Where can we find true hope?
Now, as much as ever, is a time when we need a solid and certain hope. Many people have various troubles and worries. Many have been sick with Covid-19; many more are worried they might catch it. Many have worries about their job-security and others have already lost their jobs. Many, too, are lonely and isolated, unable to meet family and friends. But, though few really consider it, a greater concern than any of these is that we are sinners and must, sooner or later, appear before God. Where can we find hope that will not only help us through the troubles now, but also be solid hope that will not disappoint us when we come to die and to meet God?
The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ has the answer. Paul, writing to the Romans prays: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).
First, this teaches us there is a God that gives us hope: the “God of hope”. If we have a God who gives hope, surely this will be a hope we can depend on, in this world and in the eternal world. At the end of the verse we see that this particularly comes through the power of the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead. No one else can give us a certain hope.
Second, this hope comes through believing. In Acts, we read of a Roman prison-guard who was in despair, on the point of committing suicide, and cried out to two Christian prisoners, “What must I do to be saved?” The answer he was given turned him immediately from utmost despair to an abounding hope: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:32). How does this faith, this believing, lead to hope? This takes us back to the problem of sin. Sin is against a holy and just God, who must punish sin. The only way that we can escape this punishment is by receiving salvation from sin through Jesus Christ. Christ died, suffering the punishment due to his people because of their sins. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Not only is there hope for the eternal world, but also for here and now. The Bible is full of promises and comfort for believers. Christ makes the burdens of believers to be light (Matthew 11:28-30). God does not give hope sparingly, but rather an abundance: so we can “abound in hope”.
Third, believing also brings joy and peace. Joy and peace flow from this hope through the influence of the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace …” (Galatians 5:22). “We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). Only God can bring peace in its fullest sense: “The God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
Therefore, repent of your sins and believe the gospel. Pray to God for faith to truly believe, and then you will experience this abounding hope.