What is hope?
I hope it doesn’t rain on my picnic. I hope there is peace in the Middle East. I hope I get a phone call for a date. These are all certain forms of hope in our culture. However, real biblical hope is far different as St. Paul writes in Romans 6-8. In these chapters, Paul lays out the gut-level Christian hope that is based on God’s revelation to us.
For the Christian, hope is based on the work of Christ in his or her life. In our culture, hope is a wish in an uncertain situation. For the believer, hope is the waiting for the full outworking of the presence of God in my life that began with conversion. There are specific criteria, a foundation.
The first is the experiential knowledge of the Father’s love for us. We know and live in that love.
The second is the objective reality that Christ died for the godless while we were still in our rebellion (Romans 5:6). Think of what shape you were in when He became real to you. Again, this is all based on the Father’s love.
Third, the experience of the Holy Spirit takes place as a pledge. If I buy a car from you for $5,000, give you a down payment of $2,500 and tell you “I’ll be back,” you know I will be back. Likewise, as the Holy Spirit becomes more real to us, we can hear the Lord say, “I give you salvation. Here is the Holy Spirit. I’ll be back.” Therefore, the hope we have is the experience of the working out in us the death to sin and the deep joy of being saved.
Over the next several weeks, I hope you will take the time to explore Romans 6-8, the treatment and basis of Christian hope.