Hope. Often times when we talk about hope it’s regarding something that could possibly come to pass. Like how I hope the Mets win the World Series this year, but I actually don’t have a clue if that will happen. People play the lottery with hopes that the numbers they picked will actually be the ones that pop out of the little machine. The odds are they won’t, but “Hey, you never know.” Do we really want the catch phrase of our faith and hope to be “hey, you never know”? The good thing is, it isn’t.
Gospel Hope Provides Confidence
A hope rooted in the gospel is a confident hope. The very meaning of gospel is “good news.” News is something that has happened. It’s not advice, it’s not a prediction. It is a declaration. The good news is that the battle against sin and darkness has been won. Christ defeated death in the grave, and he rose victorious! And he promised that His eternal perfect, redeemed kingdom is coming! We can trust that promise. We can be confident in what Christ has accomplished. We don’t look forward saying “hey, you never know.” We do know!
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19-20
Gospel Hope Provides Comfort
A confident hope is a hope that provides a great deal of comfort throughout the trials in our lives. In 1st and 2nd Peter, the apostle addresses churches that are on the verge of serious persecution. They weren’t only going to face ridicule, they were going to experience brutal violence and death. But Peter encourages and comforts them with the hope of the gospel.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-7
Gospel Hope Produces Joy
Hope firmly planted in the gospel brings us joy. R.C. Sproul describes the difference between happiness and joy this way: “Happiness tends to include a notion of contentment and satisfaction along with, perhaps, feelings of joy. Joy suggests something more intense—a strong feeling of gladness.” Joy goes far deeper than surface contentment and satisfaction (though those are good things). We can experience joy in the midst of both happiness and sadness. We can rejoice in our hope that one day this broken world we see around us will be perfectly restored, “and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
Gospel Hope Fuels Praise
Ultimately, our hope in the gospel should point us back to giver of hope. Hope is not produced by anything we’ve done ourselves. We place our hope on God and His sovereign saving and sustaining power. And as a result, we take that hope and turn it back to praise! We worship the One who alone is worthy to receive honor and glory. We live on mission sharing the hope of the gospel not so others might know us and follow us, but that they might see and savor Christ! That they would repent of sin, receive forgiveness, turn to Christ, and rejoice in gospel hope.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-12
Where is your hope?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13