What Christians Have

Living Hope

Looking forward to something is a common practice among people; the time of an event, or the anticipation of seeing a loved one separated by distance and time, holidays and other joyous occasions are examples of "things hoped for". Sometimes people foolishly hope for something or someone when in reality it is only wishful thinking. Wishing is not the same as hope. Let us look at the differences.

What is a wish? Defined in the dictionary, a wish is to desire or long for something or someone. In our language the word derived from a combination of Anglo-Saxon and Latin words also implicating to page worship. Many fairy tales and children's stories are about people making wishes involving rites and incantations such as witchcraft. The word "wish" is used in the Bible, but is merely a poor translation from the original language. For example, the following verses in corresponding translations:

The words translated "wish" more often had been better translated "desire" or "pray for". To have a wish, then, implies lustful, foolish, vain (empty) desire. In contract, "hope" by its definition has strength and greater expectation of the desired objective. The Bible associates "hope" with "faith".

In the Hebrew letter faith is defined: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". The key word is "substance"! Faith is the "foundation rock" of "hope". Faith, or believe, is nothing without reason or trust. For example, a bank loans money to an individual in good faith hoping for timely repayment based upon a trust established upon the past record of an individual's income and repayment history. Faith in God's work follows the same pattern. Trust in God is based upon the evidence of past experience one has with God. One cannot have "faith" or "hope" without knowledge.

Living hope is the hope of life, eternal life, the only real life. Peter wrote in his first epistle, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (or living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." When one is born again, they experience new life; a life different than before. A living hope is placed within a regenerated person's soul. That "hope" is Jesus Christ. The new life is the life of Jesus abiding, or living within the person regenerated. The hope is in the resurrection of the dead. The verse note on the scripture above by A.T. Robertson states: "The Pharisees cherished the hope of the resurrection (Acts 23:6), but the resurrection of Jesus gave it proof and permanence (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17). It is no longer a dead hope like dead faith (James 2:17,26). This revival of hope was wrought "by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" ( | dia anastaseôs | ). Hope rose up with Christ From the dead, though the disciples (Peter included) were slow at first to believe it."

Do you have living hope? If so, your hope is in Jesus Christ by faith or trust, not by something you have seen but through an internal, spiritual working of God in your soul. You are looking for the same thing many others have before, the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus Christ and the promise of God.

On the other hand, if you do not have an abiding presence of God in your soul there will be a sense of emptiness, hollowness, no hope. If you do not have a God-given confidence of eternal life then all you have is wishful thinking.

Brother Steve Perrigo
An Ordained Baptist Minister

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