God's Word of Hope

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Chuck Swindoll writes in one of the few books in the last 100 years to specifically address the subject of Biblical "Hope":

"(Hope) is something as important to us as water is to a fish, as vital as electricity is to a light bulb, as essential as air is to a jumbo jet. Hope is basic to life… Without that needed spark of hope, we are doomed to a dark, grim existence. How often the word "hopeless" appears in suicide notes. And even if it isn't actually written, we can read it between the lines. Take away our hope, and our world is reduced to something between depression and despair… hope is more than wishful thinking.

Hope is a vital necessity of life--a gift that God wants to give to you. And in a world that regularly writes dreams off as foolish and drains the hope from the heart with dark pessimism" (Biblical hope) "is a voice crying in the wilderness… a word of enthusiasm for life in the midst of any difficult situation you are in… If you want to smile through your tears, if you want to rejoice through times of suffering, just keep reminding yourself that what you're going through isn't the end of the story… it's simply the rough journey that leads to the right destination… Solid, stable, sure hope. Hope to press on. Hope to endure. Hope to stay focused. Hope to see new dreams fulfilled" Charles R. Swindoll in his book "Hope Again: When Life Hurts and Dreams Fade."

The world says…

I hope… this or that will happen… this type of "hope" is why the lottery system is thriving in many states!

Hope identified as cultural hope is merely an optimistic desire that something will be fulfilled. This hope is not a guaranteed hope because it is subject to changeable people and circumstances.

And so often when we use the word "hope" in casual conversation, it has a wavering, uncertain sound. (cf Lk 23:8, Acts 24:26 - neither Herod's nor Felix's hope materialized). Most people live in hope that things will improve for them and that they will finally be satisfied. One of the frightening observations of our day is that there are so many, particularly the young, who have no hope. Suicides are on the increase annually, and a recent poll said the majority of teens in our day have no hope for the future. And so we see so many of our young living recklessly hoping to find satisfaction in the present moment. Our society is characterized by a pervading sense of hopelessness. Unfortunately the Church is not immune to this hopeless feeling. Many who claim to be born again believers in Jesus Christ are searching for fulfillment in life. The truth of Scripture is that we were not made for the present, and the present was never intended to satisfy us. "If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied" (1Co 15:19)

June Hunt has an interesting note on the use the anchor to symbolize hope…

For centuries, anchors have been a symbol of hope. This emblem was especially significant to the early persecuted church. Many etchings of anchors were discovered in the catacombs of Rome, where Christians held their meetings in hiding. Threatened with death because of their faith, these committed Christians used the anchor as a disguised cross and as a marker to guide the way to their secret meetings. Located beneath the ancient city, 600 miles of these tomb-like burial chambers served as a place of refuge during perilous times of persecution. Thus, the anchor—found even on some tombstones today—has become the symbol of guaranteed hope for the eternal security of true Christians. (Biblical Counseling Keys on Hope: The Anchor of Your Soul)


The atheist Jean-Paul Sartre declared shortly before death that he so strongly resisted feelings of despair that he would tried to convince himself by saying…

“I know I shall die in hope.”

Then in profound sadness, he would add…

“But hope needs a foundation.” (devotional)

The atheist Sartre was hopeless for he had refused to believe in Jesus Christ, the only source of genuine, eternal hope. Friedrich Nietzsche (surely in the spirit of antichrist 1Jn 2:18) made the foolish declaration that "Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man." (Wrong! Hope has just the opposite effect of stabilizing and encouraging the life of the Christ follower! "The foolishness of God is wiser than men!" 1Cor 1:25)

All too often, hope is pessimistically defined as the little boy did when he said: “Hope is wishing for something you know ain’t gonna happen.”

It has been said that man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, and about eight minutes without air—but only one second without hope! (Anon)

It is reported that in the Tamul language there is no word for hope. Alas! poor men, if we were all as destitute of the blessed comfort itself as these Tamul speakers are of the word! What must be the misery of souls in hell where they remember the word, but can never know hope itself! (Spurgeon)

The greatest enemy of man is not disease—it’s despair (absence of hope)

G. Campbell Morgan tells the story of a man whose shop had been burned in the great Chicago fire. He arrived at the ruins the next morning carrying a table which he set up in the charred remains of his store and upon which he placed the sign,

Everything lost except wife, children, and hope.

Business will be resumed as usual tomorrow morning.


A W Tozer wrote that…

Hope is a word which has taken on a new and deeper meaning for us because the Savior took it into His mouth. Loving Him and obeying Him, we suddenly discover that hope is really the direction taken by the whole Bible. Hope is the music of the whole Bible, the heartbeat, the pulse and the atmosphere of the whole Bible… Hope means a desirable expectation, a pleasurable anticipation. As men know this word, it often blows up in our faces and often cruelly disappoints us as human beings. Hope that is only human will throw us down and wound us just as pleasurable anticipation often turns to discouragement or sorrow.


Only a small percentage of the Biblical uses of "hope" refer to 'hope' as the world defines it… for example we read of a the fading hope of survival of those on a storm tossed ship in the Mediterranean Sea…

Acts 27:20

Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all HOPE of our being saved was gradually abandoned.

Webster's says that:

Hope implies little certainty but suggests confidence or assurance in the possibility that what one desires or longs for will happen.

In sum hope, as the world typically thinks defines it, is a desire for some future thing which we are uncertain of attaining.

The majority of secular thinkers in the ancient world did not regard HOPE as a virtue, but merely as a temporary illusion. Historians tell us that a great cloud of hopelessness covered the ancient world. Philosophies were empty; traditions were disappearing; religions were powerless to help men face either life or death. People longed to pierce the veil and get some message of hope from the other side, but there was none…

Seneca Rome's leading intellectual figure, tutor of the nefarious emperor Nero and contemporary of Paul defined hope as “an uncertain good” the exact antithesis of a believer's hope! What a difference the new birth makes in one's perspective.

Hopelessness is characterized by absolute despair with no expectation of good. The Bible refers to those who have only a hope that perishes… Bildad the Shuhite, one of Job's "friends" declaring…

So are the paths of all who forget God and the hope of the godless will perish Job 8:13 (cf Job 27:8, Pr 10:28)

Bildad gives an accurate description of the hope of those without God and without Christ… in the end they will "perish". The Hebrew word for "perish" is "abad" which means be lost and in a state of ruin and destruction. It refers not so much to annihilation as to that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose. Men and women created in the image of God, with their purpose to glorify Him, lose all hope of ever achieving that purpose. No wonder cynics like H. L. Mencken quipped that

hope is a pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible.

Ray Stedman - "One of the great reasons the church is so confused in this day, one of the reasons the church says so little of true significance to the world, is that it has neglected and abandoned, by and large, the hope of the coming of the Lord. There are very few sermons preached on it. There is very little said about it. There is no time given to a consideration of what this hope means and why it is set forth so frequently and so clearly in the Scriptures. Great sections of the Scriptures that deal with the hope of our Lord's return are simply ignored by Christians." (Spiritual Warfare)

NO blessed HOPE

Ephesians 2:12, 13 (note)

Paul exhorts the Ephesian Gentile believers to…

remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

The unsaved sinner is “without hope” and if he dies without Christ, he will be hopeless forever. Likewise those who trust in works to save them are like the Jews who had "set (their) hope" on Moses (keeping the "The Law" ~ good works) (Jn 5:45) (Devotional: Future prospects bring present joys)

The Italian poet, Dante, in Divine Comedy, penned this inscription over the world of the dead…

“Abandon all hope,
you who enter here!”

