“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…” Ephesians 1:18 (see also Colossians 1:5; 1 Peter 3:15). God has called us to a hope (Ephesians 4:4; Hebrews 7:18-19). This hope is not just wishful thinking. It is a certain hope, a sure expectation – a “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3). This hope is one of the three essential ingredients to the Christian life (1 Corinthians 13:13) for it provides the perspective for our walk with God (Psalm 31:24; Romans 15:4).
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” Romans 5:5.
In Christ, we have a marvellous hope (Proverbs 23:18; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 John 3:2-3). The Bible lists a number of things which make up our hope. These include:
- The return of Jesus (Titus 2:13).
- The resurrection of our bodies (1 Corinthians 15:19-22; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Phil.3:20-21).
- A new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13).
- Eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:4-7).
- The full glory of God (Colossians 1:27).
This hope produces in us the richness of all that God intends for the Christian life (read Romans 5:1-5):
- Faith and love (Colossians 1:5; Galatians 5:5).
- Joy and peace (Romans 15:13).
- Boldness (2 Corinthians 3:12).
- Strength (Isaiah 40:31).
- Encouragement (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
- Patience and endurance (Rom.8:24-25; 1 Thess.1:3).
- Self-control (Titus 2:12-13).
- Godliness and holiness (2 Peter 3:10-12).
- Purity (2 Peter 3:14; 1 John 3:2-3).
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” Hebrews 6:19 (read also verse 18; 10:23).
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame…” Hebrews 12:2.
Jesus is the example of hope in action. He was able to endure the Cross because of “the joy set before him.” Hope not only results in joy (Proverbs 10:28) but also is the sure knowledge of future joy (Rom.12:12). But hope is not just about the future. There is another ingredient that works with hope – faith (Gal.5:5; Heb.11:1). The difficulties we face are called “trials of our faith.” Many time s problems seem so big that we cannot see anything beyond them. But when we see our hope clearly, we can have faith in the midst of our trials. And this faith produces the hope we long for (James 1:2 -4).
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine and may res ult in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (read also verses 3-5; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; James 1:12).
The Focus of our Hope
Although we are told to live one day at a time, the Christian life needs a wider perspective in order to function properly. There are two kinds of perspectives we can have:
The wrong perspective
“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their g lory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things” Philippians 3:18-19.
Some Christians have the same perspective that the world has. Their eyes are on worldly status, comfort and wealth.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God…” 1 Timothy 6:17.
The right perspective
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” Philippians 3:20-21.
The perspective which God wants us to have is the perspective of heaven itself: that this world is temporary (Psalm 37:1-2; Isaiah 40:6-8). This is because we see beyond the immediate problems to God ‘s overall plan for our lives (read 2 Cor.4:18; Col.3:1-4). The secret to walking in the perspective of heaven is to have our eyes set on the right things (Prov.4:25-27). The Bible says that the focu s of our hope is the Lord Jesus Himself.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2.
Strangers on the Earth
“We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience i nherit what has been promised” Hebrews 6:11-12.
Hebrews 11 provides us with many examples of those who lived in hope – Noah (verse 7), Abraham (verses 8-10; Romans 4:18-21) and Moses (verses 24-26). One verse summarizes the whole of their perspect ive:
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth” Hebrews 11:13.
In Christ, we are no longer strangers to God (Eph.2:19), but now we are strangers to the world (1 Peter 2:11). The heroes of faith are watching on as we now live in hope (Heb.12:1). Like them, we are looking forward to the city that is to come (Heb.13:14; 11:10,14-16; 12:22-23). This is our glorious hope!
“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.