What Is Hope For Christians?
The New Covenant Scripture speaks of hope. For example, we read in Titus 2:13 of “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”. The Hebrew writer said that we “have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18). John told the recipients of his first letter that “everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).
It is important to understand that hope is fundamentally futuristic. It deals with things we haven’t seen or received yet (Hebrews 11:1).
However, when the New Testament employs the word “hope”, it uses it in a sense different from its secular usage. The passage in 1 Peter 1:3 illustrates this point. There the apostle said, “[God] has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. This is a reference to the heavenly hope; hence this hope is said to be “reserved in haven” (1 Peter 1:4; cf. Colossians 1:5).
The word “hope” thus used comes from the Greek “elpis” which indicates a confident expectation. For Christians, hope describes a happy anticipation of something good. It’s the fulfilment of the blessings that disciples of Christ who remain faithful to Him at death will enjoy in heaven once life on earth is over (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10).
But in the world, hope means a feeling of desire for something without certainty of the fulfilment. In other words, there is no assurance of that desire becoming a reality. One’s hope of becoming a millionaire may or may not come true.
Christian hope is different from worldly hope in the sense that disciples of Christ wait for what they expect with eager anticipation. The reunion of Christians with the Lord as well their life with God in eternity are among many future events predicted in the Bible that will undoubtedly take place (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 John 3:2).
Hope therefore can help Christians hold on in times of tribulation and suffering. Because hope can take one through the darkest moments of his lives, it becomes a source of motivation to persevere on the Christian journey.
From God’s perspective, hope is not an escape from the difficulties of life. Rather, it provides the disciples of Christ peace of mind. Hence James could say, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).