One might paraphrase Dante's dismal declaration "Life without Christ is a hopeless end but life in Christ is an endless hope. 

‘Hope’ is biblical shorthand for unconditional certainty. (Blanchard)

Viewing hope from an unsaved person's perspective, a Greek philosopher wrote "One must not tie a ship to a single anchor nor life to a single hope."

The world hopes for the best, but Jesus Christ offers the best hope. (J W White)

Hope is faith in the future tense. (Peter Anderson)

We never hope for something that has taken place in the past. -Lehman Strauss

Hope is grief's best music. (Anon)

In the New Testament it (hope) always means a certainty. It is not, 'I have not got it, but I hope I may,' but 'I have not yet got it, but I know I shall.' - Guy King

In Pr 13:12 (note) Solomon writes that…

Hope deferred (long drawn out ~ delayed) makes the heart sick (depresses) but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

In other words, hoping for something that does not come to pass grieves the heart while fulfilled desire vitalizes one like a tree of life that bears fruit (cp Rev 2:7-note, Rev 22:2-note, Rev 22:14-note).

Someone has quipped that

In the present, there are various forms of “false hope” being peddled, most of which should be spelled HYPE, not HOPE.

What is the believer's

In a word the answer is a Person… JESUS! His return and the expectation associated with that certain future event constitutes the foundation of every believer's blessed hope. You do believe He is returning don't you? Scripture does not "stutter" but repeatedly alludes to His Second Coming (scholars have estimated that 1 in 20 NT passages allude directly or indirectly to the Second Coming.) Clearly God desires for His children to live with an assurance of His "coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory" (Mt 24:30), a coming that will bring blessing to His own!

The blessed hope is the absolute certainty that God will do good to us in the future and includes the idea that we are looking forward with expectancy and eager anticipation to the visualization and culmination of this great hope.

(The believer's blessed) Hope means expectancy when things are otherwise hopeless. (G K Chesterton)

The believer's blessed hope is the desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it.

The blessed thing about hope is that it reaches beyond this present life.

The believer's blessed hope is the totality of blessing that awaits the Christ follower in the life to come

The believer's blessed hope in the NT is an expectation of something good to come but it is something we must wait patiently for.

The believer's blessed hope gives us confident expectancy

The nature of hope is to expect that which faith believes. (Richard Sibbes)

The creation is the foundation of the gospel, the second coming is the blessed hope of the gospel, the cross and the empty tomb constitute the power of the gospel. - Henry Morris

Hope is a "confident reaching out for the eschatological future."

Our hope lies not in the man we put on the moon, but in the man we put on the cross. (Don Basham)

Hope according to the Baker Evangelical Dictionary means

To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future

Hope is indispensable for survival and this is especially true when people are confronted by misfortunes, uncertainties, and bitter disparities in life.

Hope is faith holding out its hands in the dark.

Joseph Addison wrote that the blessed hope…

"not only bears up the mind under sufferings but makes her rejoice in them."

Isaac Watts wrote that …

Hope thinks nothing difficult; despair tells us that difficulty is insurmountable.

G K Chesterton said

Hope means expectancy when things are otherwise hopeless.

Jeremy Collier said that our blessed hope…

is a vigorous principle; it sets the head and heart to work and animates a man to do his utmost.

The Puritan Thomas Manton wrote…

What an excellent ground of hope and confidence we have when we reflect upon these three things in prayer — the Father's love, the Son's merit and the Spirit's power!

Gabriel Marcel said,

Hope is for the soul what breathing is for the living organism.

The Holman Bible Dictionary defines our blessed hope as…

"Trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God's promises. Biblical hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God's guidance. More specifically, hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future. This contrasts to the world's definition of hope as “a feeling that what is wanted will happen.” Understood in this way, hope can denote either a baseless optimism or a vague yearning after an unattainable good. If hope is to be genuine hope, however, it must be founded on something (or someone) which affords reasonable grounds for confidence in its fulfillment. The Bible bases its hope in God and His saving acts."

John Piper writes about the blessed hope declaring that…

"This confident hope gives us the encouragement and enablement we need for daily living. It does not put us in a rocking chair where we complacently await the return of Jesus Christ. Instead, it puts us in the marketplace, on the battlefield, where we keep on going when the burdens are heavy and the battles are hard. Hope is not a sedative; it is a shot of adrenaline, a spiritual blood transfusion."

A study of concentration camp survivors found that those prisoners who were able to hold onto their sense of hope (‘things are going to get better’ or ‘we’re going to get out of here one day’ ) were much more likely to survive. Hope then is not optional but for these prisoners proved to be a matter of life and death.

Dr. Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, observed that a prisoner did not continue to live very long after hope was lost. But even the slightest ray of hope—the rumor of better food; a whisper about an escape—helped some of the camp inmates to continue living even under systematic horror (Man's Search for Meaning) (George Sweeting)


Hope is one component of this great triad. In (1Cor 13:13) we read…

But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

See discussion of faith, hope and love in next column (This triad also in 1Th 1:3-note; 1Th 5:8-note; Gal 5:5, 6; Eph 1:15, 16, 17-note, Ep 1:18-note, Eph 4:2, 3-note, Ep 4:4, 5-note; Col 1:4, 5-note; Heb 10:22, 23-note, Heb 10:24-note; 1Pe 1:21-note,1Pe 1:22-note).

Faith and hope are inseparably linked.

We believe and so we hope

Hope is a confidence born of faith. When we have faith in God, we claim His promises, and His promises in turn give us hope for the future. This hope is certain because God promised it and He never fails to keep His promises (see Josh 21:45, 23:14, 1Ki 8:56, 1Co 1:9, 1Th 5:24-note, Heb 6:18-note). And so our blessed hope is an exciting expectancy because our sovereign God, El Elyon, controls the future. When Jesus Christ is your Savior and your Lord, the future is your friend. You don't have to worry!

W H Griffith-Thomas says "Hope in the NT is a Christian grace wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit." (And I would add it is fertilized and fostered with the Word of Truth)

Easton's Bible Dictionary defines hope as…

"an essential and fundamental element of Christian life, so essential indeed, that, like faith and love, it can itself designate the essence of Christianity (1Pe 3:15-note; He 10:23-note -- click sermon on Hebrews 10:23 by Piper)." (See hope in International Std Bible Encyclopedia)

From 1Pe 3:15-note it follows all believers have a responsibility "to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence"

G. K. Chesterton surely described our blessed hope when he wrote that…

Hope means hoping when things are hopeless or it is no virtue at all… As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude. It is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength." (Devotional)

Christ's Appearing

Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing (disciplining, child rearing) us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for (word study) the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." (see notes Titus 2:10; 11; 12; 13; 14) (Click sermon by Piper)

Spurgeon sums up this passage in Titus 2 writing that…

The discipline of grace, according to the apostle, has three results - denying, living, looking. You see the three words before you.

Believers are to be actively, anxiously, eagerly, continually (present tense = our "lifestyle") looking for (word study) the Blessed Hope - the return of the Bridegroom to sweep His bride, the Church off of her feet (so to speak)!

