20According to my expectation. Should any one object, “ what do you derive that knowledge?” he answers, “ hope.” For as it is certain that God does not by any means design to frustrate our hope, hope itself ought not to be wavering. Let then the pious reader carefully observe this adverb secundum , (according to,) that he may be fully assured in his own mind, that it is impossible but that the Lord will fulfill our expectation, inasmuch as it is founded on his own word. Now, he has promised that he will never be wanting to us even in the midst of all tortures, if we are at any time called to make confession of his name. Let, therefore, all the pious entertain hope after Paul’ example, and they will not be put to shame.
With all confidence We see that, in cherishing hope, he does not give indulgence to carnal desires, but places his hope in subjection to the promise of God. “Christ, ” says he, “will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death ” By making express mention, however, of the body, he intimates that, amongst the conflicts of the present life, he is in no degree doubtful as to the issue, for we are assured as to this by God. If, accordingly, giving ourselves up to the good pleasure of God, and having in our life the same object in view as Paul had, we expect, in whatever way it may be, a prosperous issue, we shall no longer have occasion to fear lest any adversity should befall us; for if we live and die to him, we are his in life and in death. (Rom_14:8.) He expresses the way in which Christ will be magnified — by full assurance. Hence it follows, that through our fault he is cast down and lowered, so far as it is in our power to do so, when we give way through fear. Do not those then feel ashamed who reckon it a light offense to tremble, (80) when called to make confession of the truth? But how much ashamed ought those to feel, who are so shamelessly impudent as to have the hardihood even to excuse renunciation?
He adds, as always, that they may confirm their faith from past experience of the grace of God. Thus, in Rom_5:4, he says, Experience begets hope.
(80) “De varier et chanceler;” — “ shift and waver.”