Thursday, September 18, 2008

HOPE Word-Study Devotional

My second Word-Study Devotional is on Hope. I "hope" you enjoy it and that it speaks to your heart. If so, do not forget to share it with a friend. Just tell them how to get to my blog. In Christ, yours, BJ


“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23 (all verses, NKJV)

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” – 1 Thessalonians 2:19

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” – 1 Peter 3:15

“Hope” is a combination of two words that literally mean “confident expectation” (elpis 1680; Strong’s says elpis comes from elpo = “to anticipate, usually with pleasure”; cf. Hebrew # 410: el = strength, mighty (God Almighty = El-Shaddahee) + Greek # 4102: pistis = persuasion, trust, faith). Hope is a confident expectation that what God has done in the past, He will do in the present and future. As you may see in the compound word, “hope” is interrelated to “faith.” In New Testament times, “faith,” “hope,” and “love” seem to have been a triad of eternal virtues. For example: “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father” (1 Thess. 1:2-3, emphasis added; cf. Rms. 5:2-5; 1 Cor. 13:13; Gal. 5:5-6; Col. 1:4-5; 1 Thess. 5:8; Heb. 6:10-12; 1 Pet. 1:21-22).

Hope sees the hurdles of life as stretching opportunities for spiritual growth. History records that those POWs who maintained hope survived their captivity longest. Hope is as necessary to human survival as water is to a fish. Without hope, man loses sight of his future and redefines the word as “wishful thinking” or “iffy.” Without hope, man becomes a dreamer of achievements that could have become reality and treats life as a game of chance.

A believer’s hope is not wishful thinking. Peter gives a definitive description of our salvation as “begotten…to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet.1:3). Through the resurrected Christ, a believer is “begotten” into a “living hope” that produces a confident, pleasurable life of spiritual expectation and anticipation. This “hope” builds his spiritual life through every physical experience. Through hope, a believer sees the unseen spiritual virtues and progresses through his circumstances. Paul says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Cor. 15:19); and further, “For we were saved in this hope, but 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, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Rms. 8:24-25).

Hope takes away the uncertainties of our physical life because a follower of Jesus is confident in the providential care of his Lord. This hope purifies us in His presence: “And you…He has now reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard…” (Col. 1:21-23, in part). Did you see the blessing of hope in that verse? The gospel gives eternal hope. It is joined to the foundation of “faith, grounded and steadfast,” and provides the spiritual material for building a strong and mighty, purified life that houses Christ our Lord, “…whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (Heb. 3:6). “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Hope settles the believer down into his eternal house and gives him a confident expectation of his future.

Have you lost sight of your spiritual hope? Do your hurdles look too high? May I encourage you to start looking “up” instead of “out”? Let your Christian life be clothed in hope. Run its race in pleasurable confidence. Speak of it when others try to drag you down into the dismal uncertainties of this lost world. Put hope back into your spiritual life; make it your pleasurable testimony!

1 comment:

  1. In todays world all we have is hope to cling to.