Monday, December 3, 2018

"Hoping So" or "Hoping In"?

Two different uses of "hope" that mark two different kinds of people

As we are in our first week in Advent and thinking about "hope" as it relates to the promised coming of a Savior, I'm reminded that we use this word in very different ways.

When I say, "I hope so," I'm usually expressing a wish or perhaps and uncertainty about what is coming. I want it to happen, but I'm not sure it will happen. So I "hope" it will.

But the hope we talk about with the coming of Jesus, or the salvation he has provided, has nothing to do with an uncertain wish--it is the expression of a confidence about the future that is based on the believability or certainty of the object.

As a great example, my hope in Christ is not that "I hope he will save me," because I know that he saves the one who believes on him and calls upon his name (Acts 16:31, Romans 10:13). I know that he knows me and will never let me go (John 10:27-30). He will save me. My hope is the assurance that, as good or bad as the present may look, as powerful as evil may seem, and as final as death presents itself to be, Jesus has promised me a future. It is with him, in a place he is preparing, and it involves not only the forgiveness of sins that I have received, but the removal of any effects of sin that were a result of the Fall. It involves resurrection from this dying (and someday dead) body into a glorified, immortal body. It includes final victory over all God's enemies, the ability to stand before God's throne and be justified then (as I am now), and to enter into an eternally glorious existence in a totally remade New Heaven and Earth. This hope is what I receive in Christ.

A "hope so" faith isn't really faith at all, is it? What we are offered in Jesus is a hope--a promise--of much more than I deserve, could imagine, or ever obtain on my own. Place your faith in the Savior of the world, and you no longer have to have a "hope so" approach to your future!