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Hope

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Introduction

There are many key terms and concepts in Scripture like faith, hope, love, joy, grace, peace, pleasing the Lord, etc. that we come across as we read our Bibles, but often these are just vague concepts for many people. The following study is designed to provide a condensed biblical explanation of hope as it is found in the Word of God. As time allows we will provide other such condensed studies on key terms, especially of the New Testament.

A Definition of 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.” Though archaic today in modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a 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 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 imputation of Christ’s righteousness to our account, nor do we see 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.

A Description of Hope

It is Dynamic or Active

In the Bible, hope is never a static or passive thing. It is dynamic, active, directive and life sustaining. This is everywhere obvious as we read the Word. Take a concordance, look up the word “hope” and you will find reference after reference pointing out the active results of hope in the lives of those who truly have a biblical hope and live accordingly.

In other words, a biblical hope is not an escape from reality or from problems. It doesn’t leave us idle, drifting or just rocking on the front porch. If our hope is biblical and based on God's promises, it will put us in gear.

It has Results

(1) It changes how we see ourselves. It changes us into pilgrim persons, people who see this life as temporary sojourn.

2 Peter 1:13 And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.

(2) It changes what we value. Hope, if biblical, makes us heavenly minded rather than earthly minded. Our Lord’s words here blast our deception away.

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

(3) It affects what we do with our lives—our talents, time, treasures.

Titus 2:1-13 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored. 6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. 9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;

1 John 3:1-3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

The Christian life, if it is grasped according to God's truth, is a magnificent obsession with an eternal hope, a hope that does not lead to an escapist attitude, but to the pursuit of life on a whole new dimension. It makes you bullish, as we might say today, on the potentials of this life as stewards of God. It gives us power to live courageously, to be all God has called us to be in Christ.

So then, why are we so quick to opt for earthly treasure and so slow to be obsessed with the heavenly? Perhaps it is because we do not believe in heavenly realities. They represent a celestial cliche in our minds, but no more.1 You see, it is the person who believes in this heavenly hope and who is so fixed on it, in the words of Peter, that he or she is able to have such a light grip on the things of this world that he or she is able to put first things first.

In other words, a biblical hope is never an escape from reality or from problems. It doesn’t leave us idle, drifting or just rocking on the front porch. If our hope is biblical and not just a heavenly cliche or like the sign, “in case of emergency, break glass,” it will put us in gear.

But, being dynamic, hope also has something else:

It has Rewards and Blessings

(1) It gives us joy and peace.

Romans 15:13 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.

Romans 5:2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

(2) It gives us protection.

Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

(3) It gives us strength, courage, boldness.

Psalm 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.

(4) It gives us endurance, comfort, confidence in the face of death.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.

(5) It gives us confidence in ministry.

1 Timothy 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

The Derivation (Origin) of Hope

Where and How Do We Get Hope?

    Negative--warnings regarding false hope

There are a number of warnings in Scripture against putting our hope in anything other than the Lord because these things will leave us ashamed, frustrated, disappointed, and in ruin.

Job 8:11-15 11 Can the papyrus grow up without marsh? Can the rushes grow without water? 12 While it is still green and not cut down, Yet it withers before any other plant. 13 So are the paths of all who forget God, And the hope of the godless will perish, 14 Whose confidence is fragile, And whose trust a spider's web. 15 He trusts in his house, but it does not stand; He holds fast to it, but it does not endure.

Psalm 33:17 A horse is a false hope for victory; Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength. Point: deliverance must come from the Lord.

Psalm 146:5 How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God; i.e., rather than man.

Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous is gladness, But the expectation of the wicked perishes.

Proverbs 11:7 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, And the hope of strong men perishes. The strong man hopes in his physical strength, his money, or power or position, but ultimately, it must perish.

Proverbs 24:14 Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off. Without God’s wisdom which gives god’s hope, your hope will be in the wrong thing and it will be cut off.

    Positive--the means and basis of the only true hope

God is called “the God of Hope.” This means He is the source of all real hope. If we are going to have hope (confident expectation), it must come from Him for He alone has the power to give it.

Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.

Romans 15:13 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.

Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.

If you are without Christ, you are without God and without hope.

Ephesians 2:12 …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.

1 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope; 2 to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

(1) Hope depends on knowing the Word of God.

Romans 15:4 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.

Colossians 1:5-6 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;

(2) Hope depends on knowing and resting in God’s Grace.

2 Thessalonians 2:16 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 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.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

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?


1 John White, The Cost of Commitment, p. 4.

Related Topics: Comfort