bs53 The Hope of the Christian
The Hope of the Christian explains hope in the spiritual life of the Christian, how it relates to salvation.
By David Cox
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1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Hope is an inheritance that God gives to those who have faith in Jesus Christ. In other words, hope is the anticipation, or the emotion and joyfulness, in meditating on our salvation.
Hope is also a longing for salvation, that God will save us when we end our earthly lives. The end of hope and believing in Jesus Christ is to reach heaven, and dwell together with God and the redeemed for all eternity. The foundation of salvation is “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” Titus 1:2.
What does “hope” mean?
Hope is a state of mind that arises when what is desired is presented as attainable. Hope is the expectation of soon receiving something one wants.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love).
Among these three most important points in spiritual activity, hope is among these. It is between faith and love, with a link between the two. Faith is how we begin to be saved, and the destination is to love God. (The greatest among these three is love. Faith and hope will be fulfilled one day and thereafter not needed, then only love will be shining in heaven.) But between the beginning and the end of this process of being saved, hope is very important, because hope works to cause us to arrive at the desired destination, to live in paradise with God for all eternity. In heaven and during that future eternity, hope will be fulfilled, and it will not be an activity of the heavenly citizens.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The relationship between faith and hope is that salvation is a promise of God, an inheritance, in other words, you believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and you will be saved. In one sense, we are already saved the moment that we believe in Jesus, and according to John (1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.) you can know it and be confident that you are saved. There is no doubt that if you have believed in Jesus Christ, you will be saved, you are saved. But this salvation is also future, it is not actually at the moment you believe that God will take you away into heaven. Salvation is actually completed at the moment of death, or for those special ones that haven’t died when the rapture takes place, they will be carried to heaven in the rapture.
But between believing and having salvation actually fulfilled, there exists time, and in this time, we have to hope for the time when God will fulfill it, when He wants to close history.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
A strike on the head can knock out a soldier so that he cannot defend himself, and quickly he will be killed or badly hurt. Hope is the defense for us as Christians so that we can continue believing and maintain ourselves well with God. Even though life is striking its blows at us to “knock us out”, the helmet of hope can protect us safe and sound in these battles.
Faith and Hope
Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
We can say that faith, believing, began with hope within us that we wanted this good thing that God promises to us. The trick in being saved is that you believe in God, in His words, in His promises, and that God is (1) powerful enough to fulfill them, and (2) that morally, God does not lie, and that God will do what he wants to do.
(Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised… Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? 2 Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.)
There is a third point here that God, in His holy will, wants to save us. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. We can say that all the praises that man has given to God are reenforcing publicly the faithfulness of His moral character.
(1 Peter 2:9… a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:) 1 Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:9; Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised😉 Lamentations 3:22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
How does Hope function in our Lives?
Romans 5:2… (we) rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, (worketh) experience; and experience, (worketh) hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Hope is a link in our salvation. In other words, bad experiences happen to God’s children. But if the Christian walks in obedience and in the will of God, even these bad experiences are for our benefit. (Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose). So, these bad experiences produce moral character in us, moral character that God desires in his children. By putting up with these experiences, we exercise ourselves producing patience. This is a fruit of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us (Galatians 5:22-23 peace, longsuffering). Patience and putting up with difficult situations (“longsuffering”) come from the Holy Spirit given to us at the moment of believing faith.
We understand from Job’s situation, that God has purposes for His children that at times involve bad experiences, but many times because we do not see at the moment of the test what these purposes are. In Romans 5:4, it says “patience (worketh) experience.” This “experience” of tribulation reveals the true authenticity of our faith. (Gold is “tried” by fire to reveal its authenticity.) So, if you suffer through the bad experience, your faith is sincere. This authenticity is the evidence that you will receive the promise of eternal life at the end. So, when we enter into testing and suffering, we respond to God by accepting it and respond with love. 1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us. If everything that God does in our lives is for our good, and we walk obeying God (otherwise the bad experiences could be punishments because of divine love, Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?) but we have to respond to what God decides for us with more love for God. Knowing this, we glory in tribulations, because this is a constant testimony that we are saved. Romans 5:3 we glory in tribulations …
What do we do while we are hoping?
Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
God gives us promises of good things, abundance, happiness, peace with God over our failures and sins. God promises us a very good inheritance if we believe in Jesus Christ.
Psalms 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
If a saved person seeks to live righteously before God, then God will not hold back any good thing to them.
The Relationship between Hoping and the Word of God
Psalms 119:81 My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. 114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
There is a strong relationship between who is speaking and giving promises, and the power of that person to fulfill these promises. It is because of who God is that we can hope with complete confidence that He will fulfill His promises.
The Person of God is our Hope
Psalms 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him (Jehovah). 6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. 7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in him (Jehovah) at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Our hope cannot be in anything other than in God Himself, our Savior.
Psalms 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
The Psalmist fights with his own soul because of its lack of faith, confidence, and hope in God. The answer to all of our problems is to hope in God, to have confidence in Him, and have faith in the goodness of God towards us.
What is the effect of hoping?
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The most obvious result is the energy one has when one would think that it is impossible. We will have energy and strength to continue ahead.
Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Again, the person will have “power” or strength from the Holy Spirit. But in the context of Romans 5, that we are to glory in our tribulations, it is by our salvation that we have peace with God, and this worketh joy (an overwhelming emotion of well-being) and nothing nor nobody can take that away from the person.
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Jesus directly invites all who are bearing heavy burdens and “labor” (fatiguing things that make one weary) to partake of deliverance and peace in Jesus.
Those without Hope
Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
The unsaved world has no hope in a God of confidence, as do the Christian. It is our duty to inform them and encourage them to have faith in Him.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
bs53 The Hope of the Christian
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