“I have hope … because of Jesus Christ.”
Franklin Graham recently said, “I have hope for America because of Jesus Christ.” We as Christians could substitute any number of words naming people, places, situations, a multitude of various needs, for “America”, because the Lord Jesus Christ IS our Hope (I Tim.1:1). And because He never changes nor are we ever without His Presence, we therefore are never without hope. The Apostle Paul was persuaded of this truth and longed that the people entrusted to him by God would also grasp it. He told the Church at Ephesus that he was always praying to ” the God of our Lord Jesus Christ” that they would have “the eyes of [their] heart flooded with light, so that [they could] know and understand the Hope to which He had called [them] …” (Eph.1:17,18) Then for the Christians in Rome he prayed, “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing … that by the power of Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.” (Rom.15:13) Even David in Old Testament times urged readers of his Psalms to “Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.” (Psa.27:14)
Life lived “under the sun” only is all vanity.Without Godly hope in the Son we are subject to this same sense of emptiness, even hopelessness. Click To Tweet
“…Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” (Eccles.1:2) Throughout Ecclesiastes we sense this hopelessness on the human, natural level of life lived only “under the sun”. Indeed, without Godly hope in the Son we are subject to this same sense of emptiness, even hopelessness. In verse 13b we read, “a miserable business which God has given to the sons of man with which to busy themselves.” This refers to the first part of the verse: “searching out by human wisdom all human activity under Heaven”. We are reminded of Leonardo da Vinci, who in the 16th century, was like what we would call today “a Renaissance man”. He had multiple gifts and talents, was strong-bodied, handsome, affable, and had a driving desire to reach perfection in everything he put his hand to. But towards the end of his life, despite great “successes” and accomplishments on the human plane of life, he realized that perfection was not a quality of nor possibility for the human race. We know, of course, that this is because of the fall of man, but we also know that there is hope for a meaningful and fully satisfying life on earth because of the Plan of God for our Redemption.
Faith, the Word, and Grace are intimately related to hope.
If our hope is not the result of our faith in the Word of His Grace then it is merely wishful thinking. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen” (Heb.11:1); and “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom.10:17). The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:49, “Remember Your Word and promise to Your servant, in which You have caused me to hope.” Furthermore, hope comes through receiving Grace. ” … our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through His Grace…” (II Thess.2:16) Without Grace we become discouraged, disheartened – which is the intent and chief tactic of the enemy, so that our hands will hang down, our knees will be feeble, and our feet will be lame and put out of the way (Heb.12:11-13). The devil wants no praise for the Lord Jesus Christ, no prayer to the Father, and no spiritual progress made as we walk in the Spirit. Understandably so, because he knows that with these three components of the Spirit-filled Christian life, the Son of Man is made manifest and his (the devil’s) works are destroyed (I John 3:8)! Habakkuk the prophet was one who would not forfeit his opportunity and privilege to “show off” the sufficiency of his God. In Hab.3:17,18, we see that much was seemingly against the prophet as well as all of all Israel. But listen to the confession of hope from the prophet’s lips in the midst of such seeming devastation: “The Lord God is my Strength, my personal Bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make spiritual progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!” (v.19)
The world needs to see us hoping in SomeOne unseen.
Just for a moment let’s imagine ourselves relegated to a hope that is at best momentary, as seen in Ecclesiastes. “If we who are in Christ have hope only in this life and that is all, then we are of all people most miserable …” (I Cor.15:19); yet this is what can happen to us when we get busy with the business of this life “under the sun”, sinking into task- and performance-orientation, trying to fill up the emptiness with doing and accomplishing.
No, our hope is not in getting things done but rather in the Son, in a Person. The “Godly women of old who hoped in God” (I Peter 3:5) were accustomed to beautify and “adorn” themselves not with the typical outward adornment of jewelry, beautiful clothes, and elaborate coiffes, but rather with the inward adorning “of the hidden person of the heart, with the … unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.” (I Peter 3:4). They also conducted themselves in a “pure and modest way” which was observed by those who did yet not know the Lord (v.2). This all served to make visible an invisible God. And now in our day we, too, can do likewise, displaying to those without hope an unusual Hope within us and being ready always to give an answer for why we have it (I Peter 3:15)! In fact, the Greek word for “hope”, in I Peter 3:5, is “elpizo” which Vine’s Dictionary says “stresses the character of those who hope, more than the action; hope characterizes them, showing what sort of persons they are.” By pure Grace, then, we too can manifest the Person in us Who has caused us to hope in His Word and Who indeed is our Hope.
This hope is the steadfast anchor of our souls.The quality of this hope makes that we are NEVER without hope. Click To Tweet
Hebrews 6:18-19 is loaded with promises to the believer regarding hope: (1) God can never lie or deceive us; (2) He is a reliable Refuge; (3) We “have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to hold fast this hope appointed for us”; (4) This hope reaches into the very Presence of God, into the Holy of Holies in Heaven, within the veil, where the Lord Jesus Christ has entered in for us in advance. This hope we have “as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it – ] … ” (v.19a) Simply put, the quality of this hope makes that we are NEVER without hope and can never truthfully say that any situation we are in is hopeless. In fact, through Spirit-filled and Spirit-led prayer and intercession we can also draw even the unsaved into this sphere of hope-fullness, leading them to the One Who longs to be their Hope as well.