Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
I love this verse too much. This verse tells you how to have an experience with God.
First, let’s start with the context, which is absolutely extraordinary.
Rom 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: Rom 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. Rom 15:10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. Rom 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. Rom 15:12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
The context is hands-down brilliant. Paul starts in vs. 8 with a brief dispensational explanation about the purpose of the Lord’s earthly ministry. He was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers… The Lord came into the world to fulfill the promises to Israel about the Lord establishing His kingdom here on Earth.
Christ, the Messiah of Israel, would come into the world through the line of David and establish His kingdom here on Earth (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Matt. 1:23). As Zechariah wrote, “The Lord shall be king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9). He’ll reign out of Jerusalem (Isa. 2:3; 24:23; Jer. 3:17). His reign will extend over the entire Earth. “Yea,” David wrote, “all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him” (Psa. 72:11). “Yea,” Zechariah wrote, “many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord” (Zech. 8:22). Daniel would prophesy, “And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him” (Dan. 7:14). All of Israel’s sufferings and sorrows will be gone (Isa. 35:10; 40:2; 61:3). The governments will be purified (Isa. 11:4; 61:11; Jer. 24:5). Imagine that! Only the Lord can truly “drain the swamp!” Plus, war and bloodshed will be abolished (Isa. 2:4; 9:6). Health and long life will be restored to the human race (Isa. 35:5,6; 65:20). The animal creation will be tamed (Isa. 11:6-9). The sin curse will be removed from the Earth (Isa. 35:1,2,6,7). And on and on the prophesies went about His Kingdom here on Earth with the Lord literally sitting on David’s throne in Jerusalem.
God also promised Moses that Israel would be “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exo. 19:6). They would be priests in a thousand-year kingdom (Rev. 20:4-7) in which they’ve inherited the uttermost parts of the earth, in which the Lord would sit upon David’s throne (Jer. 23:5-8), and the nation of Israel herself would be the ones who are sent out to bless the whole world about Christ. Zechariah would proclaim, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:23; cf., Isaiah 61:6; 1 Peter 2:5,9; Rev. 5:10, 20:6). This is why everyone was saying “the kingdom is at hand” in the Gospels (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7)
But then in vs. 9 of Romans 15, Paul makes a connection between the Lord’s earthly ministry and the Gentiles rejoicing! He wrote that the Lord Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers… Why? So that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. Paul tells us that the endgame for the gospel of the kingdom during His earthly ministry was always the conversion of the Gentiles, so that the Gentiles might rejoice in the kingdom along with all the people of Israel! BUT Israel had to be converted first (John 4:22) before they could be that nation of priests God always wanted them to be (Exo. 19:6), and then they would be the instrument of His salvation to the Gentiles (Zech. 8:23). They would go out into the world to tell the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Back to Romans 15. Paul then, in vs. 9, does something extraordinary. He quotes David from 2 Sam. 22:50, which is just amazing. This quotation of David isn’t even prophecy about the kingdom. That verse is just a lyric to a song.
Not one grace pastor in a million years, when making a dispensational point about the gospel of the kingdom, would ever think to quote this verse by David. Paul makes a dispensational point using a lyric from a song of David that had nothing to do with prophecy or the Lord’s kingdom here on Earth! Can you believe that? This lyric was from David’s famous Song of Deliverance after his war with the Philistines.
What lyric does Paul quote? In Rom. 15:9, he writes, “…as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” It’s absolutely brilliant what Paul’s doing here. The point is unmistakable. That lyric was about David’s joy after God delivered him from the hands of the Philistines. And the result of David’s joy for his deliverance from his enemies was that he became excited to tell all the Gentiles about the God of Israel so the Gentiles will join him in singing praises to God!
Why does Paul use that lyric? Because this is the same way the believing remnant of Israel will feel after the Tribulation. Just as God had delivered David from the hands of the Philistines and David’s reaction was to confess to thee among the Gentiles, to tell the Gentiles about the Lord God of Israel and sing His praises so they might glorify God with him, so too, after the Tribulation, after God has delivered His remnant from the hands of their enemies, their reaction will be just like David’s. They will be excited about confessing God among the Gentiles, to tell the Gentiles about the Lord God of Israel so they will all sing His praises along with Israel, so that, as Paul said in vs. 9, the Gentiles might likewise glorify God for his mercy.
