The Hope of Deliverance- 2 Corinthians 1:10
In our previous post, we examined Paul’s usage of the Greek rhyomai in this passage, concluding that the context here and his customary usage of this word is as meaning to “protect or cover”. The entire verse reads as follows in the NIV: “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us, On Him we have set our hope, that He will continue to deliver us”. What we find here is Paul asserting the truth that the protection or covering which God provides is from , literally , “so great a death”. The death to which He refers is what the Bible generally understands death to be, separation from the source of life, separation from God. We find here that God has protected us from this great death, this separation form Him in three aspects. We find firstly that He “has delivered (covered) us” in the past, using the past tense form of the verb rhyomai. He has rescued us once and for all from our state of death, our separation from God, by opening our hearts and minds to the truth and saving us, uniting us to Himself for all eternity through faith in the work of His Son upon the cross. We find secondly that he “will deliver (cover) us” from separation from Himself in the future, that those who are in Christ Jesus can never “die”, can never be separated from God either on this earth or in heaven, neither temporally or eternally. We find thirdly that He will “continue to deliver us”, which again here finds the use of the future form of rhyomai, but here with the adverb yeti, which is normally translated as
“yet or still”. Just as in English, an adverb in Greek modifies a verb, just as an adjective modifies a noun. In the usage of this syntax, Paul is telling us here that God’s “covering” of the believer has begun in the past and will continue on into the future, which is why the NIV would translate this with the words “continue to deliver” us. So we find here Paul going to rather great lengths to communicate to the believer their “protection or covering” from “so great a death”. There is nothing in this world or the world to come which is able to separate the believer from God, and here Paul stresses this fact in order that it would produce “hope”. Now the Greek here is elpikamen, which is the perfect active indicative form of the verb elpizo, to “hope or expect”. In the case of this term “hope”, the Biblical understanding of this word is rather different than the cultural one. The word hope is generally used, in the culture, to refer to more of a wish, as in “I hope it does not rain today”, but in the Scripture we find hope being used more to refer to an expectation. This understanding of hope is a concept which is foundational to a Biblical worldview, because the Scripture understands that people act based upon expectations, people act based upon what they expect to happen. that people literally live out their “hope”. So what we can ultimately discern here is that Paul is informing us of our uninterrupted “covering or protection”, and he does so knowing that without this “hope”, without this expectation of covering, we as believers will be hesitant to enter the “battle”, the battle to help deliver others from “so great a death”. Just as a soldier would not charge an enemy position without someone to “cover” him, so also believers will not be likely to charge an enemy position without first knowing that they are “covered”, and Paul here reaffirms the reality of our “cover” and calls us to engage the enemy in opposition to his desire to separate people from God. May we all understand that “nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39) and bravely enter the battle for souls to which we are called.