Tuesday, October 28, 2014
What Is Bible Hope?
ROMANS 8:24 NASB
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?
When the word "hope" was used in the New Testament, it meant something different than the word "hope" as we use it today. Today when we use the word "hope" we usually mean something which is only a desire or a wish -- not something we are actually expecting.
Most Bible teaching on faith and hope uses this modern meaning of hope, instead of the Bible meaning. And that has made it difficult for us to understand the Bible teaching on hope and faith.
In the New Testament the word hope means "a positive expectation." It is a positive image of what we actually expect in the future. Hope always deals with the future, never the past.
Because what we hope for is always in the future, that means it cannot be seen yet. Remember, Romans 8:24 says, "hope that is seen is not hope."
The only way humans can "see" anything that has not yet happened is by using our imagination. So there is no possibility of Bible hope without involving our imagination. To hope, we must use our imagination.
Fear is actually the opposite of Bible hope. Bible hope is a positive expectation based on and supported by a belief in God's Word. Fear is a negative expectation based on and supported by a belief in something bad. Both involve the imagination, the seeing part of our thinking, the ability to visualize something before it happens.
Faith in God produces Bible hope – expecting good to happen. Faith in bad things produces fear – expecting bad to happen. Faith is the support, the foundation, the underlying thing under both hope and fear.
You cannot have hope (which is a positive vision of what you expect) without faith (which is a choice to believe) in something. You cannot have fear (which is a negative vision of what you expect) without faith (which is a choice to believe) in something bad.
Our beliefs are the foundation, the solid footing which support our hopes or fears, and enable them to exist. So when your beliefs change, your hopes and fears will also change.
All your beliefs are a choice you made at some point in time, allowing them to become part of your belief system, which provides the basis for your hopes or your fears.
Many think Bible faith is an attitude, outlook, or state. But those describe Bible hope. Faith is primarily a decision, based on evidence we judge worthy of being acted upon.
A literal meaning of Hebrews 11:1 is "Faith (in God) is the support for our hoping, a refutation of things, not coming from the senses." (Hebrews 11:1 does not give a definition of faith, although it seems like it in our English translations. It simply tells us something faith does, which is to give support for our positive expectation of the future.)
So our faith in God undergirds our hope. The foundation upon which our hope rests is faith in God. We expect (and imagine, of necessity) good things to happen because of our faith in God.
SAY THIS: Bible hope is a positive expectation based on a decision to accept God's Word as truth.
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