The Gospel of Hope
Someone once told me that Christians are in the business of hope, which is ironic since many Christians don’t know what hope is.
Do you know what it is?
For some hope is little more than wishful thinking. “I hope I win the lottery.” “I hope the Cubs win the World Series.” “I hope he’ll change after we’re married.” The problem with that kind of hope is that it’ll disappoint you more often than not. Plus it’s not the kind of hope we read about in the Bible.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. (1 Cor 13:13a)
I used to wonder about this verse. I understood faith and love, but I couldn’t get my head around hope. Why does Paul say hope remains or abides? In my experience, hope was anything but permanent. Hope was a gossamer thread that snapped all the time.
What is hope?
Google the word hope and most of the quotes and definitions you find are riddled with cynicism and disappointment. “Hope is the worst of all evils,” said Friedrich Nietzsche, “Because it prolongs the torments of man.” Ouch!
Because so many have been disappointed, hope is widely seen as a bad thing. It’s a bait for hiding any dangerous hook, which makes it hard to talk about the gospel of hope.
So what is hope? Here’s a great definition: Hope is a rope that links us to a truth not yet experienced.
The key word in that definition is truth. Everyone has a hope rope, but if you hitch your rope to something that is not true, you’re going to be disappointed. “I thought he was a good guy, but he hurt me bad. Now I don’t trust any man.”
When disappointments come, you may blame your hope rope, but the problem is not the rope. It’s what you’ve hitched it to. I like what Darin Hufford says about hope in The Misunderstood God:
(Hope) was created for truth and nothing but truth. There is a hitch on the back of truth that we can connect our hope to that pulls us through challenges and circumstances we couldn’t otherwise make it through. (p.177)
Hope is knowing, not wishing. It’s a confident expectation of something that is true, not something that may be turn out to be false. Hope is Little Orphan Annie singing, “The sun’ll come out tomorrow” because the sun will come out tomorrow.
Why does hope matter?
Hope is extremely important. We can’t live without hope. Hope gives us strength. Hope helps us endure. Someone once defined hope as, “Hold On, Pain Ends.”
If you’re going through hardships, you need hope. If you’ve heard a bad report, hold onto your hope. When your hope rope is hitched to truth, there’s nothing you can’t endure.
But hope is only as good as the truth it is hitched to. If you’ve hitched your hope rope to a man or woman, you’re going to be let down. It’s inevitable.
Where does hope come from?
Hope comes from God.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:13)
There is no greater Truth to which you can affix your hope rope than Daddy-God himself. At one time we were “without hope and without God,” but “on him we have set our hope” (Eph 2:12, 2 Cor 1:9-10).
Attach your hope rope to anything less than God and you set yourself up for failure and disappointment. But put your hope in him and you’ll reign in life.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Pet 1:3)
What is a living hope? It is a hope in a risen Lord who gives life and hope to the dead. This world will crush your hopes and dreams, but your heavenly Father does not want you to become hopeless. You have a great need for hope; you have a great God who meets your need. Here’s Hufford again:
When our wasted hope in untrue things comes to an end, and we are empty inside and without hope, God is there, supplying a new dose of it, because he knows that without hope we will never get better. (p.181)
When you are shaken by bad news the temptation is to look around for hope. Don’t look around; look up! Fix your eyes on Jesus.
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. (Psa 39:7)
The remedy for bad news is good news. “Do not move from the hope held out in the gospel” (Col 1:23). When the shaking comes, hold onto that hope-rope and don’t let go. When the doctor speaks death, listen to Jesus who speaks life. When your boss says something bad, listen to your Father who says something good.
You’ll never walk by faith unless you’re walking by hope and you’ll never walk in hope unless you’re walking in your Father’s love. Faith, hope and love go together, but the greatest of these is love. No love, no hope. Know his love and you’ll know hope.
In a world of shattered dreams, thank God for a living hope! Thank God for Jesus in whose name the nations will put their hope (see Matt 12:21).
In my next two articles I will look at how religion damages hope and how Christ sustains it. Stay tuned!
