Romans 15:4; 5:1-5; various
WHAT’S THE DOPE ON THIS THING WE CALL HOPE
Romans 15:4; 5:1-5; various
What is the dope on this thing we call hope? Let’s talk about that.
The word hope is found in the Bible 180 times which is really quite a lot. It is found 83 times in the NT alone. Paul’s letter to the church of Rome use it the most. Romans has the word hope in it in 14 appearances. Romans 15:4 is my favorite of those.
Romans 15:4 - For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Hope is not a wish. A wish is often a dream or desire that is cast out on the universe with nothing to hang it on. [ie - I wish I was handsome, I wish I had a million dollars]. Wishes are often selfish and centered on our own desires. Hope is and expectation based on faith in God to act according to his will and his word. Hope is defined in the Oxford dictionary as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Or a feeling of trust.
One of the Greek words for hope in the NT is ἐλπίς - elpis (el-pece’) - hope, expectation, trust, confidence. Where in classical Greek writings this word can be used for either ill or good expectations, in the NT it is always used in a good sense. It is an expectation of good; and in the Christian sense, joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation (Ac 23:6; 26:7; Ro 5:4;12:12; 15:13; 1 Co 13:13; 1 Pe 1:3; 3:15)
What is this hope? From cover to cover in the Bible we discover that God is faithful, humans are sinful and need a savior, and God promised a savior in the Messiah. The promise of the scripture is in the hope of the Messiah who saves us. The Messiah is revealed in the New Testament as Jesus. Jesus not only came to save us from our sins but to sustain us in the hope that we will have eternal life with Him. This hope is the fortitude in which the Christian can endure all his trials and troubles, even facing death. The more one trust in God the firmer his tenacity of faith and enduring hope in Christ.
So this hope is in Jesus Christ. But where does it come from? It comes from reading and applying the word of God. You can’t give it just a cursory glance. You have to work out your faith… your salvation… with fear and trembling. Hope grows with faith that is put into action. This hope grows as we learn to endure hardship. You might even say that hope is forged in the fires of adversity.
In Romans 5, The Apostle Paul said that we not only have peace because of our faith in Jesus but we have peace through our sufferings for Him. Why? Because our sufferings help produce deeper faith and greater hope. 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 boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Ro 5:1-5).
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
After every bitter disappointment or failure, we find ourselves reluctant to think about the future. Nevertheless, we must accept that disappointments are transient, temporary, or just a dot in the scheme of all eternity. HOPE is looking past the temporary into the eternal.