Hope and faith
In our first teaching on hope, we shared that hope is included as one of the three theological virtues mentioned in Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three.” (1 Cor. 13:13, KJV). Our faith becomes a key ingredient with hope and love to offer us peace, guidance, and unwavering hope. It provides us strength and solace in time of uncertainty. This is true not because we are “optimistic”, but we believe that God is truly in control regardless of the circumstances we face.
Paul admonished the young Christian converts of Thessalonica (as he does for us today) to arm themselves with these key virtues that will withstand dangers, toils, and strife they might face in this fallen world. Paul wanted to help believers look not only to their present situation but also to their secure future in eternity.
But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. (1 Thess. 5:8, NLT)
The Apostle Peter shared this same message to God’s elect that had been scattered because of persecution. He encouraged them to persevere in a “lively hope” because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3). He told them: “Gird up the loins of your mind and rest your hope fully upon the GRACE that is revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 1:13). That “revelation” came and still comes through the Holy Spirit.
Hope and the Holy Spirit
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace In believing (as you trust in Him) that you may abound (overflow) in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13)
This verse is a benedictory prayer. A benedictory prayer is a short blessing given at the conclusion of public worship. Paul begins by recognizing and acknowledging God as the true source of hope. He then adds that his readers will be filled with joy and peace. Joy relates to the delight of anticipation and seeing one’s hopes fulfilled. Peace results from the assurance that God will fulfill those hopes. As a result, believers overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The achievement of all God’s purposes for his children come from the power given by the Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit instills hope in believers by:
- Reassurance of God’s Love: The Holy Spirit pours God’s love into the hearts of believers, providing a steadfast foundation for hope. This love is unconditional and everlasting, providing security and assurance even in the face of trials and tribulations. (Rom. 5:5)
- Guiding and Strengthening Faith: The Holy Spirit strengthens believers’ faith, enabling them to trust in God’s promises and plans. This faith is the source of hope, as it allows believers to anticipate God’s goodness and believe in the fulfillment of His promises. (Heb. 11:1)
- Empowering for Perseverance: The Holy Spirit empowers believers with resilience and perseverance, enabling them to endure challenges and maintain hope amid difficulties. This empowerment allows believers to overcome obstacles and keep moving forward towards God’s purpose. (Gal.5:22-23)
- Revealing God’s Plan: The Holy Spirit unveils God’s plan and purpose for believers’ lives, providing a clear direction and motivation for hope. This understanding of God’s plan instills hope for the future, as believers see how their present struggles fit into God’s overarching design. (Eph. 1:17-18)
- Interceding in prayer: The Holy Spirit intercedes for believers in prayer, expressing their deepest yearnings and hopes to God. This intercession ensures that believers hopes are aligned with God’s will and that their prayers are heard and answered. (Rom. 8: 26-27).
The Holy Spirit serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path forward and guiding believers toward the fulfillment of God’s promises. Hope, anchored in the Holy Spirit’s presence, becomes a source of strength, resilience, and unwavering faith, enabling believers to navigate the challenges of life with confidence and anticipation of God’s goodness.
For hope to be real in our life, it is important that we are intentional in claiming that which Christ has obtained for us through His sacrificial death and powerful resurrection. We know that as believers in Christ we live continually in the presence of God who is the great I AM. It is God who provides us with what we need for the challenges we face (Isa. 43:2). Want to keep hope alive? Believe in God!