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A Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who according to His abundant mercy
has begotten us again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and
that does not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you,
who are kept by the power of God
through faith for salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while, if need be,
you have been grieved by various trials,
that the genuineness of your faith,
being much more precious than gold that perishes,
though it is tested by fire,
may be found to praise,
honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
whom having not seen you love.
Though now you do not see Him, yet believing,
you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9

These days, it is so easy to become disappointed and discouraged. Things don't always go according to our plans and desires. Terrible things such as wars, terrorism, earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, floods, snowstorms, famines, sicknesses, diseases, unemployment, financial crisis and future uncertainties continue to intrude into our daily lives and living spaces.

We have our own moments of hopelessness and despair. How can we prevent our souls, minds and emotions from getting distressed, disquieted and disturbed? I believe hope is the anchor of our souls that will safeguard us from all the stormy seas of our lives.

The Greek word for hope is elpis (Strong NT: 1680). Its root word elpo means to anticipate (usually with pleasure); expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence. Hope is therefore to anticipate or expect with confidence and pleasure.

In the Bible, the word hope stands for both the act of hoping (Romans 4:18; 1 Cor. 9:10) and the thing hoped for (Col. 1:5; 1 Peter 1:3). Hope does not arise from our desires or wishes but from God, Who is Himself our hope. The psalmist declared, "My hope is in You" (Psalm 39:7). Genuine hope is not wishful thinking, but a firm assurance about things that are unseen and still in the future (Romans 8:24-25; Hebrews 11:1,7).

Hope distinguishes Christians from unbelievers, who have no hope (Eph 2:12; 1 Thess 4:13). In fact, hope resides in every person who believes in Christ (1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 3:3).

In comparison to the hope in the Old Testament, the Christian hope is better (Heb 7:19). Hope comes from God (Rom 15:13), and especially from His calling (Eph 1:18; 4:4), His grace (2 Thess 2:16), His Word (Rom 15:4) and His gospel (Col 1:23). Hope is directed toward God (Acts 24:15; 1 Peter 1:21) and Christ (1 Thess 1:3; 1 Tim 1:1).

The objects of the Christian hope are:

  • eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:7)

  • salvation (1 Thess 5:8)

  • righteousness (Gal 5:5)

  • the glory of God (Rom 5:2; Col 1:27)

  • the appearing of Christ (Titus 2:13) and

  • the resurrection from the dead (Acts 23:6; 26:6-7).

When God begets us as His sons and daughters, we are born again. We become alive in Christ by the same Power that resurrected Christ from the dead! And not only that, we are born again to a living hope. A hope, even against all hopelessness, believes in God Who is faithful and able to perform whatever He has promised!

God is not unfair. He will never forget our hard work for Him, or forget the way we have shown and are showing our love for Him by helping others. We must be zealous in doing right and loving others as long as we live, so that we will get our full reward.

Knowing what is ahead for us, we won't become bored with being a Christian nor become spiritually dull and indifferent, but we will be eager to follow the example of those who receive all that God has promised them because of their strong faith and patience.

For example, when God made a promise to Abraham, He took an oath in His own name since there was no one greater name to swear by. Abraham waited patiently until finally God gave him a son Isaac, just as He had promised. God blessed Abraham again and again, and made him the father of many nations.

When a man takes an oath, he is calling upon someone greater than himself to force him to do whatever he has promised or to punish him if he later refuses to do it. The oath ends all argument about it. When God bounds Himself with an oath, whosoever He promised to help would be perfectly sure and never need to wonder whether He might change His plans.

There are two immutable things that we can completely count on: God’s promise and God’s oath! God has given us both His promise and His oath. It is impossible for God to tell a lie. Now this is great news for all of us who have turned to God to save us. We can take new courage as we hear such assurances from God. We can know without a doubt that He will give us the salvation He has promised. This assured hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God Himself behind the veil, where Christ has gone ahead to plead for us from His position as our High Priest, with the honor and rank of Melchizedek (Hebrews 6:10-20).

What are some characteristics of this living hope?

A Godly Hope

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 42:11

We are to hope in God, not anyone or anything else. When we do so, we will be firmly established onto the Solid Rock of our salvation, Who cannot be shaken. We will never be disappointed or dismayed.

An Anchoring Hope

"..that by two immutable things,
in which it is impossible for God to lie,
we might have strong consolation,
who have fled for refuge
to lay hold of the hope set before us.

This hope we have
as an anchor of the soul,

both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.."
Hebrews 6:18-19

This hope we have is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.

When travelling through the rough seas of life, it is so good to come to a safe place of refuge and rest, and lay down the anchor. This anchor prevents us from drifting away from God and His love. We then will be still, and know that He is God!

A Fulfilling Hope

Now hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured
out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit
Who was given to us.
Romans 5:5

The hope God gave us will not disappoint or deceive us. Whatever God promised will be fulfilled.

We can be certain that we will receive those promises. Our God does not tell a lie. Others may give us false hopes and promises, but our God never.

A Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who according to His abundant mercy
has begotten us again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead,
to an inheritance
incorruptible and undefiled and
that does not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you,
who are kept by the power of God
through faith for salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5

This hope has the power of life, and life is more powerful than death! This hope is very active and victorious. It is not dead! It is not just mere sentiment or speculation but it has the power to resurrect even the dead!

The resurrection of our Lord Jesus is the foundation of our hope. As such, even facing hopeless situations, we can still set our hope on high! God is able! All things are possible with God! Even the resurrection of the dead!

A Glorious Hope

To them God willed to make known
what are the riches of the glory of
this mystery among the Gentiles:
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Him we preach, warning every man and
teaching every man in all wisdom,
that we may present
every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
To this end I also labor,
striving according to His working
which works in me mightily.
Col 1:27-29

This hope of glory will entitle us to see the greatness, majesty, beauty, wonder, awe, holiness, power, authority and honor of our divine and perfect God! This is beyond all human understanding and comprehension.

God will reveal to us His attributes as we come before His holy and glorious presence. And we too shall be transformed into His likeness, from glory to glory!

When Christ Who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col 3:4)

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)

A Blessed Hope

For the grace of God that brings salvation
has appeared to all men,
teaching us that,
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and
godly in the present age,
looking for the blessed hope and
glorious appearing of our great God and
Savior Jesus Christ,
Who gave Himself for us,
that He might redeem us
from every lawless deed and
purify for Himself His own special people,
zealous for good works.
Titus 2:11-14

This hope is blessed by God Himself! It has the favor and anointing of the LORD! This blessed hope is not only good in words, but it also has the power to fulfill those words.

God declared and pronounced this hope unto us, giving us abundant life, true riches, fruitfulness and love.

His blessings go beyond turning us from evil, and forgiving our sins. He ensures that we are ready to see the day of the glorious appearing.

An Abounding Hope

Now may the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13)

Our God is the God of hope. When we believe, He fills us with all joy and peace. As we continue in trusting and obeying Him, we will be able to rejoice with joy unspeakable. His joy and peace arise from our hopes. The more hope we have, the more joy and peace we will receive. We will then abound in hope as we hope in God.

We will be firmly established in the God of hope! The Holy Spirit will give us more grace, and will further strengthen our hope.

A Powerful Hope

Now may the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13)

This hope has the power, ability and strength to perform what God has promised:

When the Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon us, and anointed us, we too will:

  • preach the gospel to the poor;

  • heal the brokenhearted,

  • proclaim liberty to the captives

  • restore sight to the blind,

  • set free those who are oppressed; and

  • proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD (Luke 4:18-19)

This hope also has the power to resurrect the dead!

A Joyful Hope

Be kindly affectionate to one another
with brotherly love,
in honor giving preference to one another;
not lagging in diligence,
fervent in spirit,
serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope,
patient in tribulation,
continuing steadfastly in prayer;
distributing to the needs of the saints,
given to hospitality.
Romans 12:10-13

This hope is overflowing with joy from above! It is delightful, even in the midst of problems and difficult circumstances. This hope focuses on the very character of God. As we add God into every equation of our life, we cannot but rejoice in hope!

This hope is given to us by the Holy Spirit! It looks beyond the present to see our future, and to see our God in motion in making all things beautiful in His time! God is working for our good so that we work with Him, and fit into His plans.

In a compilation of Jewish writings, literature and commentaries, there was an account of Rabbi Akiva and the Sages of Israel walking on the streets of Jerusalem after the destruction of the Holy Temple. As they came to the Temple Mount, they beheld a devastating sight. The Holy Place, once stood in majesty and splendor, were in ruins, and wild foxes were roaming about. The Sages broke down and wept.

"Woe to us," they wailed, "...we have seen this with our own eyes."

But Rabbi Akiva did not weep. Instead, he smiled. "How can you smile at such a time?" his friends asked him.

"I smile," Rabbi Akiva answered, "because today I have seen the fulfillment of prophecy, for the same prophet who foretold the destruction also foretold that the Temple shall be rebuilt. The same prophet who prophesied our exile, also prophesied that we shall return to Jerusalem in joy. And so I smile, for now that the first part of our prophecy has come to pass, the second part will surely come to be."

"Akiva," the Sages declared, "you have comforted us."

Even in the darkest moments, we knew that God was working the good out. He did not forget or leave us. God is with us! Emmanuel! Jesus gave us this very promise, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20).

From the ashes of the Holocaust, the dry bones of Israel became alive! By the grace of God, the Jews witnessed the resurrection of the dead! A nation becoming alive in one day! If God keeps His promises to Israel, He too will keep His promises to us! If God keeps His Old Covenant, He too will keep His New Covenant!

Let us therefore hope in God, and continue to strengthen our hearts! In doing so, our hope will abound in life unlimited, and overflow with joy unspeakable!

Written on:
31 December 2006