Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, as in “I hope something will happen.” This is not what the Bible means by hope. The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.” Hope is a firm assurance regarding the things that God has promised (Romans 8:24-25; Hebrews 11:1). Hope is a fundamental component of the life of the righteous (Proverbs 23:18). Without hope, life loses its meaning (Lamentations 3:18; Job 7:6). The righteous who trust or put their hope in God will be helped (Psalm 28:7), and they will not be confounded, put to shame, or disappointed (Isaiah 49:23). The righteous, who put their hope in God, have a general confidence in His protection and help (Jeremiah 29:11), and are free from fear and anxiety (Psalm 46:2-3).
The New Testament idea of hope includes the recognition that the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises is found in Christ (Matthew 12:21; 1 Peter 1:3). Christian hope is rooted in faith in the divine salvation in Christ (Galatians 5:5), and is brought into being through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:24-25). It includes the future hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6), the redemption of the body and of the whole creation (Romans 8:23-25), eternal glory (Colossians 1:27), eternal life and the inheritance of the saints (Titus 3:5-7), the return of Christ (Titus 2:11-14), transformation into the likeness of Christ (1 John 3:2-3), and the salvation of God (1 Timothy 4:10)—which are all found in Christ Himself (1 Timothy 1:1).
The certainty of this blessed future is guaranteed through the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:26), the indwelling of the Spirit (Romans 8:23-25), and Christ in us (Colossians 1:27). Hope is refined by endurance through suffering (Romans 5:2-5) and is the inspiration behind faithfulness (1 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 6:11). Those who hope in Christ will see Christ exalted in life and in death (Philippians 1:20). Trustworthy promises from God give us hope (Hebrews 6:18-19), confident hope (Hebrews 3:6), and great boldness in our faith (2 Corinthians 3:12). By contrast, those who do not place their trust in God are said to be without hope (Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Along with faith and love, hope is an enduring virtue of the Christian life (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love springs from hope (Colossians 1:4-5). Hope produces joy and peace in believers through the power of the Spirit (Romans 12:12; 15:13). Paul attributes his apostolic calling to the hope of eternal glory (Titus 1:1-2). Hope in the return of Christ is the basis for believers to purify themselves in this life (Titus 2:11-14, 1 John 3:3).
Do you have the Christian’s hope?