Hope In Scripture The Christian’s hope is not at all like the hope of the person who buys a lottery ticket hoping to win millions of dollars. The probability of winning is almost zero – it’s almost certain that it will not happen. By contrast, our hope in the Lord is “a favorable and confident expectation” according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words. It will most certainly be realized! Why? Because it is based on the promises of God, presented to us in His Word through people divinely authorized to speak for Him. In Scripture, we see that when the word “hope” is used in speaking of our salvation, it is not teaching that we should say, “ I hope so” when asked if we are saved, have eternal life and are going to heaven. We can say “I am sure,” because Scripture says we can “know that we have eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:13 NIV).
Hope of Eternal Life
God, who does not lie, says eternal life was “promised before the beginning of time” (Ti. 1:2). He also says He “chose us in Him (Christ) before the creation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). Our hope of eternal life is based on God’s promises in the Old Testament as well as the New. All that was written in the Old Testament was written so that “through … the Scriptures we might have hope”(Rom. 15:4). The psalmist said to God, “I have put my hope in your Word” (Ps. 119:114), and the apostle Paul asserted, “I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God … that there will be a resurrection” (Acts 24:14-15).
Our Hope In Eternity
Our hope for our future in eternity is “the hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2), which we shall have when “we shall be like Him” (1 Jn. 3:2). We will be immortal (1 Cor. 15:51-54) and we will never again experience “death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev. 21:4). What a wonderful hope!
People speculate about what we will be like in eternity, but “what we will be has not yet been made known” (1 Jn. 3:2). The Lord tells us that, in heaven, there will be no marriage, and that we “will be like the angels in heaven” (Mt. 22:30). Because there will be no death and no marriage, there will be no need for reproduction or for the sexual function.
How vain then is the hope in the Islamic tradition that is being preached to potential suicide bombers. According to an article entitled “Suicide Bombers” in Israel My Glory” (Mar./Apr. ’04), they are told that as martyrs for Allah (Shahid) each will receive 72 dark-eyed virgins to provide sexual pleasure in heaven. How much superior is our hope that we will be perfect in thought and deed like our Lord Jesus!
Our Hope In The Kingdom
Our Lord is not only our God and our Savior, but He is also our Christ, our Messiah! “We wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Ti. 2:13). We are now in His kingdom (Col. 1:13) and are waiting for His appearing. When He appears, “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives … and (He) will be King over the whole earth” (Zech. 14:4,9). His reign will last “for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6), and “we will also reign with Him” (2 Tim. 2:12). Surely, we long for the time to come when the rejected One, our Lord, will be recognized as “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36), and when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:10-11). “He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet” (l Cor. 15:25), and then, finally, He “hands over the kingdom to God the Father … so that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:24,28).
Our Hope For Today
Our hope is not limited, as scoffers may say, to “pie in the sky, bye and bye, when we die.” God is our “hope” in this life also! The psalmist expressed this when he said to himself in a time of trouble, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God” (Ps. 42:11). When Jeremiah was persecuted, he truthfully said to God, “Thou art my hope in the day of evil” (Jer. 17:17 kjv). It is also true that God is our “help” and our “deliverer” and our God (Ps. 40:17).
What does it mean to us to have Him to be our God? It means that He in whom we hope has infinite power to help us and to deliver us. He who had the power to create the universe, and all that is in it, also “cares” for us! We can, therefore, “cast all (our) anxiety on Him” (1 Pet. 5:7 niv). If we have faith, we will be able to say, “On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us” (2 Cor. 1:10). Our expectation is that even if we are not spared from evil, He will deliver us through the evil.
Our Hope For Deliverance
Because we think in eternal terms, we have the expectation, the hope, that since God loves us, He will bring out of every event what is best for us eternally. To us that is deliverance! Consider Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5), who was falsely accused of blasphemy. He was not delivered from the execution to which the accusation led, but he was delivered through it. The Lord Jesus received his spirit! (Acts 7:59-60).
The scriptural account tells us of the event and then makes the seemingly irrelevant comment: “And Saul was there giving his approval to his death” (Acts 8:1). The testimony of Stephen, by his words and his attitude, appears to have had a profound effect on Saul. The Lord undoubtedly used them to convict Saul, to make him a believer, and then to make him into the apostle Paul, to carry the truth to the Gentiles. Stephen deserves credit; the Lord will reward him, and that will be full deliverance.
Our Hope For Reward
Our expectation, our hope for reward, is not that we will receive our reward in this life, although we indeed may. Believers think in eternal terms. Our hope will be realized in the fulfillment of our Lord’s promise: “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). As servants we have been sent into the fields and we have “the hope of sharing in the harvest” (1 Cor. 9:10). Without doubt, and without fail, each faithful servant will be rewarded. (1 Cor. 3:5-9).
By Alan H. Crosby
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org