Original photo by rjshiflet
Daily Reform, Romans 13:11-14
From the Reformer
Fourthly, in regard of order in degree: faith is first, and before all adversities and troubles, and is the beginning of life. (Heb 11) But hope follows after, and springs up in trouble. (Rom 5)
Fifthly, by reason of the contrariety: faith fights against errors and heresies; it proves and judges spirits and doctrines. But hope strives against troubles and vexations, and among the evil it expects good.
Faith in divinity, is the wisdom and providence, and belongs to the doctrine. But hope is the courage and joyfulness in divinity, and pertains to admonition. Faith is the dialectica, for it is altogether prudence and wisdom; hope is the rhetorica, an elevation of the heart and mind. As wisdom without courage is futile, even so faith without hope is nothing worth; for hope endures and overcomes misfortune and evil. And as a joyous valor without understanding is but rashness, so hope without faith is spiritual presumption.
—Martin Luther, Table Talk
Pulling It Together
Hope gives faith a reason to exercise. Why would one wake up and begin the day in darkness without hope of imminent daylight? Would a sane person keep struggling against her troubles without embracing some hope? In a world continually bent on evil (Gen 6:5), why would anyone offer it fairness and goodness? Life is stricken with sin and wrongdoing, so why would anyone have the temerity to try to be a good person?
There are only two answers: either ignorant stubbornness or hope. But from where does a rational and enduring hope arise? “Hope is built on nothing less” than what Jesus did and provides. This is why the night is already far gone and the light dawns on the horizon of our hearts. Even “when darkness seems to hide [God’s] face, [one may] rest on His unchanging grace.” Resting, trusting, in God’s grace offers the hope of a new day—a new life.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers