Faith, Hope And Love (Hope)

Paul writes to the believers in Rome and down through the ages as he defines Hope for us in Romans 8:24-25  - 

"But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."

The word "wait" here is from the original Greek word apekdechomai (ap-ek-dekh'-om-ahee), meaning to expect fully. The "patiently" part is the hard part many times.

Many of us can attest to experiencing hardships, mistakes, troubles and trials that last for days, weeks, months, years and whatever Christians call "a Season". Then there is an expectation of sorts that at midnight on New Year's Eve, all of last year's woes are erased and we are allowed to hit the reset button as we look ahead. 

We call it a "new" year, but many times the only thing really new is just the number of the year. The same problems exist, same challenges and issues persist through the switch-over to the "new" year. 

What do we have to look forward to? What do we do, how do we respond when we see that the same-ole-same-ole did not go away but simply remained or changed form? What happens when our remedies, including faith, fails or does not seem to function as we believed it would? 

Year after year the motivation seems less and less in many of the areas of our lives, this is when believers need to remember their Hope.

What is the Christian's hope? It is not Salvation. Salvation is a completed, finished work of Christ that guarantees the believer eternity with Jesus and all the benefits thereof. 

The Hope then is - 
  1. the physical manifestation of Jesus one day in our lives and
  2. our bodies glorified for our new dwelling in New Jerusalem on a New Earth in a New Heaven.
Jesus promises His physical return and new residence in John 14:2-4 when He states - 

"My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

In Romans 8:23-24 Paul announces the physically glorified hope we have through Christ - 

"we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved."

John Maxwell said, "Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present." I agree and would add - if there is no hope, the present is useless, the past has no meaning and the future is non-existent.

Christians have as their God, the God of Hope. God desires His believers to not only know Him as this and be filled with the expectation of all the blessings to come but to overflow with hope also.

"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." - Romans 15:13

Paul, when he wrote to the believers in Corinth the first time, mentioned the three sub-lifestyles within the Christian journey that the believer should pursue.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." - 1 Cor. 13:13

Even with "love" being "the greatest of these" hope is listed as a lifestyle to pursue alongside love and faith.

God is not stagnant. God is continually moving in the believer's favor. God did not stop at The Cross, otherwise Christ would be only a martyr that died for a great cause. God did not leave Jesus in the tomb, otherwise the believer's faith would be meaningless. God did not stop at The Ascension, otherwise the believer would not be empowered and inspired by the Holy Spirit daily. Look how 1 Peter 1:3-5 states this -

"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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." (underlined emphasis mine)

Paul continues to dispel the doom and gloom of carry-over problems from year-to-year spoken of earlier and injects new life into the believer by saying -

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." - Romans 12:12

Notice the descriptive words and what they are linked to -

  1. Joyfulness with hope,
  2. Patience with afflictions or issues,
  3. Faithfulness with prayer or time with God. 
Paul recognized that year after year many things in life will not change. Problems will persist, but so will God and so will we if we live joyfully in hope, patiently in problems and faithfully in prayer - the "Living Hope" lifestyle.

The believer's new birth into Christ's lifestyle is a "living hope". Because of His resurrection, this living hope guarantees a personal, physical relationship with Christ in the future and an inheritance in heaven for the believer in Christ. Relationship with Christ and citizenship in Heaven - awesome expectation, awesome Hope.