For we, Christians, through the Spirit - Through the operation of the Holy Ghost, under this spiritual dispensation of the Gospel, wait for the hope of righteousness - expect that which is the object of our hope, on our being justified by faith in Christ. Righteousness, δικαιοσυνη, may here, as in many other places of St. Paul's epistles, mean justification, and the hope of justification, or the hope excited and inspired by it, is the possession of eternal glory; for, says the apostle, Romans 5:1, Romans 5:2, Being justified by faith, we have peace with God - and rejoice in Hope of the Glory of God. But, as this glory is necessarily future, it is to be waited for; but this waiting, in a thorough Christian, is not only a blessed expectation, but also a continual anticipation of it; and therefore the apostle says, απεκδεχομεθα, we receive out if it, from απο, from εκ, out of, and δεχομαι, I receive. This is no fanciful derivation; it exists in the experience of every genuine Christian; he is continually anticipating or receiving foretastes of that glory, the fullness of which he expects after death. Thus they are receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls. 1 Peter 1:9.
That they could not have the Holy Spirit without faith, was a doctrine also of the Jews; hence it is said, Mechilta, fol. 52: "That faith was of great consequence with which the Israelites believed in Him who, with one word, created the universe; and because the Israelites believed in God, the Holy Spirit dwelt in them; so that, being filled with God, they sang praises to him." Cicero, De Nat. Deor., lib. ii., has said: Nemo vir magnus sine aliquo afflatu divino unquam fuit: "There never was a great man who had not some measure of the Divine influence." However true this may be with respect to the great men of the Roman orator, we may safely assert there never was a true Christian who had not the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit.
For we - We who are Christians. It is a characteristic of the true Christian.
Through the Spirit - The Holy Spirit. We expect salvation only by his aid.
Wait for - That is, we expect salvation in this way. The main idea is, not that of waiting as if the thing were delayed; it is that of expecting. The sense is, that true Christians have no other hope of salvation than by faith in the Lord Jesus. It is not by their own works, nor is it by any conformity to the Law. The object of Paul is, to show them the true nature of the Christian hope of eternal life, and to recall them from dependence on their conformity to the Law.
The hope of righteousness - The hope of justification. They had no other hope of justification than by faith in the Redeemer; see the note at Romans 1:17.