Now the God of hope
This character is taken from the latter part of ( Romans 15:12 ) , and is occasioned by it, "in him shall the Gentiles trust", or "hope"; and is proper to God as he is the author and giver of this grace; for naturally men are without it; that which is a good hope is the gift of God, and through his grace, and is wrought in the heart in regeneration; for to this are the children of God begotten again. Moreover, God is the object of it; not wealth and riches, nor works of righteousness, but Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, particularly Christ, is called the believer's hope; that is, the object of it, in whom the Gentiles hope and trust. Likewise, it is God that encourages to the exercise of it by the proclamations of his grace, and mercy, and plenteous redemption; by the discoveries of his love, and views of interest in him; and by bringing to mind the past experiences of his goodness: he preserves and maintains this grace useful and lively, firm and steadfast, at least in being, which sometimes seems almost perished and gone; he increases it, and causes his people to abound in the exercise of it, and continues it even unto death. The Ethiopic version reads, "the God of our promises", which are what hope has respect unto, and builds upon:
fill you with all joy and peace in believing.
This is a petition to the God of hope. The apostle has recourse again to prayer, knowing that all his exhortations would be useless, without the grace of God accompanying them: and it is observable, that he prays for the same things mentioned in the above prophecies and promises, as joy, peace, and hope; for though God has promised ever so great things concerning his people, he will be inquired of by them to do them for them. One part of this petition is, that God would "fill them with all joy"; not with every kind of joy; not with worldly joy, or with the joy of hypocrites, who rejoice in sin, or in their own boastings, which is evil; but with spiritual joy, joy in God as a covenant God and Father; in Christ, in his person, righteousness, and salvation; and in the Holy Ghost, the author of it, whose fruit it is; and in the Gospel, doctrines, blessings, and promises of it; and in the view and hope of the heavenly glory, amidst various afflictions and tribulations: and it designs an abundance of it, even a fulness thereof; though the petition implies, that as yet it is not full; it is frequently interrupted and broke in upon by the corruption of nature, and falls into sin, by the temptations of Satan, through divine desertions, and various trials and exercises; yet it supposes it may be increased, as by the renewed discoveries of the love of God, of interest in Christ, and through the gracious influences of the Spirit; and even made full and complete, though not in this, yet in the other world: another branch of the petition is, that God would fill with "peace", with a sense of their peace with him, made by the blood of Christ; with a conscience peace in their own breasts, arising from a view of their justification by the righteousness of Christ, and from the sprinklings of his blood upon them; and also with peace one among another, which was much wanting, and the apostle was very desirous of: and all this he asks, that it might come to them "in believing"; in the way of faith, and the exercise of that grace; for joy comes this way; faith and joy go together; where one is, the other is also; and as the one increases, so does the other; a believing view of interest in Christ is attended with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: and so peace comes in at the door of faith: there is no true peace till a soul is brought to believe in Christ; and that is promoted and increased by repeated acts of faith on Christ, or by a constant living by faith on him; see ( Isaiah 26:3 ) . The end for which this petition is made is,
that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.
By hope is meant that grace which God is the author, object, and promoter of; and the Syriac version reads it, (hrbob) , "in his hope", or "the hope of him"; of enjoying him, of meeting with him, and having communion with him in his house and ordinances; of having fresh supplies of grace from him, and of being favoured with all the blessings of grace laid up in an everlasting covenant, and at last with eternal life and glory: to "abound" herein, is to be in the free and frequent exercise of this grace, being encouraged by the grace of God, and an enlarged experience of it, and supported by faith, the substance of things hoped for: and this "through the power of the Holy Ghost"; not by might or power of man, but by that same divine power which first began the good work, and must fulfil it; which at first implanted the grace of hope, and must perform the work of that, as of faith. The same power is requisite to cause grace to abound, or saints to abound in the exercise of it, as was to the first production of it. The Vulgate Latin reads, "that ye may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost"; but there is no copulative in the Greek text.