Stated another way, believers are to be anticipating a hope which blesses, which is certain to occur, which is imminent and which is glorious (see John's reaction to the "appearing of the Blessed Hope" in Rev 1:13-18 [see notes]). In short, the believer's hope is not some ethereal concept but is an eternal Person, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf 1Timothy 1:1 "Christ Jesus Who our hope"). This is sound doctrinal truth which should stimulate transformation (toward the likeness of our Hope, Christ Jesus), not conformation (to the world which is passing away)!

Notice also that the description of the Blessed Hope and the appearing of the glory are not 2 separate events but describe one event, and ultimately one Person, our glorious Lord Jesus.

Most commentators feel the event described by the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus is the Rapture of the saints (see word study of "rapture" and 1Th 4:13, 14, 15, 16, 17-notes 1Th 4:13; 14; 15; 16; 17)

Others include such respected expositors as John MacArthur feel this event describes the triumphant return of Jesus Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation (the last 3.5 years of Daniel's Seventieth Week described in (Da 9:24, 25, 26, 27 (see notes Da 9:24; 25; 26; 27 & Mt 24:30). (See Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming).

Ray Stedman

One of the great reasons the church is so confused in this day, one of the reasons the church says so little of true significance to the world, is that it has neglected and abandoned, by and large, the hope of the coming of the Lord. There are very few sermons preached on it. There is very little said about it. There is no time given to a consideration of what this hope means and why it is set forth so frequently and so clearly in the Scriptures (Ed: As stated above roughly 1 in every 20 NT passages refers to the Second Coming either directly or indirectly! Now that is a source of great hope!). Great sections of the Scriptures that deal with the hope of our Lord's return are simply ignored by Christians. As a result, our thinking is muddled and confused. The church does not know which side to take or where to stand. It has nothing to say. At best, the church today sounds an uncertain call that fails to summon anyone to battle, and does little to encourage the heart. God, in His Word, has called us to remind ourselves and each other of the coming of the Lord. How many times did Jesus say, "Watch and be ready for that hour." We must live daily in the hope and anticipation of that triumphant moment. The battle is not ours but the Lord's. We often think of this great struggle against the devil and his angels, . against the principalities and powers, against the schemes of the devil, as though it were primarily a private fight between us and the devil. No! This battle is the Lord's! (Defense against Defeat, Part 3) (Or see Spiritual Warfare Chapter 7 Hope for Clear Heads by Ray C. Stedman)

In Christ Alone my hope is found
(play song)


1 Peter 1:3;1:4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope (and why is it a "living" hope and not a "dead" hope? Read on… ) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (our living hope has the firm foundation of a living Redeemer) 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable (word study) and undefiled (word study) and will not fade away (word study), reserved (word study - perfect tense = speaks of permanence of this reservation) in heaven for you (1Pe 1:3, 4-note;1:4) (See sermon by John Piper) (Devotional A Living Hope - Christians can cope with their past because of their hope in the future.)

How can one "hope" or b e confident that God will work for them and make their future bright?

Clearly the answer is the new birth in which God gives us a new, "circumcised" heart (Col 2:11-note). Now, because of it's qualitatively new (see discussion) nature our heart has the desire and the power (Php 2:13-note) to hope in God.

Peter emphasizes that this is a living hope not a dead hope. Compare Peter's teaching to James who describes a dead faith (Jas 2:17-note, Jas 2:26-note) which he says is useless (barren, fruitless, unproductive) (Jas 2:20-note). It follows that a "living faith" and a "living hope" is fertile, fruitful, productive.

Living hope is hope that like a living faith that is "fertile, fruitful, productive" which "has power and produces changes in… how we live" (Piper) In other words, a living hope gives a motivation and power to produce changes in one's life. A living hope is dynamic, energizing and capable of stimulating a strong confidence in God, which in turn has the power to affect one's daily outlook and conduct. Right (righteous) doctrine should always lead to right (righteous) thinking which in turn should work itself out in right (righteous) conduct. Correct creed begets correct conduct.

Has this Biblical "living hope" had a supernatural effect in your life? Or are you living as if you had a "dead hope"? If the latter, then beseech God that "the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling" (Ep 1:18)

The best that the world can say is,

Where there’s life, there’s hope.

Peter teaches that the truth is exactly the opposite for where there is genuine Biblical hope, there is real life and the potential for abundant, victorious life!

Peter shows us how it it possible to obtain this Godward hope - we must be born again. Without the new birth one cannot experience this new quality of living hope. The Spirit quickens the heart, giving spiritual life so that faith is born and a living hope springs forth from what was once dead, dry soil.

Living hope is an
integral component of saving faith.

Living hope as a fundamental religious attitude was unknown in Greek culture. For example, the Greek writer Theognis gave the following advice…

As long as you live by honoring the gods,
hold on to hope!

But the Grecian "gods" were dead gods while Jehovah is the Living God (be encouraged by meditating on "Living God" in Dt 5:26; Josh 3:10; 1Sa 17:26, 36; 2Kgs 19:4, 16; Ps 42:2; 84:2; Is 37:4, 17; Je 10:10; 23:36; Da 6:20, 26; Hos 1:10; Mt 16:16; 26:63; Ac 14:15; Rom 9:26; 2Co 3:3; 6:16; 1Ti 3:15; 4:10; He 3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22; Re 7:2). He is faithful and immutable. (see note on this attribute) And so our hope is not dead but alive and life giving because Jesus is alive and life giving. Hallelujah! Amen!

Because of this life giving hope no believer need remained trapped in their past (no matter how awful) but can be confident of their future. In other words, if you have a living hope you can cope with a painful past because you have the certainty of a glorious future:

We can cope with our past
By hoping in our future

Warren Wiersbe writes that…

No Christian life, then, is complete which does not include in it this forward look of joyous certitude toward a bright future, for hope as a grace is not a mere spirit of what we call hopefulness, or a natural buoyancy of temperament. It is a distinctly Christian virtue, the result of union with God in Christ; and it has for its immediate object the Lord Jesus at His glorious appearing, and for its ultimate, eternal and exhaustless substance the glories of heaven and God as our all in all. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Hope is biblical shorthand for unconditional certainty. (John Blanchard)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is our hope today. It is our assurance that we have a living Savior to help us live as we should now, and that when, in the end, we set forth on that last great journey, we shall not travel an uncharted course, but rather we shall go on a planned voyage—life to death to eternal living. (Raymond MacKendree)

Hope, by its nature, deals with the future, but with a happy future. Christian hope looks forward with eager anticipation to what is stored up for us in heaven (1Pe 1:4-note).

The truth of Jesus’ coming is like a magnet; it draws us closer to Him. “It lifts the heart of the believer out of the world, and out of his low self, and enables him to stand with Moses on the mount, and transfigures him with the rays of blessed hope and promise which stream upon him in those sublime heights.” (Seiss)

The believer's hope is a guaranteed hope not subject to change, but rather anchored in our unchangeable Savior and Lord.


Romans 4:18 (note)

In hope against hope he believed, so that (introduces purpose clause) he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE. (Devotional: Seeing With Hope) (click sermon by Piper)

What does Paul mean by hope against hope? I like Kenneth Wuest's explanation that…

Abraham’s faith is described. It was both contrary to hope (as far as nature could give hope) and rested on hope (that God could do what nature could not).” (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)


Hebrews 6:11 (note)

We desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance (plerophoria) of hope until the end (See Piper's sermons Heb 6:1-12, Heb 6:9-11 Heb 6:9-12)

In context Hebrews 6:11 refers to the fact that God will remember the service which saints have rendered to other saints (see note Hebrews 6:10). Remember that as saints we serve not to "earn heaven" but because we already "have heaven" (see related discussion Eph 2:10-note). Note that full assurance is God's will for us.