Escape to Reality is a reader-funded website.
excellent!! Col 1:27 — To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
I need to soak in this a lot.
Great as usual. Thanks Paul! ♡
Thank you for this encouragement. Right now my life situation isn’t the best one. I have temptation to give it up but I know that I can’t.
I like your articles and I am looking forward for next one 🙂
God bless you Paul
Mr. David Vins: read Psalms 62:5 and meditate on it. I think it will be very helpful.
PRAISE THE MIGHTY NAME OF CHRIST JESUS.
Thank you Paul
Our trust is in whatever we hook our hope to. I never thought about how hope and trust are related until I read this post. Thank you
I never thought about Hope quite that way, kinda makes it a noun,thank you I appreciate it….ps: it can come camp out at my house for a while
Make it camp inside your heart and hold on to it.
I am so much bless with your post.I am a pastor & wish to have more Christian materials to enrich my self & the church
In John 14:6 Jesus is called the Way, the Truth and the Life. Not just Life but THE Eternal Life in 1 John 1:2. And now I see He is also called our Hope in 1 Timothy 1:1.
Paul…this is perfect for me! I e been going through some very difficult circumstances and felt hopeless…I wasn’t hitching my hope tope to the right “Rock” This is a wonderful message that I’m saving to refer to often. Thank you so very much! ❤️ Paulette
Glad to hear this has helped. Thanks Paulette.
I am sometimes shown how our cherished beliefs and even our most sacred scriptures can be proven false. Yet we must go on hoping because we enjoy go on hoping. And in time and love all is made clearer. So what if violence is exciting, there’s a thrill greater still. Sin doesn’t always lose, but it’s meant to lose! It just doesn’t hold a candle on the work of Christ. Thank God for our inclusion as one verse states. Our inclusive grace. Grace is our inclusive expression. Happy. I’m happy to work this out!
First time I am making a comment. Couldn’t help it.
Thanks, Paul, for sharing the wisdom He gives you.
It occurred to me as I was reading your article that hope in God can be applied to our relationships with each other and to ourselves.
It seems easy to disqualify ourselves or others from the friendships God wants us to enjoy. Probably none of us are strangers to being disappointed or hurt by even our best friends or ourselves. You have talked about being Christ conscious instead of sin conscious and maybe this is the same thing from a different angle. We can hope in the truth of Christ in each other and in Christ in ourselves and that can pull us through all the junk even help eliminate it, so we are always experiencing and perpetuating the victory of grace in our relationships. ~ “Christ in you the hope of glory.” Hope in each other seems to insist on the truth that we really are new creations and not only united to Him, but by Him to each other.
I get a lot out of your articles. 😄 Hope you keep them coming.
Good thoughts, Holly, and I agree. I am limited by how far I can dig in these short articles, so I didn’t go this route. But I would say hope and trust are healthy fruit that grow in any relationship characterized by authentic love, and ultimately this points back to Daddy-God who is the source of all good things, especially love.
Thank you Paul (II)! You have cleared up, in few words, the misconception I had regarding hope. I always thought that hope was the ugly stepsister to faith, a carnal fall back position at best, to comfort us by delaying the enevitability of failure by placing failure out there in the future. Since God IS the God of hope, I realize how ridiculous my former view of hope is: God is not a God of failure, nor of disappointment deferred…. My “hope rope” is now securely tied to the Truth: to the person of Jesus Christ- the Word of God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come!
Good post Saint Paul.
Jim Richards gave me my definition for hope, and it’s very close to yours. Hope is “confident expectation of good”. God is good, He is always good, and only good. If we are not confident of this truth, the storms of life will rock our boat of faith, and we will doubt God’s goodness towards us…… thinking that somehow He caused the storm, or allowed it for some reason, to teach us, or humble us, or punish us for our sin, etc, etc. (all untruth and or lies).
Warren (South Carolina, USA)
Yes, this is Strong’s classic definition of hope, and it is a good one.
