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Bible verses about Hope
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Ecclesiastes 3:11

God has endowed us with the sense of the future and with a curiosity about what goes on beyond the grave: Is there life beyond the grave? Do we have immortality? Is this life all there is? He has made man with the capacity to think about these matters. Unfortunately, as Solomon says, nobody can figure out what He is doing. Without vision, people perish (Proverbs 29:18); without revelation, people cast off restraint—they go off the path.

"They do not know what He is doing from the beginning" does not refer to what He is doing in His creative acts but the purpose of life. His purpose has been revealed to us that we might have the same hope that God has for us: to share all eternity with Him and live as He does. If we have caught the vision and understand what the resurrection is—the doorway through which we step to continue in all of its fulness the kind of life that God has already introduced to us and we have begun to put into practice—we realize that we will be able to continue as His companions, His children for all eternity. This is what the resurrection represents!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Resurrection From the Dead


 

Luke 7:13-15

First, He knows all the specifics of the case. His disciples see only a funeral as they pass, but He understands the circumstances of the corpse stretched out in the coffin. He knows that the deceased is a young man, the only son of his mother, and that she is a widow!

Second, He does not wait for anyone to plead with Him. Isaiah prophesies of this in Isaiah 65:1: "I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me" (as quoted in Romans 10:20). Sometimes, before we call for help, He answers—what a special blessing that is (Isaiah 65:24; Daniel 9:20-23).

Third, when He sees the widowed mother, He has "compassion on her." Christ's concern is apparent in His expression of His mercy and tenderness.

Fourth, He says to her, "Do not weep," to provide comfort and encourage her.

Fifth, Jesus is not pretentious when He touches the coffin, but in humility He offers hope (Jeremiah 17:7). The widow thinks that all hope is gone, but even these dire circumstances are not enough to remove the hope found in Christ (Lamentations 3:26). Christ also shows great tenderness when "He present[s] him to his mother."

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Raising a Widow's Son


 

Luke 24:13-21

Luke 24 contains a noteworthy episode that occurred immediately after Christ's resurrection. It becomes even more interesting in light of a Christian living after his own symbolic resurrection, baptism. Once we commit our lives to God, we are supposed to "walk the walk." We are supposed to "walk with God" and "walk with Jesus Christ." The two men described in Luke 24 literally do this just hours after the resurrection.

Luke emphasizes the fact that movement was taking place. Reading this centuries later, we can apply it to life itself. Our life is not a static process; our lives "move" from the moment of birth to the time God calls us and we are converted and then to our last breath. When we die, we stop "walking." However, from the time of our calling, we do not walk alone—God is with us. He leads and guides us by His Spirit. He convicts us of things that will be important for His spiritual creation and for our salvation. Once this process of conviction begins, we repent and are converted. God comes to live in us by means of His Spirit—then we really are "walking with Christ." We have Christ in us!

Are we walking with Him or not?

In Luke 24, He was literally with them, walking right beside them. And they did not recognize Him (verses 15-16)! Luke specifically says "their eyes were restrained."

Even someone who had associated with Christ for a fairly long period of time, possibly even the full length of His ministry, could fail to see. We have to realize that they did not expect to see. Humans see what they expect to see. People see what they want to see and are educated to see. Unless a person makes the effort to be discerning, to think consciously about other aspects of what he is looking at, it is likely that he will not see.

Christians must consciously process the truths that they receive from God as they are involved in the circumstances of their walk with Christ. We might be walking with Christ, and He is there walking beside us, but we do not see Him. This can happen if we fail to identify the circumstances that we are experiencing in our lives with Him. The spiritual, not perceived with the five senses, is often overlooked!

So, were these disciples "blinded"? One might think so but for what Jesus Himself says in verse 25: "Then He said to them, 'O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!'"

The Greek word rendered "fool," anoeetos, means "inconsiderate" in its original sense: They failed to consider or think! Another definition is "to reason improperly." It is very similar to the Hebrew nabal of the Old Testament. Jesus is telling them that they are not properly applying their minds. His rebuke also carries with it a moral reproach, describing "one who does not govern his mind."

When we read Christ's next rebuke, it becomes crystal clear that they simply did not believe! Even though they had been taught, they did not believe the things that appeared in the Old Testament describing the Messiah and His resurrection. They did not see the Christ, who stood right next to them, because they did not expect to see Him! Thus, Christ not only calls them "fools," suggesting that He expected them to be able to identify Him, but He also calls them "slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken," which intensifies His judgment that they were not spiritually alert. Thus, He feels it necessary to teach them the basics once again (verses 26-27).