Notice also that in Heb 6:11-note the full assurance of Christian hope is integrally related to diligence. If we are diligent in living for Christ (eg, ministering to fellow saints), our hearts are filled with assurance. If we are not diligent, then we will not be assured that all things will be well. If we "waffle" in our Christian life, sometimes living for Christ but more often living for self (see flesh) and sin (see Sin = the Sin principle or propensity inherited from Adam) we will not experience full assurance of hope (absolute certainty that God will do good to us in the future) but will experience doubts, including doubts like "Am I genuinely saved?"

Based on this verse John Piper defines hope as " full assurance, or strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in the future" (The Power of Hope)

Genuine salvation is a Holy Person living within us and should supernaturally result in a general change of direction of one's lifestyle, including a desire to serve other saints. (See Paul's admonition to the saints at Corinth to "Examine" themselves - 2Cor 13:5, See his description of those who profess but do not possess genuine salvation - Titus 1:16 [note])

Have you heard the true story of millionaire Eugene Lange speaking to 6th Grade class in Harlem. What could he say to these children most of whom would drop out of school before graduation. He said "Stay in school and I'll help pay the college tuitions for every one of you." What do you think happened? TURNING POINT in their lives. For the first time they had HOPE. One said

I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.

Ninety percent of these students went on to graduate from high school. People without hope are people without a future. But when hope is restored, so is life. Nowhere is this more true than with those who come to know Christ. He gives a sure basis for hope. He has promised to return to earth to receive His own (1Th 1:10-note). Until then, we have His supernatural help through the indwelling Holy Spirit (1Th 1:5-note) Who gives us the desire and the power to be diligent in our Christian walk, working out our salvation in fear and trembling (Php 2:12, 13-see notes Php 2:12; 13, Ezek 36:27)

People without hope
Are people without a future.
We have a future and a hope

Compare God's promise to Israel that He would give them a future and a hope even though at the time they were in captivity in Babylon. (Jer 29:11)

The believer participates in a new quality of life now and which will be consummated when our "Blessed Hope" the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Dearly beloved, meditate on your blessed hope, for it is Christ Alone Who gives us the hope that makes this life worth living. This sure hope is set before us that it might be an anchor for our souls, and a motivation for us to exhibit the "same diligence" the saints of the first century exhibited even in stressful times.

And for the hope of His return,
Dear Lord, Your name we praise;
With longing hearts we watch and wait
For that great day of days!

- Sherwood

Summary of Biblical Images of Hope…

Hope is a door (Hos 2:15), “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Heb 6:19NIV) and a helmet (1Th 5:8). Hope is “stored up for you in heaven” (Col 1:5RSV). It is something inside a believer (1Pet 3:15 RSV) and something into which one is born (1 Pet 1:3). Those who hope for the Messianic Age are “prisoners of hope” (Zech 9:12RSV). There is a sense too in which many of the Bible’s apocalyptic visions of the future are images of hope for the believer-something tangible toward which believers look as an eventual reality and around which they orient their present lives. (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery)

The Blessed Hope is A Healthy Hope

In 1997 the journal of the American Heart Association reported on some remarkable research. According to the Chicago Tribune, Susan Everson of the Human Population Laboratory of the Public Health Institute in Berkeley, California, found that people who experienced high levels of despair had a 20 percent greater occurrence of atherosclerosis—the narrowing of their arteries—than did optimistic people. “This is the same magnitude of increased risk that one sees in comparing a pack-a-day smoker to a non-smoker,” said Everson. In other words, despair can be as bad for you as smoking a pack a day! That is just one more reason why God calls us to choose hope and faith. The Christian life contributes to good health, for God gives us a legitimate basis for hope. (Larson, C B - 750 Engaging Illustrations)

Hope is not something tacked onto a Christian; hope defines us as it separates us from the despairing (the unregenerate of this world). Hope is a Gospel ("good news") word. (Sherman, C E).

Greek and Hebrew
Words for Hope

Of the 84 occurrences (see Greek word studies of the verb elpizo and the noun elpis) of hope in the NT, 5 are found in the Gospels, 10 in Acts, 70 in the Epistles and none in Revelation.

Notice that hope is seldom used in the Gospels, for Jesus, Who is the personification of hope, was present! It is Paul who most fully develops the New Testament theology of hope.

Hope in the OT is Our English word hope translates 5 different Hebrew words (see below). Take a moment and meditate on these passages (interrogate with the 5W'S & H) (Be sure and make your own observations before you see the attached "note", most from C H Spurgeon). Note "hope" is even used as a "Name" for God in Jer 14:8!

(1) Qavah (Note: a number of the uses of qavah are translated "wait" or "waited" but still convey the Biblical idea of "hope") - Ge 49:18, Ps 25:3-note, Ps 25:5-note, Ps 25:21-note, Ps 27:14-note, Ps 37:9-note, Ps 37:34-note, Ps 39:7-note, Ps 40:1-note, Ps 52:9-note, Ps 69:6-note, Ps 130:5-note (used twice), Isa 8:17, Isa 25:9 (twice as "waited"), Isa 26:8, 33:2, Isa 40:31, Isa 49:3, Jer 14:22, Lam 3:25, Hos 12:6

(2) Yachal - Job 13:15, Ps 31:24-note, Ps 33:18-note, Ps 33:22-note, Ps 38:15-note, Ps 42:5-note, Ps 42:11-note, Ps 43:5-note, Ps 71:14-note, Ps 119:43KJV-note, Ps 119:49-note, Ps 119:74KJV-note, Ps 119:81KJV-note, Ps 119:114KJV-note, Ps 119:147KJV-note, Ps 130:5-note, Ps 130:7-note, Ps 131:3-note, Ps 147:11KJV-note, Lam 3:21, 24, Micah 7:7 ("wait" = hope),

(3) Tiqvah - Ru 1:12, Job 4:6KJV, Job 5:16, 8:13, 11:20, 27:8, Ps 9:18-note, Ps 62:5-note, Ps 71:5-note, Pr 10:18, 11:7, 23:18, 24:14, 26:12, 29:20, Jer 29:11, Jer 31:17, Hos 2:15,

(4) Miqveh - Jer 14:8, 17:3, 50:7

(5) Towcheleth - Ps 39:7-note, Pr 10:28, Pr 13:12

If you studied the previous passages, you noted that qavah is used in Isaiah 40:31, a verse often quoted in times of affliction, stress, difficulty, etc…

But those who wait (Qavah) for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power (idea of Hebrew word "gain new" = substitute or exchange their strength for His strength). They shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Isaiah 40:31-note, Amplified Version).

If you took time to study the preceding Hebrew words, you discovered that even in the OT the idea of hope is often the idea of look to the future with eager, confident expectation, which calls for one to exhibit patience (explaining why hope is often translated as wait or waiting upon the Lord). The upshot is that even the Old Testament teaches that the fulfillment of the blessed hope is yet future. In the Old Testament, the object of hope was not as fully developed as in the progressive revelation in the New Testament (see next column) (The old is the new concealed and the new is the old revealed).

