By Eric Campbell
What ever happened to hope? Sadly, for many of us, we omit “hope” from 1 Corinthians 13:13, and we think it’s all about striving for more and more “faith” to meet life’s challenges. The world says, “All you can do is hope,” but that kind of hope is uncertain, based on an outcome that is unlikely.
But a biblical hope is quite different, isn’t it? Christian hope is certain, steadfast, and based on the Word of God. It is an eager expectation for something unseen, not yet realized, but promised by God for our future good. However, even for us as believers, hope can be lost, completely missing in our lives, or placed in uncertain, earthly things.
We must be sure that our hope is placed in the right object: God and His Word, not in earthly circumstances, which may fail us. And hope is important in this life alone, because we will not need it in eternity. Hope then will be realized and fulfilled, but for now it is actually something we all desperately need.
The Greek word for hope, elpis, occurs approximately fifty times in the New Testament, with the highest concentrations in Acts and Romans. From these references, we learn quite a few interesting things!
- Hope can be lost, so it is something to which we must hold fast. (Heb 6:18)
- Hope does not bring shame. (Rom 5:5)
- In our hope we rejoice and boast; it is something we confess. (Rom 12:12; Heb 3:6)
- It is to one hope that we were called by God. (Eph 4:4)
- Before Christ, we had no hope, so all unbelievers are hope-less. (Eph 2:12)
- Our hope is in heaven, where Christ is, so when we get there we won’t need hope anymore! (Col 1:5)
- Hope is like a helmet that protects the head, and like anchor that secures the soul. (1Th 5:8; Heb 6:19)
- It is a “living” hope, because Jesus is alive! (1Pet 1:3)
For what do Christians hope?
- The resurrection of the body (Acts 2:26)
- Our adoption as sons (Rom 8:23-24)
- The glory of God (Rom 5:2)
- The renewal of all creation (Rom 8:20-21)
- God Himself (Col 1:27)
- The future, permanent home of righteousness (2Co 3:12)
- The second coming of Christ (Tit 2:13)
What are the benefits of Christian hope?
- It puts present troubles and hardship in perspective. (Rom 5:3-4)
- It helps us through the loss of loved ones. (1Thes 4:13-18)
- It’s a good witness to others. (1Pet 3:15)
- By hoping in Christ you purify yourself. (1Jn 3:3)
How about you? Are you filled with hope? Do others see you as a “hopeful” person? If not, consider these practical ways hope can be cultivated and restored in your life:
- Ask God to pour out His love into your heart by the Holy Spirit. Try this! (Rom 5:5; 15:13)
- Seek for the encouragement of the Scriptures. Feed on the Word. (Rom 15:4)
- Fix your thoughts on Jesus, the firstfruits of the resurrection, for we will be like Him! (1Jn 3:2)
- Think about God’s promises for the future, the second coming, the resurrection of the body, and the renewal of all creation.
- Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19) that cultivate hope in your heart (e.g. "In Christ Alone," "Be Unto Your Name," "The Solid Rock," "On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand").
“In Christ alone my hope is found:
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.”
-Keith Getty & Stuart Townend