The Bible uses the word hope a lot because we, as Christians, are taught that hope is essential to the Christian life. The divine standard of Ephesians chapter 4 is One God, One Lord Jesus Christ, One faith, One baptism, One body, One hope, and One spirit. Hope is one of the seven essentials for our unity as children of God. We must, therefore, be able to explain this hope. As Peter writes, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” [1 Pet. 3:15].
Hope is a very positive word. I mean, the context is always uplifting. Some common synonyms are desire, trust, and expectation. According to Roget’s Thesaurus, the opposite of hope is dejection, impossibility, and ‘fat chance’. To hope is to look forward to something you desire and to expect that it will happen. The combination of desire and expectation equals hope.
Let’s look at some verses about hope. “In hope of eternal life, that God, who never lies, promised before the ages began”, and “having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs in the hope of eternal life”, and that we are to live Godly lives “while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” [Titus 1:2, 3:7, 2:13 ]. Paul, in his greeting to Timothy, wrote, “Paul an apostle…by the command of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ our hope.” Paul said while on trial, ”I am on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” These scriptures are speaking of the one hope, eternal life, that Jesus will give to the righteous at the resurrection when He returns. It seems that the return of Jesus and eternal life are so closely related that it is viewed as one event, thus, our one hope.
What a future to look forward to; the return of Jesus and eternal life. This hope can carry us through hard times. Paul wrote that the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared to this glorious hope [Rom. 8:16-25].
There are many, many people today without this hope. They have no hope because they live their lives without God. Their hopes are temporal and empty. And when things go wrong and life throws at them big problems, they feel fear, depression and rage. Others have false hopes given to them by liars and false teachers who say what they want to hear. These folks are deluded by the lies that make them feel good. They may feel happy now, but it is only temporary, and when judgment day comes, doom and hopelessness will be their eternity [see 1 Thess. 5:3, 2 Tim. 4:3, 1 Jn. 4:1, almost all of 2 Peter and Jude].
But for those of us trusting in God, Who cannot lie, our hope is real. It is an anchor for the soul [Heb. 6:18]. God has guaranteed it through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus was willing to die on the cross that by His resurrection we might have a living hope [1 Pet. 1:3]. Death is not to be feared, nor should we be sorry for those who die in Christ. Though it is normal to feel sad at the loss of our brothers and sisters, we should remember that our loss is their gain [1 Thess. 4:13-14, Phil. 1:21-23].
Sometimes I ask myself, do I really look forward to the return of Jesus? Or are there things that I look forward to more? Hmm, that could be another topic…
Key versus used in the above article:
1 Peter 3:15
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
1 Thessalonians 5:3
3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
2 Timothy 4:3
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
1 John 4:1
4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
1 Peter 1:3
3 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 through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.