When We Had No Hope

No hope. No more desperate words can be uttered. It means all the doors are locked. No antidote can be found. Nothing can be done, no matter the price.
In a land of plenty we refuse to be victims of hopelessness. A new doctor or experimental treatment can be attempted. Answers can be purchased. Anything so that hope remains.
Therefore, when Scripture paints a portrait of absolute hopelessness, we do not give it another thought. The “can do” spirit activates and we move forward to new solutions.
Against this backdrop of false security, we turn to Romans 5:6 and the sobering words, “When we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (NKJV).
Humans have accomplished seemingly impossible things through ingenuity and its fruits. Technologies have transformed the world. Likewise, both men and women continue to advance physically in strength, speed and agility. Weight lifters destroy records with regularity in our age. So, what does the Apostle Paul mean?
Paul refers to spiritual strength and ours is completely insufficient for what needs to be accomplished. The word “strength” refers to “the inability of man to accomplish his salvation.” /1 It is to be “weak, infirm, deficient in strength.” /2 Finally, it is to be “sluggish in doing right.” /3
We do not have enough spiritual strength to save ourselves. We cannot purchase it or attain it through charm or deception. We can enlist the help of the greatest minds and most powerful financiers in the world and it will come to naught. Nothing exists within the breadth of knowledge and abilities of man. And it never will exist. As a creation we cannot attain salvation within ourselves.
This is an extraordinary portrait of grace; God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Second Timothy 1:9 says,” who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”
Without God we have absolutely no hope of being saved. Sin is a fatal illness that will kill every person on earth. Only God has the cure and it is only given to those who will come to Him for it. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Paul continues by providing the answer to our sin problem. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). David Lipscomb said, “God goes far beyond all that man would do or conceive and commends his love to us as deeper, stronger, and purer than human hearts can know.” /4 God demonstrated his love by giving his son to die for our sins (John 3:16).
A. W. Tozer wrote, “I can no more do justice to this awesome and wonder-filled topic than a child can grasp a star. Still, by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. And so, I stretch my heart toward the high, shining love of God so that we may be encouraged to look up and have hope.” /5
With such an awesome and loving God, how could we not come to him for salvation? (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4).
1/ W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 4:204
2/ William D. Mounce, The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, 102.
3/ Joseph Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 80.
4/ David Lipscomb, Romans, 97.
5/ Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life, 105.

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

2 thoughts on “When We Had No Hope

  1. Richard,
    I think this is a very meaningful and thought-provoking article. I’m not sure how many people have been to the point of “no hope” in their life, but I have. I know how it feels. The thought of God coming to us at that point is very touching.
    Karen

  2. Karen,
    Thanks for reading my column. Your kind words are appreciated. I think there are a lot of people who reach the level of despair you mentioned. The world is blessed because you found a way through the storms. We need to support those around us who see only dark clouds in their lives. My article tomorrow will discuss this even more.
    God Bless,
    Richard Mansel

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