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Hope

"Hope is an anchor for the soul" - Heb. 6:19-20

False hope

A popular saying is: "I hope to succeed, but I'm not sure I shall". The secular meaning of hope is a desire that something will be accomplished but it boils down to a hit and a miss.

Hopelessness is absolute despair of having any expectation of good or success. The person doesn't see a viable solution. Somebody without hope may think: My situation/ circumstances will never change; God is distant; I am trapped; people always fail me; I have no reason to live. These thoughts are often accompanied by disappointment (sadness over unfulfilled expectations); discouragement (loss of courage to risk again); disillusionment (feeling of betrayal regarding promises); depression; anxiety and despair.  An example of somebody who lost all hope is Saul, who eventually took his own life (1 Sam 31).

False hope relies on people (Jer. 17:5-8).  People are not trustworthy (Proverbs 20:6; 1 Tim 6:17). The same applies to politics (Ps 9:15); economics (Eccl 7:14); military might (Is 30:15-16; justice (Ps 58:1-2); vocation (Eccl 4:8); finance (1 Tim 6:17); riches (Job 31:24-28; Ps 52:1-7); relationships (Mal 2:14); health (Ps 38:3); and religion (Heb. 10:11).  People who put their trust in these idols are without hope (Eph 2:12).

Biblical hope

The Bible teaches that hope is an assurance that something will be fulfilled. Biblical hope puts trust in God (Jer. 14:22; Eph 1:12), He is constant (James 1:17; Heb. 13:8); steadfast (Ps. 33:18), faithful (2 Tim 2:13; Tit 1:2); trustworthy (Ps 62:5; 2 Cor 1:20); unfailing (Ps 33:18; Ps 42:5-6). True hope:

  • relies solely upon God in the worst circumstances (Lamentations 3:19-25);
  • expects God to carry out his purposes for his glory and the good of his children (Rom 8:28);
  • waits patiently upon God (Rom 8:24-25);
  • trusts God for his care and provision (Phil 4:19); his power (Eph 1:18-19); and his deliverance (Ps. 40:1; 130:5-6).

All things in this dispensation are temporary, broken and incomplete. We are waiting for "the blessed hope," namely, the glorious appearing of our Lord (Titus 2:13), and we are expecting an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance (1 Pet 1:3-5). In the interim, we have a taste of the future glory: The fruits of love and the gifts of the Spirit are down payments of future glory for which we hope (Rom. 5:2; Eph. 1:13-14).

Hope bears fruit.  Praise (Ps 71:14); joy (Rom 5:2; Rom 12:12); purity (1 Joh. 3:3); perseverance (1 Tess 1:3); witness (1 Pet 3:15).

The Solid Rock - Edward Mote
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' Name.
Refrain:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand (2X)
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Sources:
EASTON, B.S. Hope in International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia
HUNT, J. 2005. Hope: The Anchor of the Soul.  Biblical Counselling Keys  
Dallas: Hope for the Heart
NELSON, W.B. Hope in Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

22 May 2009

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