Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance (patience) and the encouragement (comfort) of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
The things recorded in what we call “Scripture” or “God’s Word” or “The Bible” were specifically and specially selected and written down by men inspired (moved by) the Holy Spirit of God. And according to the verse above it was ultimately all so that we might have hope! God’s intention, His heart, and the end result of what He has to say to us in His Word is that we might have hope!
Therefore to not spend time reading Scripture and being instructed in life by Scripture is to cut off our very source of hope! To remove study of the Bible or access to the Bible from schools or society is to remove the only source of true comfort and hope in this world!
And is this not something you see missing in so many of the lives of those in our society today? Is this not something you see on countless of faces each and every day? Perhaps it is even something missing in your heart and life right now. But for those of us who do have true and eternal hope we are reminded in Ephesians 2:12-13 to “…remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.”
Someone has once put it this way: “Know God…know Hope. No God…no hope.” How true!
We all at one time were (or presently are) cut off (separated) from the life that is in Christ. We all once did not (or do not) belong to God and were (or are) strangers to His promises. We were (or are) without hope…being without God in this world.
So what happened and what changed for some of us (or can change for you)? The next verse in Ephesians 2:14 tells us!
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace…”
True hope comes from truly knowing God which comes through truly trusting in Christ!
The Bible declares that God is the God of hope!
Paul prayed for those he was writing to in Romans 15:13 this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Only God by the power of the Holy Spirit gives us and causes us to overflow with hope as we trust in Him. And notice trusting in Him is the key, the pipeline, the cord that connects us or plugs us into the God of hope so that we overflow with or are “charged up” with hope.
Also notice joy and peace come through trusting Him and is what causes us to overflow with hope!
Perhaps this explains (it does if we’re honest!) why so many of us are joyless, peace-less and hopeless!
I see this more and more that the real issue some of us have or are struggling with is we do not truly and really trust in God!
And some of us need to give our souls a “pep talk” as the Psalmist did in Psalm 42-5-6: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
How we need the God of hope to cause us to overflow with hope! How we need to truly trust in Him!
This is the missing element in so many today and unfortunately even many within the church, which should not be!
1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us that when you boil down the true Christian life to its bare essentials or most important “ingredients” there are three things: “Faith, hope and love.”
And may I remind you that true biblical hope that Scripture speaks of and that comes from God, is not the same as the kind of hope the world speaks of.
We often use the word “hope” in ways like “I hope my favorite football team will win the world series.” But that kind of hope is not certain or sure. It is more a wishful hope, not a hope that is guaranteed.
The Bible on the other hand uses the word hope as something that is certain and sure.
Hebrews 6:17-19 says this, “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
To have real hope in what God has promised (eternal life, forgiveness of sin, future resurrection, etc.) is not a matter of if it might “come true” but when it will be realized.
It is not a matter of waiting to find out whether it is true or not—it’s a matter of time until it is proven true.
Romans 8:22-25 says this: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
In the Greek language—the biblical word we translate as “hope” means to “anticipate with eager expectation and even excitement.”
It means to “look forward to with delight and confidence.”
That is why true joy, peace, and hope (a confident, joyful expectation) all come together!
Those without hope lack joy and peace and those without joy and peace lack hope! But those with God also are with joy, peace and hope!
Consider the example of Abraham given to us in Romans 4:18-5:5 and the application to this in our own lives:
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness — for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
This is where faith is connected with hope. Faith, according to Hebrews 11:1 is “Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not yet see.”
In fact the other aspect of hope that is important to understand is that the kind of hope that comes from God is an eternal hope not only or merely an earthly hope. This is what a lot of people are missing (and I plan to write about in my next blog). We are suffering from an over-emphasis on an earthly-“here and now” perspective, instead of an eternal perspective.
But 1 Peter 1:3-9 reminds us of these eternal truths giving us this eternal perspective regarding earthly difficulties and suffering:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
My prayer has been for myself and for others and for those who read this blog article; the same prayer the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers in Ephesians 1:18-19:
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”