New Zealanders have an interesting description of hope as "the swimming thought" for when all other thoughts are "drowned", hope still remains! Amen

Songs of Hope

37 Well done free Mp3 Vocals that will be like water to your thirsty soul if you are in the need of hope. (Right click and download to computer or Ipod) (Click for list of songs on hope)

Behind the cloud the starlight lurks,
Through showers the sunbeams fall;
For God, who loveth all his works
Has left his hope with all!
--John Greenleaf Whittier

John Piper's

(Piper's recommended series on Hope)

1.What is the definition of Christian hope?

Answer: a confident expectation of good things to come (Hebrews 6:11).

2.What is the ground of Christian hope?

Answer: the sovereign grace of God (2 Thessalonians 2:16), and the good news that Christ died for sinners (Colossians 1:23).

3.What is the cause of Christian hope in the human heart? What brings it about and sustains it?

Answer: the work of God in regeneration (1 Peter 1:3), and the promises of God in his Word (Romans 15:4).

4.What is the content of Christian hope? What are we hoping for?

the appearing of Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13),
the redemption of our bodies (Ro 8:23),
the consummation of our righteousness (Gal 5:5),
sharing the glory of God (Ro 5:2)
inheriting eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:7).

Vanhoozer writes that…

Hope is waiting in confident expectation for God’s promises in Christ, summed up in the gospel. Hope is fundamental because the gospel concerns God’s culmination of his redemptive work, “the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed” (1 Pet. 1:13 NRSV), the “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Most of that for which we trust in Christ remains yet future (Rom. 8:24b), for the Spirit’s present blessings are “firstfruits.” God alone controls fulfillment, so hope is waiting for God to act, graciously and powerfully, on our behalf as in the past. Christians hope “by faith” (Gal. 5:5). Faith trusts in God’s promises, while hope expects what is to come. God’s reliability and his promise should foster lively, growing assurance, despite delays and doubts. {Dictionary for theological interpretation of the Bible},

Jeremiah 14:8

Jeremiah calls God the "HOPE OF ISRAEL its Savior in time of distress” (Click for 4 other references to hope in Jeremiah )

This God Who is the HOPE OF ISRAEL is in fact the Messiah (the OT equivalent of the NT "Christos" = Christ), the Deliverer Whom Israel was expecting ("hoping for") at the time of His first coming (unfortunately most of the Jews wanted only deliverance from Roman rule not from bondage to sin and Satan).

As Jesus walked beside two followers on the Emmaus Road (unrecognized by them - as Tozer said "The gospel is light but only the Spirit can give sight") one of them lamented

we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel (Lk 24:21)

This is a surely an allusion to the "HOPE OF ISRAEL", the MESSIANIC HOPE, a hope that will ultimately be brought to consummation at the Second Coming of Christ (see below)

Zechariah 14:9 sums up the Old Testament Messianic hope recording the truth that…

Jehovah (Jesus) will be King over all the earth; in that day (when Jesus returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom). Jehovah will be the only One and His Name the only One.

The concept of HOPE is clearly taught in the OT but is more fully revealed in the NT, predominantly in the epistles of Paul, Peter and John. The Greek words for hope are not used in the Revelation probably at least in part because in that book our hope becomes sight (cp Rev 1:7-note where Messiah will be hope for only some!)

There are also few references to hope in the Gospels, possibly because the literal embodiment of hope, the Lord Jesus Christ, was present in the flesh.

Some Jews who were undoubtedly genuine believers (and were part of the remnant [see note] of believing Israel) did recognize Jesus' as their Messiah as illustrated in Luke 2:25-36 where we find Simeon,

a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon and this man was righteous and devout, looking for (present tense) for the "Consolation of Israel" ( = a Messianic title - see Isaiah 12:1-note, Isa 25:9, 40:1, Acts 28:20) and the Holy Spirit was upon him and it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ (Messiah) and he came in the Spirit into the temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to carry out for Him the custom of the Law then he took Him into his arms and blessed God and said:

"Now Lord, You are releasing Thy bondservant to depart in peace, according to Thy word for my eyes have seen Thy salvation (~Jesus) which Thou have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES (cp Isa 9:1-2-note) and the glory of Thy people Israel"

Simeon recognized the Messianic "Hope of Israel" Who was also the Hope for the entire world ("all peoples… Gentiles… Israel").

Luke goes on to describe another Jewish believer, Anna a prophetess, who served God night and day, never leaving the Temple, and who recognized Jesus as the Hope of Israel

and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Lk 2:36, 37, 38)

Fanny Crosby (who was blind) caught the idea of expectant living in her famous hymn Blessed Assurance:

Perfect submission, all is at rest.
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Jeremiah 29:11
THE blessed HOPE

In Jeremiah 29:11 Jehovah declares to the Jews…

I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

This promise by Jehovah is given through His prophet Jeremiah to Israel during their Babylonian captivity, a time when all their earthly hope of a future deliverance had vanished because of the destruction of the Holy Temple and their beloved Jerusalem. This temporary discipline by God however did not mark the end of Israel's hope, for this hope was (and is) ultimately contingent upon God's eternal covenant promises to Abraham (See Abrahamic Covenant and New Covenant Jer 31:31-40) to give Abraham's descendants the land of Israel (Ge 15:18). This future hope will come to full bloom when

the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Ro 11:25-note)

and then

all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION (Messiah's Second Coming), HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB. THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS (Ro 11:26, 27-note).

In summary, the MESSIANIC HOPE of Israel is an absolute assurance that God will do good to Israel in the future because…

The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Ro 11:29-note).

Since every Gentile believer was previously a "wild olive" branch who has been "grafted in among" Israel and become a "partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree", this sure word of prophecy of Israel's "Messianic" hope should give all Gentile believers utmost confidence that their hope will also be fulfilled in the fullness of time (cf Mt 12:21, Ro 15:12 [note])

Jehovah Elohim:
My blessed HOPE

In Psalm 71:5-note describes His God = Thou are my HOPE; O Lord GOD, Thou are my confidence from my youth.

Again and again the OT exhorts Israel to hope and the source of that hope is Jehovah.  "O Israel," becomes the invitation, to "put your hope in Jehovah, for with Jehovah is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption" (Ps 130:7-note).

In a most basic way, then, hope is a relational term. It is a great affirmation of trust in God, because God is wholly trustworthy.

Dear Jewish friend, do you not see that Yeshua is your Messiah Who desires to also be your Redeemer and Lord? Will you not enter into the New Covenant (an extension of the Abrahamic Covenant click here) by faith in Jesus the Christ?

Amazing Grace! how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my HOPE secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.


Studies in Messianic Prophecy
by Max Reich
(Links open Pdf)

Christ Jesus:

1Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus, Who is our HOPE

Will our hope shift and change?

Is our hope dependent on feelings or upon truth?

Hail, eternal Hope on high!
Hail, Thou King of victory!
Hail, Thou Prince of life adored!
Help and save us, gracious Lord.
Christ the Lord is Risen Today

The writer of Hebrews (Heb 13:8-note) answers that…

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.

How is Christ our HOPE?

His finished work (Ro 5:1-2-note), His future return to take us home (1Th 4:13-note, 1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note), the certainty that we will reign with Christ forever and ever (Re 5:10, 20:4, 5, 6,, 22:5-see notes Re 5:10, 20:4-6, 22:5), etc

AT Robertson writes that Jesus is…

More than the Author and Object of hope… (but is) its very Substance and Foundation

W here should we seek HOPE?

Where should we run when we feel hopeless? Where did you run for refuge this week? (cf click study of Pr 18:10)

We have hope for the future because of what Christ has done in the past and is doing in the present.

