“Prisoners of Hope”
“Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.” (Zechariah 9:12)
Once the Spirit of God reveals Christ in us, once he gives us a confident, lively assurance of faith and an assured hope before God, we are still, as long as we live in this body of flesh, “prisoners of hope.” I find within me “the company of two armies” constantly at war. When I would do good, evil is present with me (Song of Solomon 6:13; Romans 7:14-23; Galatians 5:16-17). Child of God, is it not so with you? Are you not constantly constrained, with the Apostle, to declare, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
That is not merely my doctrinal confession. It is my daily experience. Try as I may I cannot pray, except he put a prayer in my heart. I read the Book of God, but I cannot hear his voice except he speak by his Word. I cannot call upon him except he call me. I cannot run after him except he draw me. I cannot turn to him except he turn me. I cannot seek him except he seek me. I cannot worship him except he inspire worship in me. I cannot speak to him until he speaks to me. I cannot hold him except he hold me by his grace. I cannot resist the slightest temptation except he save me from the tempter’s power. I cannot but fall except he uphold me by the right hand of his righteousness. When I fall, I cannot cease from my downward spiral of iniquity except he stretch out his arm and catch me in his mighty hand. When I am fallen, I cannot get up except he pick me up and cause me to stand.
A Prisoner of Hope
Yes, we are prisoners in these houses of clay; but blessed be his name, we are Christ’s prisoners, and we are “prisoners of hope,” and ours is “a good hope through grace,” because Christ is our Hope. He “is the Hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof” (Jeremiah 14:8). We have been begotten of God by the resurrection of Christ unto a living hope, and that living Hope is Christ himself living in us, “the Hope of glory.”
The hope of the hypocrite shall be cut off, and his trust shall be as a spider’s web” (Job 7:14). But Christ our Hope “ maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost” (Romans 5:5; Lamentations 3:21-26). — “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. The Lord is my Portion.” Our hope is his mercy. We are “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Our hope is his great compassion. Our hope is his faithfulness. Our hope is his great goodness. Our hope is his salvation.
How delightful, how blessed it is while in this prison, ever to turn to the Stronghold Christ Jesus. Though I am a prisoner in this body of flesh, I am a prisoner of hope; and my hope I shall enjoy. I hope, at last, to be presented by God my Savior, faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy!
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