In verse 21, the two men are in the midst of giving their explanation of the events of the preceding week to Christ. They say, "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel." Their hope was really nothing more than a wish. It is significant that their response mentions nothing about having their trust in Him. The reason for this is that they were not using their faith or belief. A wide gulf separates "hoping" and "trusting." While hoping may consist of just a desire for something, trusting requires a person to believe confidently, make choices, and patiently endure.

When these two disciples finally saw Jesus, when they perceived who was with them, everything that they had experienced—including the crucifixion and resurrection—made sense (verses 31-32). The point is this: If we see God working in our lives, then everything God is doing with us will begin to "come together." It may not happen all at once as with these men, but if we can see God involved in the circumstances of our lives as we walk with Jesus Christ, then it will give shape and form to our lives in a way that we would never have otherwise! Things will make sense, and we will see them in their proper perspective.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part Two)


 

John 10:1-4

The sheep, like the lover in Song of Songs 2:14, know the voice because they know the Shepherd and trust Him. They trust His voice. In it, they hear safety, security, sustenance, joy, hope, encouragement, love, warmth, and correction that does not turn them aside. The voice is the effective means of communication between Christ and us. The voice not only identifies, but it also communicates concepts to us that reveal both character and emotion.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 4)


 

Romans 3:20

To be justified means to have our past sins forgiven and to have righteousness imputed to us. The apostle is saying that there is no way anyone can receive forgiveness of past sins by obeying the law. Present obedience does not do anything to wash away past iniquity. There has to be some other manner for sinners to receive forgiveness of past sins if they are to have hope of entering God's Kingdom.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Saved By Faith Alone?


 

Romans 5:1-5

"Hope" appears three times in these verses, and it is tied to justification and the doors that open to us. In verse 2, hope motivates us to rejoice that we can look forward in positive expectation of God's glory! What an awesome opening that is to us! It is not the glory of a perfect human or even of angels, but of God! This is so hard for us to imagine because it almost sounds blasphemous. Is it any wonder that Christians can be optimistic about life in the face of all the evil we are aware of? The goal is so great that it is worth more than all the burden of being human, dealing with our sins and the repercussions of others' sins.

Our hope does not disappoint or bring us to shame because it is based in the reality of God and His promises. The common hopes of man may or may not come to pass because they are fragile and frail at best and in many cases utterly false. Yet, the believer's hope is no fantasy because it is firmly anchored in the person and promises of the Creator God.

As mentioned earlier, the activity of God among us produces hope. This is drawn in part from verses 3-4, where Paul says that trials, borne while God is part of our lives, produces perseverance, character, and hope. Because of this hope a person is never embarrassed through failure because God, who is our hope, never fails. God loves us, and He communicates His love to us through His instruction, fellowship, and discipline. Through these, we come to know Him and His faithfulness. As our admiration for Him grows, these things motivate us to purify ourselves to be like Him (I John 3:1-2).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Romans 8:19-22

The apostle says here that God pronounced the curse on the creation "in hope" of "the revealing of the sons of God," which would release it "from the bondage of corruption." God designed the curse on Adam to enhance man's chance to enter His Family! God would rather have done it another way—through His guidance in the Garden of Eden—but since Adam and Eve chose rebellion, He designed Adam's curse to reach the same end by a different means: hard toil, struggle, and eventual death!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The First Prophecy (Part Three)


 

Romans 8:24

It is fairly easy to understand that, once we have what we desire, we no longer have to hope for it. As a hope fulfilled, we do not need that longing or desire for it anymore. Right now, we do not have what we are hoping for in its fullness. We have a vision of it, and that vision may not be very clear, but we can see it and believe in it. However, we need to focus mainly on how important Paul says this is: We are saved by it. But are we not saved by grace through faith? Yes, we are!

That is ultimately how salvation comes, but God is not merely trying to save us. Saving us is the easy part. The more difficult part is to achieve the fullness of His purpose for each one of us, which is for us to be created in His image. For that to occur, our cooperation is required. We will not cooperate unless we are hoping in the right thing. If we are not hoping in what God wants us to hope for, we will begin heading in a different direction. If we have a different vision, we will go off the path God has set us on. Having the right hope is absolutely essential.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Resurrection From the Dead


 

Romans 8:25

Hope is important because it plays a major role in salvation. Hope is a powerful motivator. What we love, we pay attention to, and if we hope to get something from what we love, our hope will motivate us in that direction. Hope influences us either to take or not to take certain actions, depending upon what we hope for. We will generally do all that we can to make sure that what we hope for happens the way that we foresee it happening. If we hope something does not happen, we generally do what we can to see that it does not happen. Hope motivates us to move in a certain direction and to do certain things.

What if we hope for something that is beyond our immediate control? We will still pray that what we hope for will happen. If there is nothing else we can do, we will still pray. That is how powerful hope is. It will make us do things even subconsciously, bending us in a certain direction because our hope is so strong. At the very least, even if we do not pray, we will at least wish, fret, and worry about it until something is resolved. Our hopes, whether we are conscious of them or not, are constantly playing on our mind.

Hope is usually defined as a longing, a desire, or an expectation of fulfillment. It can be passive or intensely active. It can be for evil or for good. It is vitally important that we have the right hope because the Bible says, that along with faith and love, it is one of the three timeless and enduring eternal values. There will never be a time in eternity when hope is not on our minds! Think about that! It is that important.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Resurrection From the Dead


 

Romans 15:12-13

The apostle reveals that our hope derives from our calling through the New Covenant and finds its ultimate source in God. Yet, God is more than the source of our hope: He is our hope. In verse 12, Isaiah refers to Him as the object of our hope. In Haggai 2:7, He is called "the Desire of All Nations," and in Romans 15:13, Paul calls Him "the God of hope," that is, hope's source.

Without God, we and this world have no hope except the normal desires common to the unconverted, things like filling our bellies, getting a good sleep, satisfying our eyes and ears, experiencing thrills and excitement, and accumulating money, power, and possessions. None of these is intrinsically evil, but God wants our hopes to be exceedingly higher. Verse 13 supplies a major condition to having this high quality of hope and thus the motivation it provides—believing. Remember, faith undergirds all the elements of motivation, and thus they clarify why living faith produces growth of fruit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Romans 15:13

Could we call ourselves out of spiritual Egypt? Can we forgive ourselves through our works? Can we give ourselves the Holy Spirit? Can we give ourselves the gifts needed to achieve God's purpose? Do we begin to see that it is He who should be our hope? Everything, including hope, flows from this real, literal, personal Being with whom we must develop a relationship so that we truly know Him.

Jesus utters a great profundity when He says that "eternal life is to know God" (John 17:3). It is profound because this God—Jesus' God—is God, and He can fulfill His promises. Promises are not worth a thing, not even the paper they are written on, except for the holiness, the power, and the integrity of the one who gives them. Can God be trusted? If He can, we can have hope. Our hope is in Him. If we put our trust in the promises, we are putting our hope in the wrong place because they are just added benefits.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Perseverance and Hope


 

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

In I Corinthians 13, the Bible reveals love's supreme importance to life. Paul directly compares love's value to faith, hope, prophecy, sacrifice, knowledge, and the gift of tongues and indirectly with all other gifts of God mentioned in chapter 12. He in no way denigrates the others' usefulness to life and God's purpose, but none can compare in importance to love.

The Corinthians took great pleasure in their gifts, just as we would, but a gift's relative importance is shown in its temporal quality. That is, there are times when a gift is of no use. But love will never end; it will always be of use.

Indeed, the receiving of gifts from God - unless accompanied by and used with love - have the potential to corrupt the one receiving them. God's gifts are powers given to enhance a person's ability to serve God in the church. However, we have all heard the cliché, "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." If gifts are not received and used with love, they will play a part in corrupting the recipient, just as they were corrupting the Corinthians. Love is the attribute of God that enables us to receive and use His gifts without corruption.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Love


 

1 Corinthians 13:13

Here, Paul lists hope as one of the "big three" virtues of Christianity. Whereas faith is the foundation on which the other two stand, and love is the object because it enables us to communicate, interact properly, and unite, hope is the quality that motivates, providing energy by keeping us in anticipation of greater and better things to come.

Hope, as used in Scripture, is not difficult to define. It appears as both a noun and verb, and conveys the absolute certainty of future good. I Corinthians 13:13 lists it with those things that remain, abide, or continue. In other words, even in the Kingdom of God, we will always be eagerly looking forward to some blessing or accomplishment as age upon age unfolds before us. This will occur because God's revelation never ends, as He Himself is an inexhaustible resource.

Ephesians 2:12 adds another dimension to Christian hope. ". . . that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." Our hope is uniquely Christian because no other religion, no other way of life, can give its adherents a certain hope. Why? First, even though other religions may be moral in their teachings, they speak only from man's experiences. Second, their god is not living the life of God. Third, they have no expectation of the Messiah and all it implies.

The Bible leaves no doubt that our hope is a direct result of God's calling: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling" (Ephesians 4:4). Paul clearly links our hope with our calling, which is God's summons into His presence so that we may have a relationship with Him. In the context of the first paragraph of Ephesians 4, the implication is that this hope is a factor that unites us into one body. Our calling is an end to pessimism, negativity, and despair and the beginning of a confident, bright, and optimistic life filled with endless possibilities because this unique hope gives positive expectancy to life here and now and beyond the grave as well.

All men have hope occasionally, and some frequently seem hopeful. Many peoples' hope changes as often as the weather. The frequent fluctuations of the stock market indices often indicate investors' up-and-down confidence and hope about the future. Yet, our hope can be taken to higher level altogether because Christians can have continuous hope. Our hope is not a "mere flash in the pan."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

1 Corinthians 13:13

Paul penned these immortal words, which one commentator called "the eternal trinity": faith, hope, and love. We continuously need these three factors, which is what "abide" implies. Our need for them never ends; we need them throughout life, every day without end. We live by faith, and the other two are directly connected to faith. They are, in fact, the three building blocks of a successful, abundant life. They are inextricably bound, tied to our relationship with God, and they are the qualities that make us run or work correctly.

Think of it this way. We are God's invention. He built us, and as our manufacturer, He designed us to function and produce. Automobiles run on gasoline. They do what they do because of the way they were designed and built, and they move only when fueled by gasoline. Movement is a key here: We run—move—on faith, hope, and love. These qualities nourish us, giving us strength to function as God intends. Every living human being, or who has ever lived, was intended to function by these qualities, but only the faith, hope, and love that comes from God will work to produce true success.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Perseverance and Hope


 

1 Corinthians 15:1-8

As he opens this chapter, Paul's clear purpose is to show that the hope God has placed before us is not based on men's guesses or possibilities, but on the testimony of many eyewitnesses then yet living when he wrote this in the AD 50s. Paul adds that he did not make up the gospel, but it was what he received from Christ, and what he received was exactly the same as what he had later been told by the apostles when he met with them in Jerusalem. Paul is presenting the resurrection of Christ as a historical fact.

We also have available to us the witness of the apostles' lives following the resurrection. Now, people just do not do the things the apostles did without believing what they saw with their own eyes with all their heart. Thus, in the first eight verses Paul reinforces what Peter says in II Peter 1:16-21, that there is plenty of strong evidence of the proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is not a figment of these men's imaginations. It really did occur, and God did not provide a mere two or three witnesses, but hundreds of them to the fact of the resurrection of the dead.

Paul establishes that our hope is resurrection into the Kingdom of God. However, we must take this hope one step farther if we want to make it a motivating force. The resurrection is, in one sense, merely a promised event given at a point in time. It does not occur merely because we believe it, or even because it has been promised. It occurs because of Who promised it. It occurs because there is a powerful Being of utmost integrity, who cannot lie and who will make it occur. This is where our hope must be, not in what He has promised, but rather Who has promised it. Is our faith in God? So must our hope be in God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Perseverance and Hope


 

1 Corinthians 15:57-58

"Victory" is from the same Greek root as the word translated "overcomes" so many times in Revelation 2 and 3. Overcoming is being victorious over the pull of human nature against God in the self, Satan, and this world that tries to keep us from entering God's Kingdom.

Paul also exhorts us to be "always abounding in the work of the Lord." His work is creating. Then, by using the words "your labor," the apostle draws our attention to our responsibilities. Our labor is whatever energies and sacrifices it takes to yield to the Lord so He can do His work. Scripture refers to God several times as the Potter, and we are the clay He is shaping. The difference between us and earthy clay is that the clay God is working is alive—having a mind and will of its own, it can choose to resist or yield.

Following initial repentance, finding the motivation to use our faith to yield to Him in labor, not just agreeing mentally, is perhaps most important of all. Real living faith motivates conduct in agreement with God's purpose. Clearly, God's purpose is that we grow or change to become as much like Him in this life as time allows.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Ephesians 2:12

Notice two important factors he links to hope in Ephesians 2:12. First, in the time before God called the Ephesian Gentiles into a relationship with Him, they were "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise."

The commonwealth of Israel could be either the nation or the church because under the Old Covenant ancient Israel established a relationship with God, received a small measure of His promises, and possessed the hope of the Messiah. However, the primary meaning here is the church; those who have made the New Covenant with God are the Israel of God and a holy nation (Galatians 6:16; I Peter 2:9). The New Covenant contains God's confirmed promises—confirmed in the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah, Christ Jesus.

Being part of ancient Israel under the Old Covenant did not give a person access to many promises that would have given him reason to hope. The Old Covenant promised no forgiveness of sin, no access to God, no promise of the Holy Spirit, and no promise of eternal and everlasting life, all of which we have. We have continuing, never-ending hopes because the New Covenant ensures a continuous relationship. Our relationship necessarily involves the other part of Ephesians 2:12: Before our calling, we were also without God in the world. Our hope is not merely in the fact that we have made a covenant, but more importantly, with whom we made it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Ephesians 4:1-6

The part we have to play is to walk worthy of our calling, and as the apostle goes on to say, our calling is to be one: one body, one spirit, one faith, one baptism, one hope, just as we have one Lord and one Father. We are to be one bride of Christ. He is not a polygamist; He will not marry many brides but one united bride.

We in the church can be disunified if we fail to practice verses 2 and 3: Without lowliness (humility), without gentleness (meekness), without longsuffering (forebearance or patient endurance), without love and peace, we will never have unity. As long as we are proud, easily angered and offended, jump on every little thing, lack patience, and treat each other hatefully—as long as we cause strife—there will never be unity. Even with all that God does (I Corinthians 1:4-9), it will not happen. He will not force unity upon us if we show that we do not want it. The natural order of things is that we will disunify further if we fail to show Him that we are working toward it. So, without these virtues, even with God deluging us with His Spirit, we will not have unity.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 133


 

Ephesians 4:4

Paul clearly links our hope with our calling, which is God's summons into His presence so that we may have a relationship with Him. In the context of the first paragraph of Ephesians 4, the implication is that this hope is a factor that unites us into one body. Our calling is an end to pessimism, negativity, and despair and the beginning of a confident, bright, and optimistic life filled with endless possibilities because this unique hope gives positive expectancy to life here and now and beyond the grave as well.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Ephesians 6:17

The helmet protects the head, the part of the body most vital to quality of life. It is the thinking part where choices and judgments are made, where attitudes reside and surge forth in conduct. It is the part that holds knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and memories of life's experiences, that determines the kind of life we lead. It is that part where Satan aims most of his fiery darts.

In this metaphor, hope is not an offensive weapon but a defense; it is a motivator to protect us from losing sight of the glorious end of God's purpose. Why? The only thing that can really defeat and destroy us is for us to give up. Jesus says in His Olivet prophecy, "But he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 24:13). Hope's fruit is not just an optimistic and positive outlook but also the drive to persevere, to endure come what may, to propel one forward. Only the hopeful will do this. The hopeless will give up.

So powerful is hope's action that Paul says in Romans 8:24-25 that we are saved by it! "For we are 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." This in no way conflicts with his declaration in Ephesians 2:8 that we are "saved by grace through faith," because both faith and hope are necessary for salvation. Faith primarily operates in the present as visible evidence of things hoped for but not yet seen. Hope, though it is also operating in the present, primarily does so with reference to the future. Paul then says that, if a person has hope, he is motivated to wait patiently for what he hopes to see. The hopeful are motivated to endure whatever it takes to receive what they hope for.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

1 Thessalonians 4:13

What follows this verse is the instruction regarding the return of Jesus Christ at the seventh trump.

So, where in the grand scheme of things is AD 50, the date of Paul's writing of this epistle? It is a mere nineteen years after Christ's death and resurrection, and He has not returned yet. It is a topic of hot conversation in the fellowship of the people of the church of God. Some are beginning to worry; some are beginning to feel that it is taken too long. Their hope is being deferred.

So, Paul has to write them, instructing them about the return of Jesus Christ, and to exhort them to get their hope back on track!

John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ


 

1 Timothy 1:1

Jesus Christ is our hope because He is at the foundation of our earnest yearning, our confident expectation, and our patient endurance for salvation. He is both the Source and the Object of these qualities.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Perseverance and Hope


 

Titus 2:13

The thrust of Paul's exhortation is to encourage us to quit looking back with longing to the world and our former lives and to live in the present with our minds focused with eager and active expectation on our Savior's return. If we are doing these things, we are preparing for that future great event. Eagerly anticipating the imminent fulfillment of our earnest desire for Christ's return motivates us to modify our conduct in the present evil world.

If we do not have this glorious hope in us, we will very likely just drift around, squandering our time in useless, trivial, but perhaps exciting carnal pursuits. We will fail to use the grace of God toward growing in His image and producing fruit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Five Teachings of Grace


 

Hebrews 6:13-20

It has been said that the quality of a person's hope is the measure of any man. Abraham's hope is the illustration here. By this estimation, he was a great man because one cannot possibly hope in anything greater! In Romans 4:18, Paul says of Abraham, ". . . who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations." His hope was so strong that, in spite of having no physical reason to hope for descendants through Sarah because she was beyond childbearing years, he nonetheless hoped to the end. When Isaac was born, his hope was vindicated because he had placed his hope in God.

The writer's hope for the Hebrews is for the better things that accompany salvation. Better than what? The context of the chapter shows he feared they were falling away. He desires them to have the full assurance of hope to the end or, put another way, the full development of hope. Why? So that they will overcome the lassitude he detects in them and begin carrying out their Christian responsibilities.

He wanted them to be diligent and in earnest about their responsibilities to God in heaven all the way to the end—to be fully, spiritually, enthusiastically energized in going about their Father's business. They were on the verge of aimlessly drifting away. No longer were they thinking much about the hope that once burned in their minds and drove them on. Other interests and concerns had pushed the thrilling excitement of our great hope aside in mundane pursuits. Our minds must be systematically refreshed with study and meditation on our hope, or we will fall into the same spiritual torpor the Hebrews did. A movement, ideal, or visionary dream that does not inspire hope will not grip the hearts of people to give themselves in sacrifice and accomplishment.

The Hebrews were going through a hardship that is never fully explained. Whatever it was, through it they had regressed from a higher spiritual level. Oftentimes, we can do little but endure our hardships patiently. We simply cannot change much in this world, and it does us well to accept what we cannot change with hopeful resignation (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14). Patient endurance is in itself a worthy work because it is at least an exercise of self-control.

In America, government officials are sworn into their positions, promising to uphold the office and the laws of the land. We become dismayed because over time so many of them break their vows. Governments promise that their money is good; banks, that their customers' savings are safe, stockbrokers, that their counsel is sound; and insurance companies, that their policyholders will receive their due. These assurances fail all too often in bankruptcy or fraud. After enduring a number of these failures or observing others experience them, we become skeptical, perhaps even cynical.

Our hope, however, is in a Being and a government whose promises are absolutely faithful because it is impossible for Him to lie. Our hopes do not lie in our courage, intelligence, or even the finest of human qualities but in God's promises. He assures us in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

The danger the Hebrews faced is unknown, but whether or not we consciously recognize it, we, like the Hebrews, are in danger. We may not be in a physical danger—threatened by religious martyrdom, imprisonment, disease, or great loss of income—but we face spiritual dangers. With its manifold temptations and distractions, the world is constantly pressing in on us to turn us out of the way. Our human nature inclines us not to see things from God's perspective. Our pride seduces us. Our passions, tempers, and other weaknesses trip us up, causing failure and despair. What does a person do when he realizes he is in danger? Does he not make for safety as quickly as he can?

That is precisely the advice of Hebrews 6:18: ". . . by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope that is set before us." The author may have had the Israelite cities of refuge in mind as he wrote this (Numbers 35). They were places of safety for those who killed another accidentally. Yet, the killer's only hope was to get to a city of refuge before the avenger of blood got to him! The refuge for those in the Hebrews' spiritual condition involves hope. The Greek word translated "set before" pictures hope lying before us like some inviting treat for us to take.

These people were in danger of falling away through their lethargic, lukewarm, careless, and lazy reaction to life and what it dealt them, yet they possessed the greatest hope a human could possibly entertain! As time passed, it had blurred in their minds almost to non-existence. They were forgetting it!

The author then describes hope as an anchor for our lives. Even as an anchor keeps a ship from drifting onto the rocks, hope keeps us from idly drifting to our spiritual destruction. Hope keeps us safe. It is a major stabilizing force for the whole of life because it has hold of something that does not move despite the tempests around us. Our hope is anchored in Jesus Christ, who as High Priest has entered in our behalf into the heavenly Holy of Holies beyond the veil. Though His blood justifies us, His life saves us. Because He lives, intercedes for us, and watches over our lives to bring us into the Father's Kingdom, we have hope.

Hope motivates, and its primary function is to enable us to endure. We know that our wonderful goal is sure because our hope is in God, who is absolute and all-powerful. If we are to be saved, the means to fulfill this must come from God. The relationship established through God's calling, Christ's sacrifice, and our making of the New Covenant with Him provides that means. Now we must do all we can to fulfill our part of the relationship.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Hebrews 6:18-19

Here hope is seen as being external. Even though we carry the thought, the understanding, the knowledge of it in our own minds, and it appears to be internal, it is actually external to those who have it. Our hope is something that we flee to for refuge, and this hope has entered behind the veil for us.

