guest post by Nancy Golden
We have celebrated Easter and in a few weeks will celebrate our Lord Jesus’ ascension to heaven. As we await the eventual return of Jesus with excitement and anticipation, we are filled with hope. What a joy it is to be a Christ-follower! As we travel through life as temporary inhabitants of this world, we know where our true citizenship lies.
Biblical hope is much different from how we usually use the word “hope” in our day-to-day conversations. Have you ever said, “I hope to get a raise” or “I hope we can go to the beach on vacation next year” or “I hope they have that shirt in my size”? All of those statements imply uncertainty – there is no guarantee that what the person is hoping for will be available.
Biblical hope is not the same. It is not based on circumstances, but rather on the promises and character of God. This hope is not a wishful, uncertain desire, but a confident certainty and a blessed assurance for those who follow Christ. It is the hope we have in Jesus as our Risen Lord, who has overcome death.
[su_quote]Biblical hope is not based on circumstances, but rather on the promises and character of God.[/su_quote] Paul writes in Romans 5:3-4 (NASB), “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;” Where we translate ‘hope,’ Paul uses the Greek word ἐλπίς [elpis] in this verse, which more closely aligns with ‘anticipation’ or ‘expectation’. While we travel through the difficulties of a broken world, we are joyful because we have hope — a confident expectation — of eternal salvation. So as we anticipate the coming of our Lord, we also look back to the Resurrection and we are filled with joy at the hope we have in him. Remember, we don’t sing ‘Blessed Uncertainty’ – we sing ‘Blessed Assurance’!
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Francis J. Crosby : The United Methodist Hymnal 369
Each day we move through our daily tasks where opportunities arise to engage with the people in our community – family members, neighbors, co-workers, those who work in the stores we frequent. Be spiritually discerning – it may be the perfect time to share the biblical hope ἐλπίς [elpis] you have with others, so that they too can receive the blessed assurance we have in Christ!
Learn how to make in-depth observations, interpret Scripture accurately, and faithfully apply the Bible to your life in Nancy’s upcoming course, How to Study the Bible, beginning on May 7.
Nancy Golden has a passion for sharing her faith and a heart for people of “every tribe and language and people and nation.” She is an adjunct faculty member at Dallas Christian College and the author of The Second Greatest Commandment Meets the Great Commission: How to Love Your Neighbors to Christ (HIS Publishing Group, 2013). Nancy is a certified lay servant and member of First United Methodist Church in Carrollton, Texas, where she teaches Sunday School and has served on the evangelism and discipleship committees.