One has said you can live weeks without food, days without water, but you can’t live a second without hope. What is hope? Is it a wishy washy maybe or a kind of unsure optimism? The modern idea of hope is “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire.” In Scripture, according to the Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope” and according to the biblical usage, hope is an indication of certainty. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Hope may refer to the activity of hoping, or to the object hoped for—the content of one’s hope. By its very nature, hope stresses two things: (a) futurity, and (b) invisibility. It deals with things we can’t see or haven’t received or both . Romans 8:24-25 says “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”
Biblically, from the standpoint of the object hoped for, hope is synonymous with salvation and its many blessings, past, present, and future, as promised in Scripture. This is true even with what we have already received as believers because these blessings come under the category of what we cannot see. We may see some of the results, but it still requires faith and hope. For example, we do not see the justifying work of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, nor our co-union with Christ. We believe this to be a reality, but this is a matter of our hope. We believe in the testimony of God in the Word and hope for the results in our lives. In summary, hope is the confident expectation, the sure certainty that what God has promised in the Word is true, has occurred, and or will in accordance with God’s sure Word. The Christian hope is a life changing hope.
However, if you are without Christ, you are without God and without hope. Ephesians 2:12 says “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” We must understand that there is a huge difference between the Christian hope and the wishful thinking of the world. I believe there are three things our hope as a Christian depends on:
(1) Hope depends on knowing the Word of God.
Romans 15:4 says “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
(2) Hope depends on knowing and resting in God’s Grace.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 says “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace”
(3) Hope depends on the Spirit Filled life.
Romans 15:13 says “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Friends, on what have you fixed your hope? Does your life prove it? Has it changed who you are, what you value, and what you are doing with your life? This Sunday at South Side we will talk about “Hope” and unpack core truths of why we need it so desperately. Worship begins at 10:45, and we would love to see you there!
Barry Pettit is lead minister at South Side Church of Christ in Washington Court House.