About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Meaning Of Biblical Hope
It seems to me that
in certain Pentecostal and Charismatic circles hope is equated with doubt.
For example, on occasion I have been approached by some people of the
ultra faith prosperity persuasion who have aggressively claimed and prayed
for my healing. When I'm not
immediately healed they unfairly blame me for the failure of their
prayers. If I tell them my
ultimate hope is in Jesus, they undoubtedly equate my hope with doubt, and
thus the reason for their unanswered prayers.
They say I should confess what they call a good confession of faith
by "calling things that are not as though they are," which by
the way is a poor interpretation of Romans 4:17.
Biblical hope is
not based on doubt or uncertainty, as in "I hope to win the
lottery." It is based on
the certainty that even if God's promises are not yet realized, they will
be. That's not doubt.
Hope is seen as far
back as Genesis 3:16 where God predicted a future salvation that Adam and
Eve might have hoped for but never experienced.
That doesn't nullify the promise's ultimate fulfilment.
It will be realized when our present fallen reality that Adam
plunged us into is replaced by a new reality as seen in Revelation 21.
salvation history as I call it in this particular instance, is a process
that began in Genesis and ends in Revelation.
We are in the middle of an uncompleted process.
This is why the Bible views the believer as already saved, as being
saved, and yet to be saved. As
Christians, we hope for the certainty of a future salvation.
The Apostle Paul
addressed hope as it pertains to the process of salvation.
He uses the phrases "our hope of eternal life" (Titus
3:7), "our hope of salvation" (1 Thessalonians 5:8), and
"our hope of righteousness" (Galatians 5:5).
These and other such passages tell us that salvation is a process.
It is something we already have but hope for as well.
Biblical hope is
not an expression of doubt. It's
an expectation of a certain future reality based on the reliability of
God. Hebrews 7:21 says that
God will never change His mind about any promise He has made.
Hope is that certain.
Until all of God's
promises are fully realized we wait with patience. "Hope
that is seen is no hope at all. Who
hopes for what he already has. But
if we hope for that which we do not have we wait for it patiently"
(Romans 8:24 - 25). "Be
joyful in hope, patient in affliction" (Romans 12:12).
"We remember you ... for your endurance inspired by hope in
the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 1:3).
Biblical hope requires patience as we wait for what we hope for. Patience
is a fading character quality in our present "I want it right
The very essence
of God and Jesus is hope (Romans 15:13, 1 Timothy 1:1).
So, when I say that my ultimate hope is in Jesus, I emulate the
very nature of Jesus. I'm also
saying that despite my present circumstances that I do not deny, I have
full assurance in God's reliability. Biblical hope is closer to faith than it is to doubt.
Biblical faith is trust, as in, I trust my life with Jesus and
allow Him to do as He wishes with me.
Biblical hope is a patient anticipation of a certain future
realization of that which God has promised.
Let us never dampen someone's hope in Jesus by equating their hope