This kind of hope, which is used more frequently in the Bible than internal hope, is seen as what stirs us and produces the hope within. This kind of hope is what the Christian's hope—the object, the concept, the idea, the fact—is in. For instance, our hope can be in God or in Jesus or in salvation, as Scripture may say. It can be in God's promises, His Word, eternal life, His steadfast love, His grace, the resurrection from the dead, and sharing the glory of God. Our internal hope is motivated by these aspects of the external hope.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

Hebrews 11:1

Faith is the confidence we have in possessing the things we hope for because of the promises of God. Faithfulness is adhering unswervingly to God and His covenant. To be faithful we need to be loyal (steadfastly affectionate and allegiant to God), conscientious (scrupulous in doing God's will), dedicated (zealously devoted to God), and truthful (true to God's Word and standard of righteousness).

Martin G. Collins
Faithfulness


 

Hebrews 11:1

In the phrase "faith is the substance of things hoped for," Paul is not really defining what faith is, but rather he is showing what faith does in an operative sense: Faith undergirds what we hope for. Substance means "that which stands under." Faith is the foundation for what we hope, the foundation for our relationship with God and everything that it implies within His purpose. Faith is the very beginning of everything that really matters spiritually.

By saying that it is the "evidence" or "assurance" (the word can literally be translated "title deed," but "assurance" seems to be the best all-around word) of things hoped for, the author comes much closer to defining what faith is. In its simplest form, faith is merely belief. As our understanding becomes more complex and operative, when we begin to put faith to work, it becomes "confidence," and finally, in its best form, when it becomes fully operational, it is "trust." This trust, this full measure of faith, is alive and works within our relationship with God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Pre-Passover Look


 

1 Peter 1:1-5

First, Peter reminds us who we are. The term "elect" is the very ground of our comfort because it means (when connected to the foreknowledge of God) that God knows us personally. A lot of people would like to know that the President of the United States knows them personally, but God knows us!

Some like it to be known that they are known by some person they respect very highly. Whether the person is a millionaire or a billionaire, a well-known athlete or entertainer, or somebody well known in the area, people like to drop names. Peter says if there is any name you want to drop, drop God's. He knows you!

Before God called us, He watched our lives because He wanted to make sure that we would be able to work with Him and that He would not lose us. He is sure that with His help we can make it. He can prepare us for whatever He has in store for us.

That is the ground of our hope. God knows us, and because of this, He will do things for us. He is in the position to do them. All He has to do is give the word. God can open any door anywhere for us. And He will do what is right for us.

Peter goes on in verse 3 to say that He is the Author of an act of mercy by which He has given us a sure hope of being brought into our inheritance. Even though we may have to go through sore trial, it can be done! God has not given us something impossible to do. He has begotten us again to a living hope.

Our hope is living because Jesus Christ is alive! He is our High Priest. And He loves us in a way that we cannot even begin to understand. He loves us so much that He gave His life for us. He loves us so much that He is willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we will be in His Kingdom. We have access to the highest of all places. We have friends who have names and power so awesome that there is nothing greater.

We do not need to fear what is coming because God is able to bring us through it. If we had to face it ourselves alone, there would be no hope for us.

The apostle calls our inheritance "incorruptible" (verse 4). The contrast is being made between Canaan or Palestine and the Kingdom of God. Which is better?

Lastly, it is "undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation." Kept can easily be translated "guarded," "surrounded," "hedged in." God is watching out for us in a way that He is not watching out for this world. Because we are the apple of His eye, and because He is preparing us for something, Jesus Christ will faithfully discharge His duties as High Priest in our behalf. He is guarding us—protecting us—from the worst of what is going on around us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic


 

1 Peter 1:1-4

The major theme of I Peter is to strengthen the feeble knees, as it is put in Hebrews 12:12, of his brothers and sisters in Christ who were buckling under the weight of their Christian burdens, whatever they happened to be. At the very beginning of this strong exhortation, then, he reminds them of their hope.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Resurrection From the Dead


 

1 Peter 1:3

The strength of our hope rises or falls on how dependable we perceive our expectation to be. The reasons we believe our expectation to be dependable are thus decisive to whether we will be motivated.

