A Living Hope
The word hope as used in everyday language means little more than a wish but in the New Testament it often has a much stronger meaning.
It is used in connection with assurance of salvation and in this context it denotes a confident anticipation of eternal life founded upon the promises of God whose word cannot be broken. In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, Titus 1:2 1 Peter 1:3.
Hope or assurance begins when we believe, 1 John 5:10, and is to be experienced in an increasing measure. 1 John 5:13 Rom 15:13.
It comes through:
- The truth of the word of God. Rom 15:4
- The witness of the Holy Spirit. Rom 15:13
- The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3 1 Peter 3:21
- Eternal security of those who are kept by the power of God 1 Peter 1:4,5
"Oh love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in Thee
that in the ocean of Thy love
life may richer fuller be"
- The promise to the seed of Abraham
Those who are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus are heirs according to promise. Gal 3:26-29 Gal 4:7.
All true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are the spiritual seed of Abraham and the promise of eternal salvation is sure to all the seed.
- The unchangeableness of God
God’s purpose in regard to our hope of salvation through His promise is that we should know two unchangeable things; 1) the immutability of His counsel and 2) His oath to perform His promise Heb 6:16-20
"His oath, His covenant are sure"
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. Rom 4:16
In Hebrews 6:9-12, after a solemn warning against coming very near the kingdom of God and yet not entering it, those believers who were manifesting “the things that accompany salvation” are encouraged to be diligent about obtaining a full assurance of hope.
But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Contrary to some false teaching, it will not make us spiritually lazy. Rather it will make us imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Laying hold on this hope
Believers are to lay hold of this hope in order to be greatly encouraged Heb 6:18.
In order to do this we need first of all to examine ourselves, and see whether or not we have the "things that accompany salvation" Heb 6:9
The Bible gives a number of characteristics of those who have been born of God (See Evidences of the New Birth)
If God has begun a good work in us we can be sure that He will complete it. Phil 1:6
Hope is to be used as a helmet of salvation. 1 Thes 5:8 Eph 6:17.
Hope purifies. 1 John 3:2-3.
Believers have a hope reserved in heaven. Col 1:5 1 Peter 1:4
See also Rom 5:2-5 Eph 1:18 1 Peter 1:13.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom 15:13