As we approach the Advent of Christmas I can‘t help but to rejoice. We serve an awesome and amazing God. He is so good to us on so many levels. He is the source of joy, peace, love, and hope. What would life be like without them? I would like to take a look at just one of them, HOPE. When you think of hope what do you think of? How do you or would you define it?
In America we would define it very differently than the Biblical definition or understanding. One definition of hope is the emotional statewhich promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. This sounds nice on the surface, but is there any assurance in it? What about confidence in it becoming a reality? I hope the Arizona Cardinals win the Super Bowl. I can hope all day, but there is little to no chance that this will be a reality this year. Let’s look how the Bible defines it.
In 1 Peter 1:13 it says, “Hope fully in the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” and in Hebrews 6:11 it says, “We desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end.”
There is assurance and confidence that God is going to do exactly what He said He is going to do.
Romans 15: 8-13 says, “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”.
1. God is a God of hope (vs. 13) – God is the author of hope. Without God there is no hope. We can hope (in a worldly sense) as much as we want, but it does not produce anything. There is no life or benefit to it.
2. God’s promises are always fulfilled (vs. 9-12) – Paul quotes four Old Testament passages. Only one of them is an explicit promise, a Messianic one at that, but all of them are fulfilled. God’s Word produces hope in our lives.
3. The Holy Spirit empowers us to abound in hope (vs. 13) – the hope we possess is not from our own doing. It is a gift and comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. We should abound in hope, not simply get by with it.
4. Hope, Joy, and peace are produced through faith or believing (vs. 13) – when we are in Christ we are filled with hope, joy, and peace. There is no human author or method that can be used to gain them. Outside of Christendom these attributes are not realities, but we can and should experience them in abundance.
5. Hope, Joy, and Peace become cyclic (vs. 13) – The more hope we have the more joy and peace we have. The more joy and peace we have the more hope we have and the pattern continues to repeat itself. They continue to feed each other. It is quite amazing as you unpack it.
May God abundantly bless you all with hope that produces life transformation that creates peace and joy. Then may that peace and joy be shared with others so that they can experience the hope that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ.