Bible Truth Examiner

Graces of Christian Character

HOPE

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he

yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

 

Romans 8: 24, 25

 

The Bible uses hope in two senses: (1) the quality of heart and mind whereby one desires and

expects some future good, as in Psalm 31: 24: “Be of good courage . . . all ye that hope in the

LORD.” Note that one needs both desire and expectation; and (2) the thing or things one desires

and expects, as in Hebrews 6: 18, which mentions those “who have fled for refuge to lay hold

upon the hope set before us.”

 

Hope’s Threefold Foundation

 

The Christian’s hope is not a soap bubble; instead, it has a solid threefold foundation:

 

(1.) God’s Oath-bound promise (Genesis 22: 17) (Hebrews 6: 13-20). God knows our weak and

fallen nature, and that we would need strong consolation, so He has given us His oath that He

will keep His promise to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us

(verses 17 and 18).

 

This hope is “an anchor of the soul” (verse 19). The Christian is here pictured as a ship, which

has an anchor – our hope. The chain holding the anchor is the promise and oath. Faith holds the

chain to the ship – the Christian.

 

(2.) Christ’s High-Priestly ministry, who has, or is doing seven things for us: (1) He consecrated

His humanity unto death as a sacrifice, to make us acceptable to the Heavenly Father; (2) He

developed a character that would enable Him to be a merciful and faithful High Priest

(Hebrews 2: 17, 18); (3) He imputes His merit on our behalf, giving us a positive righteousness

in God’s eyes; (4) He enables us to receive all the help from God that we need to overcome; (5)

He teaches us what we need to believe and do, and what not to believe and do; (6) He gives us

opportunities to serve God; and (7) He enables us to develop a Christlike character.

 

(3.) The holy spirit, which God gives to those who consecrate their lives to Him. God’s spirit

enables us to develop a character similar to that of the Father and the Son.

 

Hope’s Functions

 

Hope’s particular function is to encourage, to make us strong to do and dare for the Lord; and its

general function is to help develop and support us in every good word and work, and against

every evil word and work. It helps us to cleanse ourselves from filthiness of the flesh and spirit;

it helps us to be more loving to the Father, to the Son, to the brethren, to the world and to our

enemies; and it helps all our other Christian graces.

 

Hope’s Trial

 

Like all our other character graces, hope must be tested. Untoward circumstances that naturally

tend to crush hope are permitted to test it. Under such circumstances Satan seeks to turn it into

despair and wreck it; but the Lord’s intention in permitting such tests is to refine and purify our

hope.

 

Our faults and failures are perhaps the hardest tests on hope. Satan never wearies in bringing

these to our attention, by seeking to convince us that it would be impossible for us with such

faults and failures to overcome, and become fit for a place in God’s Kingdom and its privileges.

 

At such times, we are to be fully convinced that we are unable to overcome in our own strength;

but to be as fully convinced that the Lord, through Jesus’ ministry, is an all-sufficient helper in

all tests. This assurance will enable us to stand the trial of hope.

 

Hope’s Results

 

Hope enables us to perform deeds that will delight and honor God and Christ and serve the cause

that They are advancing. Hope helps us to gain results in our own development as Christians.

Hope helps us to build up our fellow Christians, to give a testimony to the world, to assist us to

endure trials and to prepare us for a place in God’s Kingdom. It will play a large part in

animating Christ and the Church in Their work of uplifting the world, in bringing about the

complete overthrow of evil and the triumph of good.

 

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