He goes on to say that we don’t believe God is good because we believe that he will hurt us or judge us in some way. This isn’t what God came to do in Jesus. In the old covenant we would frolic in our judgement. But in the new we frolic in the stooping love of God.
Thank you Paul. I’m happy you you quoted 1 Cor 13:13a. I worship with my family at a Church that does not believe in the gifts of the spirit. To them, the time of the gifts have expired. Mostly, they back this argument with the whole chapter. I would be very grateful if you have something on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I look forward to these posts very much. Practical and straigh forward insight into the gospel and the teachings of Christ Jesus. Indeed, hope and the transformational power of the Holy Spirit has brought me through many circumstances that I would not have been able to navigate on my own. I look forward with anticipation for the rest of the series.
This post was just excellent! Thank you!
H – itched
Thanks, Paul God’s definition of hope
Thanks as God gets all the credit, me just learning with training wheels on that I watch to not be stolen from me in thinking I know, which just turns me over and buffeting comes ever since I said to God you take control and turn on the Holy Fire as that Rod and staff that now comfort me to keep me from floating adrift as is easy for this body in this world to do
Just learned and learning I am only accountable to me to walk in Faith to he is risen which removes one from the conscience of sin and gets way tooooooooooooooooooo busy in Spirit and truth where no sin lives today, thanks to The Christ fro us all on the cross where he took all sin away in Father’s sight but one
And that one is not a sin at first until one becomes aware of the need to choose t believe or not in Father raised Son from the dead and asks for the new life in this to lead them
That be just what I see, as you and many others have helped me to see these, as I take all to Father in prayer to get the truth of anything heard from Father in Son directly
This grace is so amazing, I do t see how anyone can take it for granted but by deception and God does not deceive ever
Love comes, faith accepts him and hope says I’ll see him soon.
I really like the definition of hope that a friend of mine uses: “Hope is the confident expectation that the last word has not yet been spoken.”
“Through Him you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are (centered and rest) in God.” 1 Peter 1:21 Amp This is for those that feel pain when thinking about hope …Even the ability to hope again comes from Him. Let yourself be loved;He is the one safe person to hold the other end of the hope rope and you to hold you at the same time!
Paul – I loved your article on Hope. “Hope is a rope” My pastor also had a great definition for it. The biblical definition of hope is the ” The absolute expectation of coming good “. Pastor Jon Courson And we can’t forget that faith, hope and love are linked together
The definition of faith is “The substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen ” Love believes all things, hopes all things – love never fails !
Thanks so much for your encouraging blogs – they are the best – have a great Resurrection day my friend
What an enlightening article. Great wisdom for life written in there Paul. I think many people are evangelized by the hope a Christian acquaintance has that is obviously hitched to something other than their circumstances. That’s what got my attention years ago as a lost person. A friend had come to know the Lord and I didn’t know Jesus from Buddha, but it was easy to see their hope had changed sources and I wanted that too. I thought of the stoning of Stephen as I read this article and how his hope rope allowed him to worship in spirit and truth as his body was being stoned…Amazing! As your article points out, it is not about trying to muster up hope but correctly hitching to the truth of the unfailing love that God has for all of us in the midst of our circumstances.
I was really affected by this article Paul, thank you for Escape to Reality.
What a definition of hope. Wow … Just wow : ) My life has not been the same since God intervened and sent me to your site. I had never heard of you , but since that day, October 24th, 2015, it’s as though life has taken on a new color and vibrancy. God is no respecter of persons, but He has always chosen to use people in specific ways and for specific purposes. Paul , you not only know God, which so many claim to do , but God knows you. For me that is the difference. For whatever time I have left on this earth, I will never be the same . We only see dimly as the other Paul says, but I see more rays of light and hope as each new day appears .
Thanks again, Paul.
Thanks, reading this article has given me another view on stuff, especially on HOPE
Very good article Paul thankyou.
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations”
– Romans 4:18
hoping when hope is no more is Faith.
Any thought you have about a circumstance you are in that does not have hope attached to it is a lie from the enemy.
Why look up when Jesus lives within?