1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Hope is listed among the three abiding forces of the Christian life in contrast to things that shall cease to be needed or shall come to the end of their usefulness when we are in our perfect eternal state of existence after the redemption of our body. Just as every believer has had to learn that faith and love are spiritual forces, learn how to walk in them, and apply them so the same must be done with hope. Hope is God’s force of eternal optimism that’s available to work in every believer. It creates a confident and favorable expectation within us and a favorable outlook for the future. When we have hope we can expect and confidently anticipate the good things in the Word of God to become a reality in our lives. God through His Word and Spirit are the source of all hope (Romans 15:4, 13) but there are three general areas where the spiritual force of hope must be learned and applied. We can describe these areas of hope as the:
1. BLESSED HOPE
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
This is the hope of the Rapture or Resurrection where Jesus comes for us as the His Church and Body. Those who have this hope in them are self motivated to purify themselves and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.
2. BECOMING HOPE Colossians 1:27; Romans 8:29.
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
This is the hope that encourages and assures us that we can change outwardly into Christ-like behavior and attitudes because the hope of that change and potential for that change is already in us. It is Christ in us the hope of glory or the hope of becoming manifested outwardly all that God says we already are inwardly in Christ. When we become frustrated with ourselves not changing in our conduct, our attitudes, and our words we have to be able to hope that we can change. When we keep failing, struggling, and feel like giving up or giving in to despair we need to have a hope that we can change. We don’t have to get into self hatred or diminish ourselves. The hope and potential for change is already in us (Christ in us the hope of glory) and God is committed to our becoming Christ-like. We have been predestined to be conformed into His image and likeness (Romans 8:29). God won’t give up on us and neither should we give up on ourselves. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).”
3. BIBLE HOPE
Romans 4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
This area of hope is from God’s promises (Ephesians 2:12), the Scriptures (Romans 15:4), what God says to us by His Word or Spirit (Romans 4:18), and the Gospel ((Colossians 1:23). It is Bible hope as opposed to natural hope. There is a difference between natural hope and Bible hope. In Romans 4:18 it says of Abraham, “Who against hope (natural hope) believed in hope (spiritual hope or hope from what God said).” The difference is natural hope is based on natural knowledge and information. When natural hope is gone, it’s natural to say there is no hope. Bible hope has nothing to do with natural knowledge. In Abraham’s case all natural hope was gone (Romans 4:13-23). The natural information said your body Abraham is now dead and Sarah’s womb is also dead you cannot have a child. Natural information said what you see and what you feel makes it impossible for God’s promise of a child to come to pass. The promise of God came and said he would be the father of many nations. He could have hope based on spiritual information that he decided to believe against the natural information. Bible hope works when all natural hope is gone.