One of the best examples of false hope happened in the 2008 American presidential elections. Obama ran on a campaign of “hope and change” in the place of plan and substance. Hope for what? Change to what? Nobody knew or cared. In the words of one of the characters in The Ghostwriter, “He wasn’t a politician, he was a craze.” In the two years since, as his popularity plummeted, many voters are probably telling themselves to check out the goods next time.
Here in Romans 9, Paul is defending his argument from potential opponents. He has just reached a climax of sorts in his Gospel presentation, where he went on with great eloquence concerning the hope that Christians have in Christ. Even though hope by definition is for something unseen, God’s past interaction may seem to place our future in some question. Had not God made promises already to the people of Israel? Why were they now cut off from Christ and condemned in their sin?
Paul begins a lengthy section of teaching here to correct false teaching and understanding that had existed for centuries. God’s promises have never been to save a person based on anything they have done or been. We have no special position with God based on our intentions, lineage, or religious inclination. The true people of God are evidenced as those who have faith in Him. Even that faith, however, is a gift from God. He is not obligated to do anyone any favors. He is only obligated to be true to His own nature.
To that nature He is always true, so that our hope is solid when we depend completely on Him to be true to His promises.