hope- to carry on

Hope in scripture is tied to faith and love (in more than one place, though the one that readily comes to mind is 1 Corinthians 13). So hope is basic to the Christian life, we might say to the human experience. Show me a person without hope and I’ll show you a person with not much will to live, or one who is simply going through the motions.

Hope is expectation of good. In scripture it is tied to anticipation of the fulfillment of God’s promises in and through Jesus. Again it is tied to faith and love which are readily seen as basic to following Jesus. Hope is listed third not because it is less essential, but perhaps because it is not as upfront in passages about salvation especially in terms of conversion as faith and love are. A submissive, repentant faith is the human response in conversion to God’s offer of saving grace. The love which follows is in response to God’s love poured into the heart by the Holy Spirit. Hope is often in terms of looking forward to what lies beyond this life in the resurrection to come. In terms of Jesus’ return. In the term itself hope is simply anticipation which certainly does not exclude what is good from God happening in this life. We see that explicitly spelled out in a proverb.

And so for a people to live a healthy existence of faith, hope must be prominent, at the fore, along with love. It must spur us on in this life to follow our Lord and do the good works God gives us.

God gives us hope to help us continue on. In Jesus it is a hope which is in terms of God’s promises of his grace and kingdom come in him. This is a work already present but not yet completed in its fulfillment in Jesus by the Spirit. So part of the fulfillment is now. Our hope does not disappoint us even now, since God’s love is poured out into our hearts by the Spirit God has given us.

In this world where might makes right and it seems that the strongest wins and the fittest survives the hope that comes in Jesus is not a natural hope in terms of what is natural in this world. It is supernatural in that sense, not from this world, although definitely for this world. So it’s not going to make any sense in this world apart from Christ. How can the faithful love their enemies and continue to take up their cross and follow? How can they go the second mile and give to everyone who asks them without expecting any return? How can they love to the end no matter what? Oftentimes it may only be because of what they know by faith and the expectation that comes from that, the hope, in spite of how they feel. It is the Spirit who makes the difference in our lives, helping us to more than just hold on, though certainly to do that at times. But to carry on in God’s strength. Yes from hoping in waiting on the Lord. A practice from necessity that never ceases in this life.