Ours is a living hope because Jesus Christ and the Father are alive. They exert sovereign control, and They cannot lie. Because our hope is revealed, grounded, sustained, and directed by God, we can know that all things work together for good for those who are the called and love God (Romans 8:28). Our hope, then, should not be ephemeral wishes or dreams based on wishy-washy sentimentality, but the solid realities of God and His Word. Our hope flows from an inexhaustible Source, and therefore no trial should ever quench our optimism for future good. Hope is our response to His work in us expressed in trust, patience, endurance, and eagerness to continue.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

1 Peter 1:13

Peter refers to a motivating, emotional quality within one expecting success or good. Hope is a motivating, emotional, internal quality.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

1 Peter 1:13-16

The apostle Peter provides the practical implications of this wonderful hope. Hope can go to work for us and do wonders. God's calling and purpose are certainly wonderful, but He does not intend that they set us off on a daydream. Peter is declaring a call to arms: "Pull yourself together!" "Roll up your sleeves!" "Give hard thought and wrestle with the practical implications of salvation."

Remember that the church is the community where God's truth is taken seriously, and His mind is being formed in its members. To paraphrase and expand, Peter is saying, "Look, brothers, we should not be superficial about this. Keep cool. Do not be impetuous. Avoid excesses. Live a plain life. Work hard, but set your hope in God's grace, not in your own willpower.

"Remember always that your obedience is to a gracious Person, not to a coldly calculating judge or to society. Holiness is not sanctimoniousness. It is being separated for a special purpose by special instructions and discipline. We have been called to perform a unique purpose. We have been called to glorify God by our lives as a witness to all who observe, and at the same time being prepared for His Kingdom. God wants us to have a passionate love for goodness, so in your mind give Him a unique place.

"Do not fear the enemy, as we would Christ. Use your hope to think about Him, His power, justice, wisdom, goodness, truth, omnipotence, and omniscience. Remember always that He has wisdom without error, power without limit, love without hatred. Our hope is in One who is great in every respect. Quit thinking of God in fleshly terms. He is not a limited man nor even a superman. He is GOD! He is with us, and so who can permanently harm us? Concentrate on being completely devoted to Him, and if we do this, we have every reason to hope. God is not a man that He should lie. His promises are sure."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

1 Peter 1:20-21

All of our hope resides in our election, added to the fact that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. The resurrection is the proof that we have hope, and since He lives at the right hand of God, He will discharge His duties as High Priest in our behalf. If hope is in us, it will invigorate us to action, strengthen our will, and give us courage and perseverance to endure.

Hope gives reason and substance to faith so that love can be produced. Thus, we can hope without futility. Hope is essential because man can remember, and what we remember is mostly bad, producing cynicism, scorn, and sarcasm. Man can also think spatially and anticipate and plan for a positive future. Yet, without a reasonable expectation of success, what good is education or experiencing the hard knocks of life? What good is preparing for receiving the future God promises? This is one of man's gravest problems today. He sees many problems but few correct answers; he feels he is being boxed into a corner without any reasonable hope for winning free. It is as if he has entered the proverbial dark tunnel, but no light flickers ahead.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

1 Peter 4:1-6

The apostle is speaking about the efficacy of Christ's suffering and death in making possible a relationship between God and human beings. His conclusion, beginning in I Peter 4:1-2, is that, since Christ suffered so much to bring this about, Christians should respond by "ceas[ing] from sin" and living "for the will of God."

This means, of course, that in doing so, we no longer live as we used to, like the "Gentiles," like the world (verse 3). Seeing this, our friends who are still in the world wonder why our lives have changed so drastically, and they are likely to malign us for it (verse 4). But we need not worry because God, the just Judge, will bring them into account for their abuses of us (verse 5). In verse 6, he winds up his discussion by providing a general example to give us hope in this regard. He explains that the gospel had been preached in the past to people who are now dead, and even though their contemporaries may have judged them worthy to suffer persecution and death, God, conversely, has judged them worthy of eternal life. He implies that God would do the same for us.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jesus and 'the Spirits in Prison'


 

2 Peter 2:9

Peter clearly understands that Satan is somewhere in the picture, and he wants us to be encouraged, to be filled with hope, because these ungodly people, though they appear to be gaining strength, are still under God's control. God knows how to deliver His people from their schemes—even as He delivered Noah, Lot, and others in the past from plots that were going on in their days.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 4)


 

1 John 4:17

If we have this faith in God's love for us mentioned in verse 16, its purpose is to give us the confidence, courage, and hope we need as we face our trials in our day of judgment, which is now (I Peter 4:17), whatever and whenever they may be. By exercising this faith, we will be exactly like Christ.

Christ had absolute faith in God's love for Him, and He used that faith to triumph in His trials and endure. We must use the exact same faith in following the example He set for us.

Pat Higgins
Faith to Face Our Trials


 

Find more Bible verses about Hope:
Hope {Nave's}
Hope {Torrey's}
 




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