By Irvin Himmel
To the Galatians, Paul wrote, “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith” (Gal. 5:5). The main thought in that sentence furnishes the title of this article.
1. We wait by faith when the gospel is preached. After the farmer or gardener sows the seed, he cultivates, waters, and cares for the plant, patiently waiting for the harvest. He has faith that the seed will germinate, the soil will be productive, and the sunshine will cause growth according to God’s natural laws.
In like manner, we do not expect immediate results each time the seed of the kingdom is sown. We show our faith in God’s word, in the divine laws for the growth of the kingdom, and in the promises of God by cultivating and watering, and by patiently waiting for the increase.
2. We wait by faith for the coming of the Lord. Jesus has promised that He will come again (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11). No one knows of that day or that hour (Matt. 24:36). We do know that “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28). Our citizenship is in–heaven, “from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). “Look for” in this passage is the same as “wait” in Gal. 5:5. It conveys the thought of eager expectation as well as patient readiness.
3. We wait by faith for eternal life. We who are Christians live “in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Tit. 1:2). That which is the grand object of our hope is unseen, for “hope that is seen is not hope . . . But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Rom. 8:24, 25). This is what Paul is referring to in Gal. 5:5. We, through the Spirit’s revelation by means of the word of God, wait for the hope of righteousness. The Spirit reveals that righteousness or justification is through Jesus Christ, not the works of the law of Moses. Eternal life is the hope offered to all who attain to the righteousness that comes through the exercise of faith in Jesus Christ. We wait (rather than grow discouraged or turn back) for the hope of righteousness by faith.
The life of the Christian is one of the earnest expectation and diligent service in patient waiting; it is a life of fidelity to Christ.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 35, p. 569
September 6, 1979