Do you see the connection? When Israel is delivered through the Tribulation, they will be feeling the same way as David after he was delivered from the Philistines. The result will be total exhilaration in each one of them about sharing with the Gentiles the good news about the Lord Jesus Christ… just like David.
Then in Rom. 15:10, Paul cites another lyric from another song: the Song of Moses before he died in Deut. 32. Paul writes, “And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.” Even in time past, God miraculously delivering Israel from their enemies served as motivation to witness to the Gentiles so they might also have hope and rejoice with His people! The same will be true after the Tribulation when Israel, as a nation of priests, will likewise tell the Gentiles to rejoice and to praise God.
Then in vs. 11, Paul cites David again from Psa. 117:1. He writes, “And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.”
In vs. 12, Paul cites Isaiah 11, which is actual prophecy about the Lord reigning on this Earth in the kingdom. Paul writes, “And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.”
Then Paul brings it all home to talk about us, today, in grace. Now that God has set aside Israel “for a reason and for a season” (Rom. 11), Paul says in Rom. 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Do you see the point Paul is making by connecting the rejoicing of the Gentiles after Israel’s deliverance to us rejoicing right now? By suddenly shifting the focus from the kingdom program to God’s work in us, the point is unmistakable. We are to now rejoice with as much exhilaration as the Gentiles will be rejoicing in the kingdom! Because that same God who gave hope to Israel, that same God who will use Israel to bring salvation to the Gentiles in the kingdom, that same God has delivered you from the consequence and the power of sin. That same God of hope is now operating IN YOU, and this is cause for you to rejoice with as much exceeding gladness as the Gentiles in the kingdom saved through Israel!
Paul opens Rom. 15:13 by calling God “the God of hope”. God doesn’t just give us hope. He is hope. All hope exists in Him. He lives with hope. He abides in hope. Hope is part of the essence of who He is. We often define hope around our church as a “confident expectation of a sure thing.” That’s how God feels. God has perfect confidence in the sureness of everything He will do, which He will do perfectly, because as Moses also sang in Deut. 32:4, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect.” God cannot but do perfect work because He cannot but always be what He is: perfect, holy, righteous, full of all knowledge so that every conceivable aspect of everything is thoroughly considered before He does anything. Or promises anything. So what Paul is talking about is God’s own confident expectation of a sure thing in His fulfillment of all His promises becoming our own confident expectation of a sure thing.
When we get close to feeling His level of confidence in the fulfillment of all His promises, the inevitable result is joy and peace in believing, abounding in hope, which is the power of the Holy Spirit operating inside of us when we study His Word, all of which helps us to feel what God Himself feels. We abound with joy because God abounds with joy. His joy has become our joy. We abound in peace because God abounds in peace. His peace has become our peace. And we abound in hope. We abound in a confident expectation of a sure thing because God Himself abounds in a confident expectation of the sure thing in the fulfillment of all His promises, just as we have seen Him already accomplish in the OT. This is about God’s confidence, God’s peace, God’s joy, becoming our confidence, our peace, and our joy in all the glory to come.
Do you want to have an experience with God? This verse tells you how to do it. We can all, each one of us, have a literal experience with God. Not only that, God wants you to have an experience with Him. And He tells you how by pointing out in Rom. 15:13 the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit operating in you to make you filled with His joy and His peace, abounding in His hope. God is telling you that He wants you in His Word and that when you study His Word, He will help you to feel His peace, His peace of mind and heart, His peace that passes all understanding, and you will also feel His joy while abounding in His hope. God wants to have such an intimate relationship with you that He wants you to feel what He is always feeling. And when you start to feel His peace, His joy, and His hope, that is the power of His Spirit working inside of you.
And all of this is a literal experience with God.
If you want to experience God in your life, if you want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit, then you come to His Word, you study it, you believe it, and the result is that you can feel the riches of His peace and His joy in your heart. You can feel your mind and your heart abounding in hope. When you come to understand the sound doctrines of grace in Paul’s epistles by the Spirit, you can’t help but rejoice, because it’s all good news. Then you rest in that peace, that assurance, that joy of hope. Plus, that joy and that peace and that increasing confidence in God’s promises that you feel is literally the power of the Spirit at work inside of you. When you study His Word and you feel that peace and that joy, that is a literal, firsthand experience with God at work inside of you through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit.
You want to have a firsthand experience with God Himself? Get into His Word. Get into the epistles of Paul. Get into the sound doctrines of grace, and you will have a firsthand experience with God. You will feel His peace, His joy, and His abounding hope in all His promises to you.