Don Basham wrote that

Our hope lies, not in the man we put on the moon, but in the Man we put on the cross.

A W Tozer phrased it this way…

Your Christian hope is just as good as Jesus Christ. Your anticipation for the future lives or dies with Jesus. If He is who He said He was, you can spread your wings and soar.

All My Hope on God is Founded
All my hope on God is founded;
He doth still my trust renew,
Me through change and chance He guideth
Only good and only true.
God unknown, He alone
Calls my heart to be His own.

Christ in (believers)
our blessed HOPE
of glory

Colossians 1:27 (note) God willed (to His saints) to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.


This truth was not revealed in the OT and is the greatest mystery in the Bible, Christ living in believers. Those who are without Christ are "without hope and without God." (Eph 2:12-note). Believers have no other title to heaven than Christ Himself and the truth that He indwells us, makes heaven as sure as if we were already there. (YouTube - My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less - Beautiful vocal)

Christ is our hope of glory and the glory of our hope. (Anonymous)

Dear tried and toiling saint, meditate on this truth and allow this blessed hope enable you to fight the good fight and endure the sufferings and groanings of this life with confidence and genuine optimism. (see "My Heart Christ's Home") The believer is not only alive in salvation by virtue of the fact that Christ is his life, but he lives his Christian life in dependence upon Him or by means of Him.

Jesus, my Strength, my Hope,
On Thee I cast my care,
With humble confidence look up,
And know Thou hear’st my prayer.
Jesus My Strength, My Hope

Acts 23:6, 24:15


This "hope" spoken prophetically by David is ascribed by Peter to our Lord Jesus' "hope" (certainty) of resurrection after crucifixion and establishes a firm foundation for every believer's "hope" of future resurrection into a glorified body. (see 1Co 15:12-20, 21-23)

In Acts Luke goes to great lengths to emphasize the certainty of the believer's resurrection hope as demonstrated by the following passages…

Acts 23:6 … "I am on trial for the HOPE and resurrection of the dead!"

Acts 24:15 having a HOPE in God which these men cherish themselves that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked

Acts 26:6 And now I am standing trial (before Agrippa) for the HOPE of the promise made by God to our fathers 7 the promise to which our twelve tribes HOPE to attain, as they earnestly * serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. (Note: "Hope" here and the reference directly below undoubtedly also includes the Jewish hope in the coming Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom clearly prophesied in the OT. E.g. see Ge 3:15;12:3, 22:18. 2Sa 7:12,13 Jer 23:5,6, 33:14,15,16 Isa 7:14;9:6;7 Da 2:44,45, 7:13,14, 9:24;25, Mic 5:2, Lk 1:32,33, Ro15:8, Gal3:17,18, 1Pe 1:11,12 >> Be encouraged as you meditate on 65 blessed OT promises of Messiah, the Hope of Israel and the NT fulfillment - CLICK HERE)

Acts 28:20 "For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the HOPE of Israel." (cf "HOPE OF ISRAEL" Jer 14:8 )

1Cor 15:19 If we have HOPED in Christ in this life only we are of all men most to be pitied

See also Torrey's Topic "Resurrection" with >70 Scriptures

Our Blessed Hope is firmly grounded upon the truth of our certain future resurrection.

Blessed HOPE:

2Thess 2:16-17 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word

Note Who gives hope, why He gives it (on what basis) and what kind (quality) of hope He gives. Be sure and examine the context of why Paul might be emphasizing the believer's hope (2Th 2:1-12). Meditating on such grand truth will renew our minds, set us free from the "finger crossing" hope of the world and transform our "outlook into an uplook".

Christianity is not a faith of questions and worries—not a faith in which believers must wait until the end to see if they will make it. Instead, believers are given hope and encouragement through the certainty of God’s promises as a gift of grace ("by grace")

W H Griffith-Thomas in his online book The Christian Life and How to Live It writes…

Hope, in the New Testament, is always associated with the great future connected with the Lord's Coming. Again and again, indeed no less than three hundred times, is the "blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour," brought before us as the expectation of the Christian, and the crown of all his aspirations and endeavors. This, and this only is the prospect set out by the Christian religion. We look forward with joy and satisfaction to the time when we shall see Him as He is, and be made like unto Him in His eternal and glorious kingdom… Joy looks upward, peace looks inward, hope looks forward. The Christian hope is fixed on the coming of the Lord.

We may call this a "fact" (prophecy of Jesus' Second Coming) because of its certainty. Prophecy is history written beforehand. With God promise is reality, truth is fact. His Second Coming is a revelation of Eternal Kingship. In the coming of the Lord is the hope of the world. It is not the "larger hope" but the "blessed hope" that is the true and substantial hope of God's people and all humanity; and this revelation of eternal Kingship makes its claim upon us, and is intended to elicit a response of Joyful Confidence. We are to live and work in the light of this glorious day. It will give tone and power to our service, it will save us from despair, it will give fibre and force to all our endeavors, it will make us radiantly optimistic and never gloomily pessimistic. Not for an instant must we ever be discouraged, even by the gravest problems in the present condition of the world. "He must reign, He will reign, He shall reign." There must be no looking backward, even to what are called the "good old days." Doubtless they were good old days ; but as God is true. as Christ is real, as the Spirit is powerful, the present days are better, and the best are yet to come. Never must we tremble for the ark of God, though we may well tremble for everything else. "Cease ye from man," and live and work only in the light of that "glorious day that is coming by-and-by."

Hiebert (on 2Th 2:16)

The gift of "good hope" is likewise a present possession, but it looks forward to the blessings connected with Christ's return. The hope is well founded because it is based on the sure promises of God. This hope, an essential feature of a well rounded Christian life (1Th 1:10-note), is in its very nature and effect good, beneficial in its impact. It cheers and sustains the believer who cherishes it.

Basis of blessed HOPE
faithfulness of
"He Who promised"

Heb 10:23-note Let us hold fast the confession of our HOPE without wavering, for He who promised is faithful 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds 25 not forsaking our own assembling together as is the habit of some but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (see notes Hebrews 10:23; 24; 25)

God's faithfulness is the ground of our sure hope and thus firmly grounded we can "hold fast the confession of our hope (not of despair) without wavering"

A true believer’s faith and hope are never in vain, because they are in a God Who is faithful to His promises.

Faithful is He Who calls you and He also will bring it to pass. (1Th 5:24-note)

God’s answers may seem to be a long time in coming, and our waiting may be uncomfortable or even painful. But He will always do just as He has said He will do. This is the reason we can hold fast to our hope without wavering. God will do His part and the believer will also do his!

Blessed HOPE
and THE

"the word of truth the gospel"

Colossians 1:4; 5 (notes) Paul writes to the Colossians that "we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel" (click sermon by Piper)

My life, my Strength, my Hope is You Lord!
(An older praise song by Don Moen )

Note that the fruit of our blessed hope is Christian love. The Colossians have love because of the blessed hope laid up for us - because they have set their hearts earnestly and intensely on the future prospect of sharing the glory of God, of seeing the risen Lord, of being freed from sin and sickness, and of living in joy for all eternity -- when Christians set their hearts with deep longing and strong confidence on these things, yes, they become heavenly-minded but not so much that they are of no earthly use? Paul says that this heavenly minded hope produces a genuine agape love.

