Generally, hope simply means, to want something to happen or to be true and think that it could happen or be true. That is, to cherish a desire with confidence, anticipation and expectation of obtainment. Unlike this general meaning of hope, for the most part, the hope with which the Bible is concerned is a virtue that is vastly different from Stoic endurance, precisely because it is bound up with a hope unknown to the Stoic (I Thessalonians 1:3; Romans 5:3-5).
Hope in the biblical sense refers to belief in the living God, who acts and intervenes in human life and who can be trusted to fulfill His promises. In other words, hope is a Christian virtue that anchors one’s soul when one navigates the challenging waters of life.
The God in whom we believe is called “The God of Hope” (Romans 15:13). Therefore, biblical hope is inseparable from faith in God. He is the God of hope because He is unchangeable and His love is unconditional. Such hope does not depend on circumstances, human possibilities, or what we can do for ourselves or what people can do for us. The absence of God in one’s life is tantamount to hopelessness (Ephesians 2:12; I Thessalonians 4:13).
If Jesus is Lord of your life, I dare you to expect future blessings that at present invisible because we serve the God of hope who is reliable and trustworthy – He is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” The things we hope for are real (Hebrews 11:1); and our hope never disappoints us (Romans 5:5). Hope is not a kite at the mercy of winds of change, but “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul”, penetrating deep into the invisible eternal world (Hebrews 6:19).
The Trinity is greatly intertwined with hope because God is the essence of hope; Jesus is the bridge of hope and the Holy Spirit is the divine director of the community of hope (the universal Church).
Christ in us the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), and our final salvation rests on such hope; and this hope of salvation is a ‘helmet’, an essential part of our defensive armor in the struggle against evil (I Thessalonians 5:8). Even though there are no explicit references to hope in the teaching of Jesus, He teaches His disciples, however, not to be anxious about the future because it is in the hands of a loving Father. Hope in God as a loving Father is opposed to anxiety about the future.
The Holy Spirit is the divine director of the community of Hope. We should not be anxious about accomplishing the assignments unto which God has called us, because the power of the Holy Spirit is available for us every day. The Holy Spirit enables us to do even greater works than Jesus did (John 14:12)! Let us join the songwriter and with one voice declare: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”
The Scripture is the foundation of hope. Hope is used 121 times in the King James Version and 159 times in New International Version. There are also other related words such as “hoped” and “hopeful.” “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Because of the inseparable nature of ‘Scriptures’ and ‘hope’, we must do our best to start each day praying and studying the Bible.
Humanity is the beneficiary of hope and salvation is hope in Jesus Christ. Men and women, boys and girls desperately need the God of hope, which is why the Church engages in need-based evangelism. Suffering is universal, no one escapes it. Obviously, we live in tough times. No matter the tough situations that we face in life, our understanding of the implications and significance of the resurrection should revitalize our hope day in and day out. In the midst of the pain and brokenness that you may be experiencing, don’t give up. It will only last for a season. Bank on the inspiring Word of God as a great resource that helps you overcome!
The church is the agency of hope. According to Hebrews 12:14 and many, many other portion of Scriptures, the Church must be a holy community. Hope serves as a stimulus for purity of life (I John 3:2,3) and it enables Christ’s disciples to suffer cheerfully. God is calling Christians to reach the non-Christians, bring healing to the physically/emotionally sick, and minister deliverance to those that are oppressed by evil powers. We must embrace the way of Christ and the the apostles. You see, that is the Way of Hope!
Hope that is devoid of eschatology or ‘end times theology’ is miserable in nature (I Corinthians 15:19). The existence of biblical hope makes it impossible for Christians to be satisfied with the temporary joy and happiness of this life (Hebrews 13:14). Our call to be Christ’s disciples carries with it the hope of finally sharing His glory. Eternal salvation comes from believing in Jesus Christ, receiving Him as Lord and Savior and living a faithful Christian life. The fate of those outside eternal salvation is that they are doomed for hell fire where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus Christ is our hope for time and eternity (I Timothy. 1:1)!