Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 12 No. 12 December 2010
Page 13

Which Hope Is Yours?

Adam B. Cozort

Adam B. CozortGenerally, when people speak of hope, they define it in the sense of wishful thinking, stating that they hope a certain thing occurs or that they receive a particular thing. Unfortunately, that mentality also bleeds over into their philosophy about biblical hope. They, then, will state that they “hope” to go to heaven or they “hope” that God will answer their prayers. These statements are also made as nothing more than wishful thinking with no certainty involved.

Thankfully, this is not the biblical teaching about “hope.” The term in the New Testament that is translated “hope” comes from the Greek word “elpis” and literally means “expectation or confidence in someone or something” (Strong’s). This is by no means similar to the earlier connotations discussed.

Biblical hope lies in confidence that something will occur, not a wish that something might occur. There is a vast difference between the two. The writer of the Book of Hebrews shows in chapters six and seven that we have a better hope available through Christ than any who had come before. This confident hope comes from the understanding that God always keeps His promises (Hebrews 6:11-19), has raised His Son from the dead to be our High Priest (Hebrews 6:20-7:18) and makes available the perfection of full salvation through our Lord (7:19).

When we understand that God, through His Word, has laid at our feet all that we need in order to have a biblical hope, there is no reason for us to be as those Paul discussed in Ephesians 2:12 when he wrote: “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Paul on another occasion stated that the things that were written beforetime were written for our learning that we might have hope (Romans 15:4).

When we have a biblical hope, that hope will sustain us no matter the difficulty. The writer of Hebrews, by inspiration, determined it to be the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19). In the letter to the Romans, it is described as that which will not make us ashamed (Romans 5:5). John wrote that the ones who truly understood the hope that we have in Christ will see to it that they purify themselves appropriately (1 John 3:2-3).

Therefore, it must be understood that when we speak of having “the hope of eternal life,” “the hope of heaven” or “hope in prayer,” it does not mean that we simply wish that these things were so. Rather, it is a statement of fact, signifying the ultimate level of confidence one can have in these things based upon the evidence made available to man through the Word of God. Which type of hope do you have?

Be at Peace

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Romans 14:19). As we begin the holiday season, the concept of peace will occupy a prominent position in public thought. Peace of mind is one of the most needed, and one of the most sought after, attributes of our society. Even the most cursory glance at the newspaper or television news reveals the lack of peace in people’s lives. This lack of peace in our world comes from a lack of genuine spirituality.

Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Disorder and confusion are the opposite of peace. They are traits that fill many people’s lives, but their origin is not of God. “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:16). Sin creates confusion and destroys peace in our own lives, in our relationship with others and especially in our relationship with God.

What is the way to find peace? The answer is Jesus. “For he himself is our peace…” (Ephesians 2:14). When we obey the Gospel and are cleansed of our sins by the blood of Christ, we can have peace. We have peace with God as our sins are forgiven. We have peace in ourselves, knowing the guilt of sin is removed. We can have peace with others, as we respond to them in love, not from sinful, selfish motives and attitudes.

So, peace is something God provides in Christ, but something as well that we must seek. The writer of the Book of Hebrews understood the need for his readers to positively respond in living the Gospel, if peace were to be a reality. Of course, those who reject God’s will, who still live in sin, cannot know God’s peace in Christ. This is why Jesus could say, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We can be at peace with Christ, which helps us deal with those who remain in sin, which creates disorder and strife.

What can we do to encourage peace in others? Let them see Christ in you. What kind of example do they see? Do you live in godliness, or do they see sin fill your heart and actions? What kind of language do you use? Do you speak kind words, or words that create strife? “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). To a large extent, how I respond to others determines whether I can find peace with others.

If I have peace through Christ, I should try to be at peace with those around me. There will be some who, by allowing sin to influence them, will refuse to know peace. However, Christ living in me should make a difference in how I respond to others, in whether or not I have, and share, peace.

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