HOPE THOU IN GOD
By John C. Carpenter
 
The psalmist wrote, As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. Why art thou cast down [bent down, sunk, depressed], O my soul? And why art thou disquieted [causing or allowing great commotion or tumult] in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance (Psalms 42:1-5). In verse 5 of our subject verses, the word “hope” is transated from the Hebrew word “yaw-chal,” which means to be patient, have hope, stay, tarry, trust, or wait.” Biblically and spiritually speaking, what does it mean to “hope in God?”
 
THE HOPE OF SALVATION
 
In the New Testament, the word “hope” has several different meanings. When thinking about hope, the first question we must ask is, “what is hoped for?” New Testament scriptures give us several answers. In the book of Acts, the apostle Paul, after finding himself under attack from Jewish leaders, gave us one answer: But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question (Acts 23:6). Paul clarified to the Jewish leaders that the hope he had was in the resurrection of the dead. The apostle elsewhere explained that hope sometimes referred to the joyful expectation of honoring and praising God: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope [joyful anticipation and expectation] of the glory [dignity, honor, praise, worship] of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom 5:1-5). Arguing the validity of, as well as hope in, the resurrection of the dead, Paul explained to Corinthian believers, For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.If in this life only we have hope in Christ [and which does not also include a hope in the resurrection of the dead], we are of all men most miserable (1 Cor 15:16-19). Biblical hope also refers to righteousness. Arguing for righteousness by faith rather than works of the law, Paul wrote those in Galatia, Stand fast therefore in the liberty [freedom from having to keep the law to be righteous] wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [to having to keep all the law]. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised [depend on keeping the Jewish law in order to be considered righteous by God], Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love (Gal 5:1-6). Paul, explaining that the hope of believers should also be in the gospel of Christ, wrote Colossian believers,For it pleased the Father that in him [Christ] should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace [with God the Father] through the blood of his cross [His death], by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel [the good news of salvation through faith in Christ and His death and resurrection], which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister (Col 1:19-23). Holy Scripture instructs us about another hope that the believer in Christ should have, the hope of being in Christ's presence:For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy (1 Thess 2:19-20). Paul also taught about the hope of salvation and eternal life. To the Thessalonian believer he wrote, Therefore let us not sleep [be unaware], as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation (1 Thess 5:6-8), and to Titus he wrote, Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began (Titus 1:1-2). And, lastly, in his letter to the elect strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Peter explained Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God (1 Pet 1:18-21). The believer in Christ is not only entitled, but expected, to hope in resurrection, the glory of God, righteousness through faith, the good news of salvation available through Christ, salvation and eternal life, to be in the presence of Jesus Christ and God the Father, and in God and His nature, love, promises, and salvation.
 
CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY
 
A second question we should ask is, “who is this hope centered in?” Scriptures, again, give us the answer. Paul explained to believers in Colossae, ...I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even [specifically] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:25-27), and to the church in Thessalonica, We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father (1 Thes 1:2-3). Paul also wrote a letter to the apostle Timothy, in which he, again, explained who the hope of the Christian is centered in: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope (1 Tim 1:1).
 
EVERLASTING CONSOLATION AND GOOD HOPE
 
A third question about hope we must ask is: “why should believers in Christ have hope?” In talking with king Agrippa, Paul explained, And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise [of resurrection of the dead and eternal life] made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? (Acts 26:6-8). One reason for hoping in resurrection and eternal life is that God the Father has promised it. Roman believers were given a second reason for hope: Now the God of [who instigates] hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Rom 15:13). The apostle Paul clarified and taught that, through the moving and power of the Holy Spirit, the Christian has been filled by God with belief and hope. Something that God the Father has filled the believer with should not be ignored. To explain a third reason for hope, Paul wrote the church in Ephesus,Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints (Eph 1:15-18). The Father of Glory has enlightened the saints to understand that they should have hope because He has called and invited them to an eternal inheritance of glory. Paul gave yet another reason for hope when he wrote the Collosian believers that they should have hope because salvation and eternal life have been appointed and reserved for the saints: We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up [appoined, reserved] for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel (Col 1:3-5). Hope is also possible because God, through His grace, has given it to believers in Christ: Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good [beneficial] hope through grace (2 Thess 2:16).
 
SEEING THEN THAT WE HAVE SUCH HOPE
 
There are other aspects of hope that we should examine. While suffering imprisonment as a result of his ministry, Paul explained to Jewish leaders that not only believers in Christ should have hope, but that the nation of Israel, the Jews, should have hope as well: that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain (Acts 28:20). Explaining the relationship of hope to tribulation, Paul wrote Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom 5:1-5). He also explained some of the dynamics God the Father uses to bring about hope and salvation. Paul wrote, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature [mankind] was made subject to vanity [emptiness and profitlessness of life], not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom 16-21). God the Father forcefully subjected mankind to the emptiness and vanity of life in order to bring hope of salvation, as well as salvation itself.
 
While contrasting our current understanding with our eternal understanding, and the importance of having hope now, Paul explained to believers in Corinth, For now [currently, in this life] we see through a glass, darkly [our understanding is unclear and distorted]; but then [when we see Christ and eternity] face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth [continuing with our current understanding, we are limited to] faith,hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (1 Cor 13:12-13). In contrasting the past glory of the law, which resulted in condemnation and death, to the current and future glory of the working of the Holy Spirit, which will result in righteousness and eternal life [described in verse 10 by Paul as the “glory that excelleth” over the law], the apostle Paul responded, For if that [ministration of the Jewish law] which is done away was glorious, much more that [ministration of the Holy Spirit] which remaineth is glorious.Seeing then that we have such hope [of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, righteousness, and eternal life], we use great plainness of speech (2 Cor 3:11-12).
 
Scriptures teach us that not only are there individuals who have no hope, but there are also individuals who have had hope, but lost it. Paul explained: Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision [described as unbelievers, unholy, and unsaved] by that which is called the Circumcision [the Jews] in the flesh made by hands; 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: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Eph 2:11-13).
 
Hope of salvation and glory can also be lost. Regarding loss of hope, Paul warned the Colossian church, And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister (Col 1:21-23). Also warning about loss of hope, the author of the book of Hebrews instructs us: Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Heb 3:1-6). The author later added, And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Heb 6:11-12).
 
HOPE THOU IN GOD, TO THE END
 
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote to the strangers and elect scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:13). It is God the Father, through the movement and operation of His powerful Holy Spirit, and the life, death, burial, and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ, who makes hope of resurrection, eternal life and glory possible to those who believe on His son. All of this instruction regarding hope that God the Father has given us in the Holy Scriptures can be summed up in just seven short words: hope thou in God, to the endAMEN.

 

 

 

 

 


 


 
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"A Psalm of
David. The LORD is my light and
my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is
the strength of
my life; of
whom shall I
be afraid?
(Psa 27:1)





 
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