In the passage we will consider this Sunday at Grace (Romans 8:14-25), the ministry of the Holy Spirit is two-fold. First, the Spirit gives us the internal assurance that we are the children of God. Second, the Spirit stirs up our anticipation of the glory that awaits us as the children of God. Together, this assurance and anticipation gives us the hope for which we wait.
Assurance is so important to hope. Even though we can’t fully see what we are hoping for, some level of assurance that it is real is needed to keep hope alive.
The Spirit of God in us bears witness within us that we are God’s children.
As we renew our minds in the truth of God’s word, prayerfully meditating over it and taking it up by faith, the Spirit brings assurance to our hearts. In all the sufferings and hardships of this world, we live with a deep and growing conviction that we belong to God. God is our Father. We cry out to him with confidence that he is near.
Anticipation is also important to hope. Even though we don’t have what we long for now, some level of expectation that we will have it is needed to sustain our hope.
The Holy Spirit’s work in us now stirs up our anticipation of a completed work to come.
For instance, as we see even the smallest level of progress in faith and holiness now, we are encouraged to believe that we will be completely holy and Christlike in the near future. Any level of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that the Holy Spirit produces in us now is like a “first-fruit” that testifies that more is to come. Every time sin is put to death, love flows from us to others, worship is rich and true, and light and truth lead our way, we are experiencing the beginning of the fullness of these things to come. We anticipate more.
Assurance and anticipation stir up hope. And hope puts us in the position of waiting. That’s the Romans 8 logic: If we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Patient waiting doesn’t complain or demand, it doesn’t wander off the path or leave the post. It doesn’t lose heart or grow hard hearted toward others.
Patient waiting is a faithful, attentive, content, expectant kind of waiting. It includes joy and peace, quietness and dignity, reasonableness and rest.
These things the Holy Spirit makes real in our souls as he deepens our assurance that we are God’s children and stirs up our anticipation for the glory to come.
Let’s pray over these things this weekend and consider them together this Sunday.