“…and we rejoice in our hope of sharing in the glory of God.” Romans 5:2
Albert Einstein once said that if he had to solve a problem in an hour and his life depended on it, he would spend the first 55 minutes trying to determine the right question to ask, because if he asked the right question, he could solve the problem in 5 minutes. As I think about the problems that exist in today’s western church with today’s western Christianity, I wonder what question we should be asking ourselves. There are a few good questions that I can think of, but one very important question would be: “What should Christians be hoping for?” Where have you placed your hope?
I’ve been a Christian for many years and I don’t remember hearing a sermon that was committed totally to emphasizing the value of hope. I’ve seen books written about love, faith, prayer, suffering, healing, discipleship, the nature of God, etc., but I don’t remember ever seeing or reading a book about our Christian hope. Yet hope is one of the three pillars of Christianity: Faith, Hope and Love. I think that hope is a missing ingredient in the Christian gospel. The devil knows if he can remove hope from the gospel, or at least have Christians confused with regards to the true hope we have, than the Gospel will be powerless and unable to transform the Christian as needed.
When hope is not a major focus for Christians, when it is not properly emphasized, then our hope can become misguided. Our hope can be misdirected to the things of this world, like hope for a new car, or a new job, or a wife, or anything else that is physical or has to do with this life and this world. These things are not the true Christian hope.
True, Biblical, Christian hope is focused on the promises of God that have been made available through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Let’s look at the Scriptures to see this explained. One portion of Scripture that I think explains this clearly is in the 8th chapter of Romans, starting at verse 14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
As Christians we are now true children of God. As God’s children, we are heirs of God. Our hope is our inheritance! What is this inheritance? Here it is revealed that our inheritance is the same as what Christ has inherited, for it says that we are “joint heirs with Christ”, and that we will be “glorified together” with Him. What is the glorification? Well, we know that a part of it is a deliverance from the corruption of this world, and that all of God’s creation will share in this deliverance. This new “delivered” world will contain the glory of God and will not be cursed and subject to corruption as this present world has been. Other scriptures also give us hints of what this glory may be like: no more tears or sorrow, no more death, the lion will lay down with the lamb, streets of gold, righteousness will rule. I believe that it is this and much, much more. It’s beyond our imagination so that words cannot describe it. It’s more than we can ask for or even think of with our current understanding of things. This is what is in store for us and what we “eagerly wait for with perseverance.”
We will also be transformed from these current mortal bodies to immortal ones, just like the resurrected body of Jesus, who was the first fruit of what was promised to us, the true children of God. Yes, we will have a new body and it will be exactly like the resurrected body of Jesus.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Cor. 15:51-53
This hope should be alive in our hearts every day. We should remind ourselves of the reality of this hope as often as possible. It should be what we treasure in our hearts. It should impact every decision that we make. It should change the view of every circumstance that we find ourselves in. It should change the way that we think, and therefore the way that we act. One day we will obtain this hope! The reality of this hope makes any suffering that we may encounter now seem pale in comparison. The reality of this hope is the anchor of our soul and will take us through any stormy sea that live will bring at us.
Here are some additional scripture verses about hope that will reinforce these truths:
In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”
And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today.
For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
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.
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.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
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.
And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;
the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel
if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
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.
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
1 John 3
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.