- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about hope?
Merriam-Webster defines hope as: “to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true; to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment; to expect with confidence.” What good comes from hope? What evil comes from a lack of hope? Will the answers to these questions provide the proof that the hope, which comes from God, heals us and leads us to Him?
1 Pet 1:19-21, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”
God has left us His hope, which the Bible and the Holy Ghost explain to us, Rom 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” and this hope, brought to us by these two witnesses, will lead us to His eternal salvation.
We can have this hope because God has a wonderful plan for our eternal lives, Jer 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” This expected end finds God wiping away all our tears and all of the reasons for those tears, Rev 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
In this life we will have tribulations, however, Jesus left us His hope, which gives us the strength needed to withstand the pressures of tribulation, Rom 5:3-5, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” We learn that the tribulations of this life lead us through experience to faith and the hope of an eternal future, as we experience our hope being rewarded over and over again. Thus, we know good will prevail in the end, Rom 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” for God cannot lie, so we can believe in the hope He has left us, Tit 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”
Once we stop believing the lies this world promotes and begin seeing that joy does not come from riches or power, we gain His peace, Rom 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” and a joy only attainable through the blood of Jesus.
With hope comes the desire to help others overcome the lies of this world, 1 Pet 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” This great desire leads us to transform from fearful mortals to brave servants patiently waiting on the eternal life Jesus promises, 2 Cor 4:16-18, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” God’s Word helps us learn that this life is but a moment when compared to all eternity!
Heb 6:8-11, “But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:” God sees all of the little things we do in this life, which validate our belief in Him, and He will reward us; even if we do not see the good results being produced. Yes, the little things we do matter.
Some think we are foolish to have placed our hope in Him, our answer to them is, 1 Cor 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” But, Jesus came in the flesh, to assure us and to tell us of His plans; to give us hope in an everlasting life, Heb 3:6, “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” for God promised us, Jn 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Without hope, we slowly sink into a pool of fear and depression caused by the lies propagated by the devil, Eph 2:12, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Without God, this life becomes tedious, or as Solomon puts it, vanity, Eccl 1:1-4, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.” The lie, which tells us this life is pointless, has led many to suicide.
Without hope we can easily focus only on the greedy and the needy. This hopelessness leads us to evil works, which then validates our belief and determines our eternal future, Ps 9:16-18 “The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.” Hope leads us to righteousness and a lack of it leads us to eternal death, Prov 10:28, “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.”
Even those without hope will be resurrected, however, they will be disappointed, Acts 24:15, “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”
Without hope, we are grieved at the deaths of everyone we know, 1 Thes 4:13, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” But, when we know they have accepted Jesus, we can rejoice in the fact they have passed on to an eternal life with Him. Unfortunately, the hypocrite, who boasts of his love of God while following a path leading away from God, will not be rewarded with God’s promised eternal life, Job 8:13, “So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish:” and Matt 7:23, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
It is our hope that gives us the strength we need to finish the race before us, Heb 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Our hope in God’s eternal plan is everything!
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