For we are saved by hope - We are supported and are comfortable in the expectation we have of receiving from the hand of our God all the good we need in the troubles and adversities of this life, and of having our bodies raised from corruption and death at the general resurrection.
Hope that is seen is not hope - As hope signifies the expectation of future good, so it necessarily supposes that the object of it is not seen, i.e. not enjoyed; for to see, in Scripture language, sometimes signifies to enjoy, as in Job 7:7; : Mine eye shall no more See (margin, Enjoy) good. Job 9:25; : My days flee away, and See no good; i.e. enjoy no prosperity. Psalm 50:23; : I will Show the salvation of God: I will give that man to enjoy my salvation who walks uprightly. Matthew 5:8; : Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall See God; that is, they shall enjoy his favor and blessing. See also John 3:36; Hebrews 12:14, and 1 John 3:2. The hope that is seen, that is, enjoyed, is no longer hope, it is fruition: and a man cannot hope for that which he has in his possession.
For we are saved by hope - It cannot be said that hope is the instrument or condition of salvation. Most commentators have understood this as meaning that we have as yet attained salvation only in hope; that we have arrived only to a condition in which we hope for future glory; and that we are in an attitude of waiting for the future state of adoption. But perhaps the word “saved” may mean here simply, we are kept, preserved, sustained in our trials, by hope. Our trials are so great that nothing but the prospect of future deliverance would uphold us; and the prospect is sufficient to enable us to bear them with patience. This is the proper meaning of the word “save”; and it is often thus used in the New Testament; see Matthew 8:25; Matthew 16:25; Mark 3:4; Mark 8:35. The Syriac renders this, “For by hope we live.” The Arabic, “We are preserved by hope.” Hope thus sustains the soul in the midst of trims, and enables it to bear them without a complaint.
But hope that is seen - Hope is a complex emotion, made up of an earnest desire, and an expectation of obtaining an object. It has reference, therefore, to what is at present unseen. But when the object is seen, and is in our possession, it cannot be said to be an object of hope. The Word hope here means the object of hope, the thing hoped for.
What a man seeth - The word “seeth” is used here in the sense of possessing, or enjoying. What a man already possesses, he cannot be said to hope for.
Why - How. What a man actually possesses, how can he look forward to it with anticipation?
“We are saved by hope.” Romans 8:24. The fallen must be led to feel that it is not too late for them to be men. Christ honored man with His confidence and thus placed him on his honor. Even those who had fallen the lowest He treated with respect. It was a continual pain to Christ to be brought into contact with enmity, depravity, and impurity; but never did He utter one expression to show that His sensibilities were shocked or His refined tastes offended. Whatever the evil habits, the strong prejudices, or the overbearing passions of human beings, He met them all with pitying tenderness. As we partake of His Spirit, we shall regard all men as brethren, with similar temptations and trials, often falling and struggling to rise again, battling with discouragements and difficulties, craving sympathy and help. Then we shall meet them in such a way as not to discourage or repel them, but to awaken hope in their hearts. As they are thus encouraged, they can say with confidence, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” He will “plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold His righteousness.” Micah 7:8, 9. MH 165.1
God “looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.
He fashioneth their hearts alike.” MH 166.1