John Piper explains that our blessed hope which is a…

Strong confidence in the promises of God and a passionate preference for the joy of heaven over the joy of the world, frees a person from worldly self-centeredness, from paralyzing regret and self-pity, from fear and greed and bitterness and despair and laziness and impatience and envy. And in the place of all these sins hope bears the fruit of love.

Piper adds that

The link between the objective hope laid up in heaven and the active love for the saints on the earth is the subjective experience of hope welling up in our hearts.

Romans 15:4 (note) For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope;.

Comment: Notice that the studying the OT is a source of hope. How much have you studied the OT? Don't ignore God's veritable storehouse of hope hidden in the pages of the OT. As John Piper says "The full assurance of hope comes from meditating on the promises of God’s Word." (ref) And again Piper asks "How are we to hope in God if we don’t know His promises?” The answer is Ro15:4… We do know the promises of God—the whole Bible—the Scripture—was written to give us hope. Take up and read!" (Our Hope: The Appearing of Christ)

John Piper's sermon on Ro 15:4 "How Can I Keep on Hoping? The Scriptures!"

Beloved, if you are battling against discouragement & hopelessness I strongly recommend you read this message where Piper illustrates the truth of Ro 15:4 from the life of missionary Henry Martyn who died at age 31!)

As Piper says "Let's take the motto, "No pain, no gain," and turn it around and make our own little slogan:


Ed: Indeed it is difficult to cope in this world when we lack the hope of heaven!

William MacDonald

While they were not written directly to us, they contain invaluable lessons for us. As we encounter problems, conflicts, tribulations, and troubles, the Scriptures teach us to be steadfast, and they impart comfort. Thus, instead of sinking under the waves, we are sustained by the hope that the Lord will see us through.

John Piper comments on Ro 15:4

The whole Bible has this aim and this power: to create hope in the hearts of God’s people. And when hope abounds, the heart is filled with joy. (Desiring God).

The OT was written to strengthen our hope in God, which is another way of saying, it was written to build our faith in future grace. (Future grace)

Those who nurture their hope in the history of grace (in the OT) will live their lives to the glory of God. That is the aim of this book. (The legacy of sovereign joy: God's triumphant grace in the lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin)

The most hopeful thing in all the world is that the God with whom we have to do is the God of the Bible. If we come to know this God in his great historical acts, the growing tree of our faith and hope will have deep root and strong fiber and will not be easily blown over by moral or doctrinal temptation. (Sermon)

Matthew Poole

One principal use of the (OT) Scriptures is that by the examples we find there of the patience of holy men and of God’s relieving and comforting them in their distresses, we might be confident (have a sure hope) that God will relieve and comfort us also in due time.

Robert Haldane

We ought to read the Scriptures with a view not to gratify our curiosity, but to increase and nourish our hope of future glory. This passage teaches that we should encourage ourselves by the example of those who, amidst similar temptations, have overcome. For this purpose, the conduct of those who obtained a good report through faith is set before us, that we may not be slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises.”

Kenneth Boa

In both Ro 15:4 and in 1Cor 10:11, Paul gives an eschatological reason for our need to understand the OT Scriptures. Here it is so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope for the future. In the Corinthians passage, Paul says the OT contains warnings for us “on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.” In both passages, his point is this: there are bigger things happening in God’s plan for the ages than our relatively small concerns of the moment. Eating and drinking (Ro 15) and yielding to temptation to sin (1Cor 10) are flashing billboards designed to take our eyes off the road to heaven. When we get distracted by insignificant matters, and stop serving the larger purposes of God by maintaining the unity of the body of Christ, we have left the will of God. (Ed: And I would add we have lost sight of our "blessed hope.")


These things were written so that we might not fall away, for we have many battles to fight, both inward and outward. But being comforted by the Scriptures we can exhibit patience, so that by living in patience we might dwell in hope. For these things produce one another—hope brings forth patience, and patience, hope.

C H Spurgeon

Three graces should be always conspicuous in Christians faith, love, and hope… These lovely graces should be so conspicuous in every believer as to be spoken of and consequently heard of even by those who have never seen us. These flowers should yield so sweet a perfume that their fragrance may be perceived by those who have never gazed upon them. So was it with the saints at Colossae… May our characters be such as can be reported of without causing us to blush, but that can never be the case if these essential virtues are absent. If these things are in us and abound, we shall not be barren or unfruitful, but if they are lacking, we are as withered branches. We should therefore be rich in faith which is the root of every grace; to this end we should daily pray, "Lord, increase our faith." We should strive to be full even to overflowing with love which is of God and makes us like to God; we should also abound in hope, even that heavenly hope which causes a man to purify himself in readiness for the inheritance above. See to it that neither of these three divine sisters are strangers to your souls, but let faith, hope, and love take up their abode in your hearts… Our hope too upon which we are to speak this morning is special, because it is a hope which is laid up for us in heaven, a hope therefore which the worldling cares not one whit about. He "hopes" that tomorrow may be as this day and yet more abundant, but he cares nothing for the land where time has ceased to flow. He hopes for riches or he hopes for fame; he hopes for long life and prosperity; he hopes for pleasure and domestic peace; the whole range of his hope is within the compass of his eye. But our hope has passed beyond the sphere of sight, according to the word of the apostle, "What a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." Ours is a hope which demands nothing of time or earth but seeks its all in the world to come. It is of this hope that we are about to speak. May the Holy Spirit lead us into a profitable meditation upon it… Is not this surpassing bliss? Said I not well when I declared that ours is a marvelous hope? Had I eloquence and could pile on goodly words and could a poet assist me with his sweetest song to tell of the bliss and joy of the eternal world, yet must preacher and poet both confess their inability to describe the glory to be revealed in us. The noblest intellect and the sweetest speech could not convey to you so much as a thousandth part of the bliss of heaven. There I leave the first head. It is a very marvelous hope. (Click to read entire sermon on Colossians 1:5 - highly recommended!)

The Scripture teaches about the perseverance and encouragement of OT saints and this give us hope to carry on. (ultimately the source of hope is God's Word). See also (Ps 119:49,50-note)

Blessed HOPE
and THE

Romans 15:13 (note) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Devotional) (Resources by F B Meyer) (Prepare To Live)

Source: God of Hope

Power: Holy Spirit

Prayer: For filling

Result: Overflowing hope

And what is the key to realization of the beneficial truths in Romans 15:13? In Believing.

John Piper has several comments on Ro 15:13…

Trusting the God of hope (Ed: He is the source of hope but it could also mean He Himself is hope, hope being characteristic of His nature) gives joy and peace. And the reason it does is because our confident hope is that God is at work right now and tomorrow in the everyday affairs of our lives so that only what is best for us happens to us…

Notice that it is in or by believing that we are filled with joy and peace. And it is by the Spirit that we abound in hope. When we put those two halves of the verse together, what we see is that through our faith (our believing) the Spirit fills us with his hope and thus with his joy and peace. And, of course since hope is such an essential part of being filled with joy by the Spirit, what we have to believe is that God is, as Paul says, the God of hope. We have to rivet our faith on all that he has done and said to give us hope…

We could paraphrase it like this: Put your confidence and your trust in God’s Word so fully that joy and peace abound and the Holy Spirit is released in your life with extraordinary power and hope.

