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Theology > Salvation > Work of Salvation > Glorification > Hope


Without hope life is without meaning. If there is only this life, then what is the point, the purpose, the value, the reason for living? Ethics are meaningless, and civility has no merit. It is simply survival with no standard and no objective guide. Man’s lot is miserable, and he has no means by which even to critique it as such.

Regarding hope there are two possibilities: false hope and true hope. There is a humanistic hope and a Theistic hope. There is a hope that arises from human optimism, with its selfish desire for something more satisfying—a hope that is totally self-serving and self-protecting—the survival of the fittest. In contrast to this humanism there is a hope that invades the mind from without the mind; in other words, it is a hope brought to the individual by grace. And only the recipient of grace possesses this true hope.

Hope is the mindset of the believer as he makes his pilgrimage through the earth. Hope is  motivation and encouragement; hope is the confidence that something better is ahead, therefore, perseverance and endurance will be worth the effort in the end. Hope is consistent with the conviction that life is ethical and that there is a judgment. Hope is the believer’s focus on God who alone is responsible for the telos. Hope is waiting confidently and expectantly for God to act; it is the assurance that He will act. God is “the God of hope” (Rom. 15:13), and the psalmist affirms: “You are my hope, O Lord God” (Ps. 71:5). True hope is anchored in Biblical Theism.

Hope is Christological and Soteriological, meaning it is related to Christ and His Work. Paul speaks of “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (I Tim. 1:1); and he speaks of “the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:23), the Gospel being the work of Christ. Apart from Christ the individual has “no hope” (Eph. 2:12). Without Christ there is no possibility of true hope, but with Him there arises hope because He is Lord.

Hope is anchored in the Gospel and exists because of the Gospel. With the initiation of salvation in the life—the application of the Gospel to the individual—hope arises within the believer, a hope implanted by God. Thus, true hope is always from God and is mediated to man because of the Person and Work of Christ.

In order to hope one must know God and His Word, and also must believe the Gospel. The apostle calls this a “a living hope” (I Pet. 1:3) and admonishes the believer to “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (I Pet. 3:15). To possess the living hope, the true hope, is to know that one is numbered with the redeemed. It is to be the recipient of grace; it is to be blessed.

Hope is eschatological; it is the focus of faith on the future—it is “the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18). Hope is the abiding confidence and expectation that God will act in the future to right wrong and to make things better, to make all things new. Paul writes: “for we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith” (Gal. 5:5); it is “hope of eternal life” (Tit. 1:2).

Faith is “the substance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1), meaning that which cannot be seen and that which belongs to the future becomes assured and real in the present through personal faith. And all of this “substance” is the content of the “hope,” without which the individual reveals that he is not a believer.

Glorification is the fulfillment of hope; that which has been a foretaste will become a full reality at the last day. Paul speaks of “this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27; see: I Jo. 3:1-3). Hope will be realized. The believer must “lay hold of the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18), and the follower of Christ is always “looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13).

At the last day grace will be manifest, manifest in all of its glory and accomplishment; we are instructed to “rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:13). The full realization of grace is “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven” (Col. 1:5) and we are finally and fully “saved in this hope” (Rom. 8:24). "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable" (I Cor. 15:19).

The psalmist hoped in the Lord and waited upon Him, and in his writings he provides the perspective that is to characterize the believer:

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy (Ps.  33:18);

I have hoped in Your ordinances (Ps. 119:43);

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope (Ps. 130:5);

O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever (Ps. 131:3);

The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy (Ps. 147:11);

Also see: Ps. 25:3, 5, 21; 33:20; note the word “wait”; to hope is to “wait.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His abundant mercy
has begotten us again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the death.
I Pet. 1:3

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