1 Peter 1:3,4; Romans 8:18-25; 1 John 3:2,3; Hebrews 6:1
One of the noblest, greatest and most comforting blessings for the Christian is hope. And it is everywhere in the Word of God, especially in the New Testament. Here are some hopeful passages for the beginning of this year.
Peter tells us about hope, and he presents this blessing in the setting of the historical truth of the gospel - "the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." This is a case where your conviction about history is the basis of your confidence about your future (see also Heb. 11:1). The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Pet. 1:3,4 - "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." If I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and my life is a response to all that truth represents - I enjoy this living hope. I am able to look forward to an eternal inheritance of such enduring nature -- it is "incorruptible, undefiled" and "does not fade away."
Paul tells us about hope in Rom. 8:18-25. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For we were saved in this hope, but that 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, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." In "this present world" we suffer. It is the objective reality of our existence on the earth: we suffer. The suffering may take the form of persecution, financial struggle, disappointment with people we love, health problems, the stress of unexpected turmoil, or some other hardship; but we suffer in this "present time." Paul wants Christians to know, whatever pain we suffer now - there will be unsurpassed glory for God's people in the future. This assurance of future glory becomes our motivation, our comfort, our pleasure and perseverance.
John tells us about hope in 1 Jno. 3:2,3. "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." Notice, side by side in this verse - what we cannot know and what we can know. We cannot know what "has not yet been revealed." In the absence of revelation from God - there cannot be knowledge; so there are matters of curiosity we may have about our future state in heaven that cannot be known now in detail. But "we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him." This promise should be sufficient! Intellectual curiosity may provoke demands for detailed information about the spiritual body we shall have in heaven. There may be a variety of questions we would like to discuss, but such matters have "not been revealed." What does it matter, when we can "know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him?" This hope we have motivates purity in life, as "He is pure."
The writer of Hebrews tells us of this hope in Heb. 6:19. "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil." In this verse hope functions in at least two ways. (1) It provides us with surety and steadfastness as we navigate the stormy waters of life on earth; we have hope as "an anchor of the soul." (2) This hope moves us toward access to Deity; as expressed in Jewish terms, entering "the Presence behind the veil."
In these places, and in many other places in the Scriptures there is this concept, this blessing of hope for the child of God. Everybody needs hope, and everybody can have it, through the gospel of Christ. We need hope. When we are tired, sick, weary, disappointed, depressed, offended or persecuted - we need hope. The time to acquire and nurture this hope is now! Hope is available by an obedient faith in Christ. One of the noblest, greatest and most comforting blessings for the Christian is hope.
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 8.1; January 2001