observed that the connection between the different parts of the text is this: First, the apostle lays down a Christian’s duty (Romans 15:1-2). After that he brings forward, as the sanction of that duty, the spirit of the life of Christ (Romans 15:3). Next, he adds an illustration of that principle by a quotation from Psalms 69:1-36. Lastly, he explains and defends that application (verse 4). So, we have the principle upon which the apostles used the Old Testament, and we are enabled to understand their view of inspiration. This is the deepest question of our day. In the text we find two principles.
This passage quoted was evidently spoken by David of himself. Nevertheless, Paul applies it to Christ. Moreover, he uses it as belonging to all Christians (verse 4). “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” Had the Psalm applied only to David, then it would have been of private interpretation; instead of which, it belongs to humanity. As we look, the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem. That seemed limited to Jerusalem; but had it ended there, then we would have had a prophecy of private–i.e., peculiar, limited–interpretation: whereas our Redeemer’s principle was this: that this doom pronounced on Jerusalem was but a specimen of God’s judgments. The judgment coming of the Son of Man takes place wherever there is evil grown ripe, whenever corruption is complete.
This is a “general” observation which struck the mind of the apostle, from the particular case which he had just specified. He had just made use of a striking passage in the Psalms to his purpose. The thought seems suddenly to have occurred to him that “all” the Old Testament was admirably adapted to express Christian duties and doctrine, and he therefore turned aside from his direct argument to express this sentiment. It should be read as a parenthesis.
We are reminded that it is through patience, and by the exhortation of the Scriptures, we might obtain hope. But it is through the patience exhibited in example in the Scriptures that we are to have hope. And though the original word signifies exhortation as well as comfort, yet here the latter is to be preferred. In the next verse, with reference to this declaration, God is called the God of patience. Now God is the God of consolation, that is, the God who is the author of consolation to His people. But to call God the God of exhortation, would be an uncouth expression.
We should read the Scriptures with a view not to gratify our curiosity, but to increase and nourish our hope of future glory. This passage teaches that we should encourage ourselves by the example of those who, amidst similar temptations, have overcome. For this purpose, the conduct of those who obtained a good report through faith is set before us, that we may not be slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises. It is in this that we have “hope for the holidays.”
Have a great and God filled day!