Notes for The Virtue of Hope I: Humble Homo Viators

presented by Sarah Colyn

This teaching considers the pilgrim nature of this life, and the temptation called presumption that is a counterfeit of hope. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for each scripture and quotation shared. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.

Homo Viators

To be a human being is to be a person “on the way” – Aquinas calls us homo viators.  

I do not consider that I have laid hold already. Phil 3:13

A place for us

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:2-3

A journey of becoming

By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls. Luke 21:19 

“Many of us prefer to stay at the threshold of the Christian life instead of going on to construct a soul in accordance with the new life God has put within” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 20). 

Homo viators are virtuous

Virtue is “the most a man can be,” the realization of our potential for being.  

Virtue enables us to “perform excellent actions easily and joyfully, in a stable manner, with profound interior freedom, the freedom of the children of God” (Nault, The Noonday Devil, 77).

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (virtue), by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue (excellence), and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-8

Homo viators live in Christ

Hope:  a steadfast turning toward the true fulfillment of our nature, that is, toward good.

“Hope, as the lasting elevation of man’s being, cannot exist except from, through and in Christ” (Pieper, On Hope, 36).

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.  2 Cor 1:20, ESV

“We must not measure our spiritual capacity by education or by intellect; our capacity in spiritual things is measured by the promises of God”  (Chambers, April 20).

Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Col 1:27

Presumption

Presumption is a fraudulent imitator of hope.  

In presumption, a person thinks and lives as though they have already arrived.  

Theological distortion

Presumption abandons the paradox of Phil 2:12-13:  Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you.

“We are not only saved by grace, we are paralyzed by it.”

“The path of spiritual growth in the riches of Christ is not a passive one. Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. Effort is action” (Dallas Willard)

Man-centered optimism/confidence

Liberal moralism, Pseudo-religious activism, or the myth of human progress.

Humility

Humility reveals the limits of our possibilities.

Resources on this topic:

Chapter 15, “Restoring the Christian Hope of Heaven and the Grace to Persevere” in The Healing Presence by Leanne Payne.

Josef Pieper (1986), On Hope, Ignatius Press, San Francisco. 

The Virtue of Hope” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.

Dallas Willard quotes can be found at:  

https://dwillard.org/articles/spirituality-made-hard;

Willard, Christian Herald (U.K.) 14 April 2001, https://dwillard.org/articles/live-life-to-the-full