When we think of “hope”, we generally are not thinking of biblical hope. We have all “hoped” for things that did not happen or that we did not receive. That is not biblical hope. Biblical hope is not wishful thinking. Biblical hope is living in the confidence of a past event, a present reality, and a future certainty. It is full confidence in the finished work of Christ on the Cross, the sovereign work of God in my life right now, and the certainty of His promised future. Like our salvation, there are past, present, and future dimensions of hope. Biblical hope is a bold and certain expectation that God will do what He says He will do. So like faith, hope has this maddening quality of the unseen- the yet to be. It has a future orientation. It’s why Paul says-
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope (present) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (past), to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, & unfading, kept in heaven for you. (future)” 1 Peter 1:3-4
This Christmas remember that your hope & my hope is not dependent possessions, or material things, but on a Person. We need to continually remind each other of our glorious future ahead. It changes everything. My Christmas prayer for you:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
Where does hope come from?
Hope comes from the “God of hope” so you must come to Him to receive it. Ephesians 2:12 says, “..you were.. separated from Christ.. and strangers to the covenants of promise, having NO HOPE & without God in the world.” Hope comes from the Lord. There is no HOPE apart from Him, because apart from Him it does not exist. You must come to Him to get it. Are you?
How do you get hope?
1. By believing patiently. It says, “in believing”. “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this HOPE we were saved. Now HOPE that is seen is not hope. For who HOPES for what they already have? But if we HOPE for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:23-25
2. By obeying the Word. Rom. 15:4 “through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have HOPE.” You must be in the Word. God’s Word gives hope.
3. By the power of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us …” His Spirit in us gives hope. N.T. Wright says, “The Spirit is given to us to begin the work of making God’s future real in the present.”
What does hope look like? What are the marks of hope? Notice too that the Bible describes this hope, not as simply “hanging on” but that we “ABOUND in hope” it is described as a “living hope”- a vibrant, dynamic, vigorous hope! SO..
Hope results in a life filled with joy and peace.
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” 2 Corinthians 3:12 God’s hope brings great confidence to us! Are you living in hope? Do you live every day filled with hope? Would others describe you as having a confident and constant future orientation? Friend, if you are a follower of Jesus remember, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” 1 Corinthians 15:19
“Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in HOPE of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18
Come to Jesus. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred (delayed, postponed) makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Don’t wait. Don’t go another day without living in His hope. And remember hope is from God alone. Hope has come to us. Hope has a name and His name is Jesus.