Chapter 36

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.
(Romans 15:13)

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.
(Psalm 42:5, 42:11, 43:5  NIV)

Hope has to do with something in the future that we look forward to, but don’t yet have.  We should distinguish between two kinds of hope:

1.  Hope in things that are certain, and

2.  Hope in things that are not certain.

We often hope for things which are not certain, such as hoping for health and beauty, for increased wealth, or improved relationships.  While it’s not wrong to hope for these kinds of things, scripture encourages us to put our hope in things which are certain, things which God has indicated will happen.  Let’s consider two principles:

FIRST:  Our hope should be in God, and in his steadfast love; that he will provide for us and deliver us:

O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.  (Psalm 130:7)

...the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.  (Psalm 147:11)

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  (1Timothy 6:17 NIV)

SECOND:  Our ultimate hope is for the life to come; eternal life with God, free from the difficulties of this life:

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…  (Titus 1:1-2 NIV)

…so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  (Titus 3:7)

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.  (1Corinthians 15:19 NIV)

What about you?  Is your hope in God, in his steadfast love, and in the life to come?  Or is your hope in something else?

For Further Reflection

Psalm 146:5-6:  Whose hope is in the LORD his God.

Proverbs 11:7:  His hope perishes.

Romans 5:1-5:  Suffering produces hope.

Romans 8:22-25:  For in this hope we were saved.

Romans 12:12:  Rejoice in hope.

Romans 15:4:  So that we might have hope.

Romans 15:12-13:  Abound with hope.

Ephesians 1:18-19:  The hope to which he has called you.

Ephesians 2:11-12:  Formerly without hope.

1Thessalonians 1:3:  Steadfastness of hope.

1Timothy 4:9-10:  Hope in the living God.

Hebrews 6:17-20:  Hope as an anchor for the soul.

Hebrews 11:1:  Sure of what we hope for.

1Peter 1:3:  New birth into a living hope.

1John 3:2-3:  We shall be like him.

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