For a believer in Christ, a loss of hope is a very deep devastatingly painful place to be. I experienced this pain I believe in May of 2011. Honestly, it scared me. Once I realized the source of this darkness, the loss of hope, I was able work thru it. I was open about this painful experience here on my blog entry titled: How I almost allowed my hope to be murdered.
Thing is I KNEW what I had in jeopardy, therefore my heart ached. But how do you give hope to someone who has never known hope? Real hope. I am not talking about a positive attitude. I am not talking about acting happy so that eventually you will believe you are. I am not talking about “expecting blessings”. I am not talking about “just having faith.” Having an active faith does NOT give you hope. Hope is not faith and faith is not hope. Oh so often they are interchanged flippantly. Real faith legitimizes our hope. So I am left asking then, can one that does not have faith experience hope as a believer knows it? What kind of hope then can we give the unbelieving sick, the unbelieving dying, the unbelieving hopeless?
So lets get to the root of the definition issue, then we can move further. Pistis is the Greek word used for faith in the New Testament. Acts 17:31 it is used as trustworthy evidence. It is also used like a solemn promise, 1Tim 5:12. In some passages it is used to refer to the doctrine one believes, “to contend for the faith” (Jd 3, 20) . Another worth mentioning is pistis is used to express trust in God (Rm 4:9,11-13, 16; Heb 11:4-33,39). This is where I believe hope and faith get muddled together. Lastly pistis is used in context of having reliance on the Lord’s power over nature, Illness, and spiritual powers (Mt 8:10, Mk 2:5, & Lk 8:25).
But I would like to also mention Faith as the spiritual gift. It is the 3rd gift mentioned by Paul in the book of 1st Corinthians (v12:9). Hope is never mentioned as a spiritual gift. Any believer exercised faith when we accepted Jesus as our personal savior. We recognized that we are saved by grace through faith, and we used that faith by entrusting our lives to Jesus Christ. As Christians, we all share a common faith in our Savior, and in His promises to deliver us from eternal punishment. However I believe that the gift of faith is something quite uncommon. Therefore does not apply in this discussion.
Hope is in it’s rawest form, trust. If you hope the surgery goes well; you are putting trust in the surgeon, that persons ability to heal. If you are in a desperate financial situation you may put all your hope in getting your home refinanced so you will have funds until you can find proper employment. You are putting your trust in that financial institution.
Hope in it’s purest form is a hope that is found to be so much more deep. It is unfailing. Placing your trust in people will surly disappoint you. People are fail-able. People will fail you. You already have and will fail someone. We can only have an unfailing hope as long as we have faith. Faith in our Lord, of our Lord, legitimizes our hope in Him. If we have hope in Him we will never have a hope that fails.
OUR FAITH IN JESUS LEGITIMIZES OUR HOPE
Hope is faith directed towards the future.It is a total assurance regarding the fulfillment of God’s promises. These promises could be the promises of taking care of the everyday issues, to the reassurement of Jesus’ grand and triumphant return. We are reminded that until the kingdom comes in its fullness, we can only have an assured hop; we must “walk by faith, not by sight” (2nd Cor 5:7) This is a hope that is NOT unfounded nor groundless. The FOUNDATION for hope is in the Godhead.
For the grace of God has appeared with salvation. For all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works. Titus 2:11-14 HCSB
Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure. 1John 3:1-3 HCSB
Therefore, in order for a person to come to a point where they have a real hope, an unfailable hope….They MUST have faith in Christ. Otherwise, your illegitimate hope WILL fail you.