So how does hope work in the Christian life? We start with the God of hope. He fills us with joy and peace. How? “In believing.” In believing what? In believing all that Christ has done and all he promises to do for us. In other words, our joy and peace rise with what we believe the God of hope is for us in Christ. Joy and peace are sustained by hope. But then the verse says that God fills us with joy and peace “so that you will abound in hope.” So here we have more hope coming from the fruit of hope. Hope brings about our joy and peace. And our joy and peace bring about more and more hope…

Abound in hope.” That means overflow in hope. Brim with hope. Be full of hope. Hope pushing out all contrary emotions—discouragement, depression, fear, anxiety, grumbling, bitterness. Hope does not coexist well with these things. And when it is abounding, and overflowing, they push these contrary emotions out.

As someone has well said "Believe your beliefs, and doubt your doubts; most people believe their doubts, and doubt their beliefs. God is a God of hope. Believe this beloved!"

Bible Knowledge Commentary explains that

Joy relates to the delight of anticipation in seeing one’s hopes fulfilled. Peace results from the assurance that God will fulfill those hopes (cf. Ro 5:1-note; Php 4:7-note). (and that) These are experienced as believers trust in Him (cf. He 11:1-note). As a result believers overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Ro 15:19-note). The achievement of all God’s purposes for the spiritual welfare of His children comes from the power given by the Spirit of God. What a fitting closing reminder to the apostle’s discussion of Christian living.

THE blessed HOPE

Ephesians 1:18 (note) I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints

There is no hope for someone whose spiritual perceptions ("eyes") are distorted. It is no wonder that Paul prays for the Ephesian believers. Spiritual perception will open our whole life to the light of God's presence. It is possible to know sound doctrine regarding Hope and yet not live experientially in the reality of that doctrine. Paul wanted the Ephesian saints and us to genuinely know the hope to which we have been called and so he prays for them. Should we not do the same for one another especially in our present evil age where it seems so many even in the church have lost touch with the soul "buoying" effect of Biblical hope. It is so easy for a believer to lose his or her eternal perspective by focusing on the present rather then their future. Paul says that the former is temporal and visible, while the latter is eternal and invisible (2Co 4:18-note). And so may God grant us the grace to pray Ephesians 1:18 for one another! (I have just prayed for all who read these words!)


Psalm 146:5-note How BLESSED is he whose HELP is the God of Jacob, Whose HOPE is in the LORD his God

C. H. Spurgeon (note) has a very personal note on this verse:

We have here a statement which we have personally tried and proved: resting in the Lord, we know a happiness which is beyond description, beyond comparison, beyond conception. O how blessed a thing it is to know that God is our present help and our eternal hope. Full assurance (cf Heb 6:11-note) is more than heaven in the bud, the flower has begun to open. We would not exchange with Caesar; his scepter is a bauble, but our bliss is true treasure.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our HOPE for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home!

Boldness of
the blessed HOPE

2Cor 3:12

Therefore having such a HOPE (of unfading glory of the New Covenant) we use great boldness in our speech (click sermon by Piper)

Recalling to mind the blessed hope of the Gospel (see Col 1:5-note; Col 1:23-note) should give all believer's the ability to confidently communicate what we know to be true even when present circumstances would point in another direction. We do not need to be "ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Ro 1:16-note)

Blessed HOPE

Hebrews 7:19 (note) (for the Law made nothing perfect ) and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a BETTER HOPE through which we draw near to God

Note: What is our present hope better than? Why from the verse is our hope better? (what can NT believers do that OT believers could never do? (He 4:16, 10:19, 20, 21, 22, 23-See notes Heb 4:16, 10:19; 20; 21; 22; 23)

The joy of
blessed HOPE


rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer Romans 12:12 (note) (The Fruit of Hope by Piper)

What is the fruit of our blessed hope?

Blessed Hope of future salvation (glory cp Ro 5:1-5) stimulates present joy and enables us to live our daily Christian lives with “the eagerness of a pilgrim going home”.

Paul warned us against remaining content with earthly joys and counseled us to “raise our minds to heaven, that we may enjoy full and solid joy.” (Calvin) The reality and certainty of that blessed hope brings present joy.

Matthew Henry reminds of the relationship between our blessed hope and our ability to rejoice writing that…

The joy and peace of believers arise chiefly from their hopes. What is laid out upon them is but little, compared with what is laid up for them; therefore the more hope they have the more joy and peace they have… Christians should desire and labor after an abundance of hope.

Let hope keep you joyful.

This hope of salvation is the most effective way of producing patient endurance under sufferings.

If we "consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Ro 8:18-note), it will be less difficult to bear up under them patiently.

The greatest joy on earth
is the hope of heaven.

Robert Haldane explains how hope in the future brings joy in the present:

The objects, then, of the believer's hope are the spiritual and celestial blessings which are yet future, to which his eyes should constantly be directed and which are calculated to fill him with the greatest joy. It is not the prospect of terrestrial possessions in which he is to rejoice, but of a house eternal in the heavens.

Adoniram Judson once said that…

The future is as bright as the promises of God.

It is that glorious communion with Jesus Christ of which the Apostle speaks, when he says,

Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. (Php 1:22-note)

It is that state in which believers shall be like Him, for they shall see Him as He is (1Jn 3:2-note).

As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness.' (Ps 17:15- note)

It is the

hope of righteousness for which, through the Spirit, believers wait, Gal. 5:5. (click sermon by Piper)

J. Vernon McGee adds that HOPE

should be the portion of the believer. The circumstances of the believer may not warrant rejoicing. The contrary may be true. But he sees the future (2Cor 4:16-note, 2Co 4:17-note, 2Co 4:18-note; 1Pe 1:6, 7-note) and in hope projects himself into other (future) circumstances which are more favorable. I think of a brother down in my Southland years ago. In a church service they were giving favorite Scripture verses. He stood and said that his favorite verse was “It came to pass.” Everyone looked puzzled. The preacher stood up and said, “Brother, how in the world can ‘It came to pass’ be your favorite?” His answer was, “When I have trouble, and when I have problems, I like to read that verse, ‘It came to pass,’ and I know that my trouble… has come to pass; it hasn’t come to stay.” He was looking for a new day (HOPE) out there, and that is what Paul has in mind when he says, “rejoicing in hope.

Robert Haldane wrote that…

Were this hope kept in lively exercise, it would raise believers above the fear of man and a concern for the honors of this world. It would also enable them to despise the shame of the cross."

Remember that

In Thy presence is fullness of joy. In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever. (Ps 16:11-note)

Hope-inspired joy gives us the courage to hold up under the afflictions of this age and inner strength to press on toward the goal.


As Demarest observed, "The possession of present good is enjoyment, the anticipation of future good, hope." Our hope is centered on "the blessed hope" of Christ's return (Titus 2:13). The real hope of the believer is not death, but the second advent, and includes the redemption of our bodies (Ro 8:23; Phil 3:20, 21).

I like that story about the boy and his father who were planning a fishing trip for the next day. That evening as the father was putting his son to bed, the boy hugged his father's neck and said, "Daddy, thank you for tomorrow." As believers we too can go to bed each night confidently telling our Father "Abba, Daddy, thank You for tomorrow!"

Lift up your heads, pilgrims aweary,

See day's approach now crimson the sky;

Night shadows flee, and your Beloved,

Awaited with longing, at last draweth nigh.


Here is a prayer…

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
(Psalm 25:5)

Play Matt Redman's song…

My Hope - YouTube

The Blessed Hope — Stabilizing Effect — Click Here to go to this column #3

The Blessed Hope — Sanctifying Effect — Click Here to go to this column #4