HOPE The confidence that, by integrating God’s redemptive acts in the past with trusting human responses in the present, the faithful will experience the fullness of God’s goodness both in the present and in the futureLexham Bible Dictionary
In the Bible, hope is directly linked to faith. And anyone rooted in their faith can stand confident in their hope.
We all have at one time, or another hoped for something and found ourselves disappointed. Most often because either this thing, or this person, did not live up to what it, or what they, had promised. Proverbs tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov. 13:12). So absolutely true. In fact, how many people throughout history have died as a result of this one single thing: They were without hope?
And so, I would like us to examine these verses from the Holy Spirit through Paul in order to find a “true” hope, a hope which cannot be shaken, that does not disappoint, and a hope to stand on: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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. Not only that, but 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” (Rom. 5:1-5, emphasis mine).
In a moment we will examine the verses above, but first I want to examine the definition of “Hope” at the top. Did you notice it said that hope is “confidence” stemming from what Christ did in the past, linked together with our response of faith, in the present, with the result being that the faith-filled or “faithful” are guaranteed to experience the fullness of God’s goodness (or glory) in the present and in the future. For some, the word “faithful” is a stumbling block. So let me put it this way, if our faith matches the definition of “faith” from Hebrews chapter 11, then we’re in good standing with God.
So let me try and combine the definition above with the verses from Romans. Receive this: Since we have been declared right before God by our faith in the completed work of Christ on our behalf, being justified, we are now called “children of God”, being evidenced by the Holy Spirit who has been poured into us directly from God’s throne in Heaven. So with thanksgiving, we rejoice that soon we will appear with Him (Christ) in glory at His return. This gives us assured, promised, hope. Not only that, but we through our daily suffering, trials, hardships, and persecution from family members and society, are experiencing the reflection of Christ in us by the Holy Spirit, which assures us that we are being prepared for heaven, being perfected through suffering just as Jesus experienced here on earth. And this suffering is evidence that just as Jesus was God’s Son in flesh, so are we presently God’s children on earth. This IS God’s love. We are loved, cared for, covered, comforted, and filled; able to experience joy, peace, and true hope because the Holy Spirit brings heaven to us, and us to heaven, now and at Christ’s return. (My weakness is run-on sentences 🙂
Did you notice where our hope springs from? According to scripture, in other words, according to God, our hope is wrapped up in the fact that we carry Heaven inside us! We hold, or contain, the very essence of God (the love of God) in these human shells. We presently HAVE all that heaven can offer us since we are children of God … JUST LIKE JESUS. Did you grasp that? Because I didn’t, nor do I. And this is why I struggle just like you do. We struggle with fear, discouragement, and despair because of one reason alone: Because we have not moved the reality of our identity as beloved children of God, being “in” Christ presently, from our spirit to our mind. We still are in the process of “renewing our minds with the truth” (Rom. 12:1-2). In saying this I am in no way discounting our emotions! Our emotions are as real as we experience them. BUT, when we are able to take our eyes off of ourselves, others, and our circumstances and gaze into the eyes of Jesus (by faith, in prayer) and proclaim the truth out loud we gain a new perspective (at least I do). And the more I practice this the better I get at doing it. Yet, God designed things just so as to make it necessary for it to be a natural part of every single day … for each one of us. In other words, our suffering causes us to CLING to Jesus and this is exactly how He wants us to live every moment of our lives down here! But why does it take trials to get us to do what is good for us, and for our ultimate glory? Because of distractions, busyness, and temptations; stemming from the lust of the flesh, of the eyes, pride, and Satan. YET, God causes all things to work together for our ultimate good and our glory, which is defined as becoming more and more like Jesus Christ our Lord.
Therefore, when I am able to reconcile with the reality (truth) of what it FULLY means to have complete access to the God of the Universe, to His throne, to His ears and eyes, to His arms, to His authority, to His blessings, to His promises, to His counsel and comfort, BECAUSE I carry His very essence (Holy Spirit) inside of me … THEN I can rejoice in HOPE
Now, “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” (Rom. 15:13).