Romans 5: 1 - 11
As I said yesterday, Biblical hope can be defined as ‘a confident and eager expectation of something good’. This isn’t the ‘if’ or ‘maybe’ of the world’s view of hope. There isn’t uncertainty about it. Biblical hope is based on the sure and certain promises of a God who is faithful to His word. Both Solomon at the beginning of his reign and Joshua at the end of his life could testify to the faithfulness of God both in their lives and the lives of others around them (see I Kings 8: 56 and Joshua 23: 14 - 15).
There are three basic ingredients to this hope - confidence, expectancy and security. It’s not a matter of believing that everything will always go well, that we will never have any problems as a Christian and that life will be a bed of roses for us. It is knowing that God is in control; that He loves us and will always be there for us.
It was the faith and confident expectation shown by three young men as they faced a furious and powerful king and a blazing fiery furnace who could say ‘the God we serve is able to save us … But even if He does not … we will not serve your gods’ (Daniel 3: 17 - 18). It was the sort of hope that sustained Jesus as He prayed to His Father that He might be spared the cross of Calvary, which enabled Him to say ‘not as I will but as You will’ (Matthew 26: 39, 42, 44).
Such hope creates within the person who has it an inner attitude of openness towards God, other people and to life. This is important because we only experience what we receive and we will only receive what we are open to.
Such hope is the foundation of our faith (Hebrews 11: 1). It makes us bold to witness (II Corinthians 3: 12). It is an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6: 19) and it is a helmet of salvation (I Thessalonians 5: 8) protecting our minds when doubt, fear and anxiety come. Such hope comes from knowing God. And so Paul writes:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15: 13)
Prayer and Action
Make the words of Romans 15: 13 written above into a personal prayer today, remembering that our God is a faithful God (I Corinthians 1: 9). Look up the other verses about hope quoted above and prayerfully meditate upon them.