A hope is a desire based on a promise of God. This promise communicates a possibility of God’s blessing to the individual and encourages the soul. If one will plant this seed into the soil of the heart, and if the soil is kept right, it will bring forth a harvest of faith. Bible hope is faith in seed form.
But first, let us define natural (every day) hope, and then look at how it differs from Bible hope.
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary – (Natural) Hope
1. A desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable; an expectation of something, which is thought to be desirable; confidence; pleasing expectancy.
2. One who, or that which, gives hope, furnishes ground of expectation, or promises desired good.
3. That which is hoped for; an object of hope.
1. To entertain or indulge hope; to cherish a desire of good, or of something welcome, with expectation of obtaining it or belief that it is obtainable; to expect; — usually followed by for.
2. To place confidence; to trust with confident expectation of good; — usually followed by in.
Natural hope may or may not have a strong foundation, and may exist only as a feeling, or mental attitude. This hope gives us a reason to go on, based a notion that the desire can be achieved. Natural hope then is based on the natural. Natural reasoning, convincing as it may seem to be, is not an absolute guarantee. In this world, a good result is never absolutely guaranteed.
Bible hope is similar to natural hope, in that it is also a belief in the possible expectation of a desire. The difference is that the foundation for Bible Hope is not founded on earthly reason, but rather on the promises given to us in the Bible from God.
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Ephesians 2:12 …remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Hope is Faith in Seed Form – Faith is Hope in Final Form
Both natural hope and Bible hope start with a desire, a longing, or a need. Add to this desire a reason for it to be expected and you have hope. Bible hope is a desire that has a corresponding promise from God. In Bible hope, the promises of God contained within the written scriptures are the foundation for this positive future expectation. The desires remain our desires, but now they have the added benefit of being a desire that is also an approved scriptural possibility. These desires are transformed into Bible hope (from now on referred to simply as ‘hope’) by the realization that they are in agreement with the will of God. We will learn later, how hope is further transformed into an object of faith by a direct and personal communication of God to our hearts. This faith will in turn transform the desire into a reality in our lives.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance (ownership, legal right) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not (yet) seen. (KJV, with additional meanings)
From Hopeless To Hope and Then To Faith
A person, who does not know Christ, is lost and without hope in the world. One day he is presented with the Gospel of hope (Bible) and he believes. He receives Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. He (Christ) is now his hope. His future is assured, but he still has physical needs in this life, one of which may be the need for a physical healing. His need for healing creates a desire in him for healing.
Learning further about the scriptures, he comes to realize that physical healing is also included within God’s salvation plan, and that he can be healed through the power and grace of God. The realization that physical healing is a Bible based possibility creates hope. Hope is the positive future expectation of receiving God’s promises fulfilled in our lives. Hope is a desire who’s answer is found in the promises of God.
John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish (desire), and it will be done for you…”
If we diligently preserver in seeking God on a matter, hope will turn to faith, and our desire to reality. Hope is the first step in our receiving ‘things’ from God. For, ‘faith is the (ownership or reality) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not (yet) seen.’
Hope is the start of the walk of faith. Hope believes you can have it someday. Faith believes that you have it now (in your heart). Hope is the possibility; faith is the surety. Faith transforms hopes into realities. Hope is the raw material from which faith builds the house. Transforming our godly desires into reality is the purpose of hope and faith.
Go Ahead and Hope Freely in God, for You Will Not Be Disappointed
Romans 5:5 “..and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
It is up to us to take our needs and desires to the God of the Bible, and seek Him through His word. Only through His word can we accurately judge our desires. Those desires that can stand the test of His word are viable candidates for reality.
Hebrew 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, (12) so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.