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God is Hope
Characteristics of God, God is a Provider
At the end of the Self-Control study, we learned that one way to find motivation to pursue positive change in our life is because we can look to God to provide hope. The word “hope” can be used as either a noun or a verb. In our society, we almost always use “hope” as a verb: I hope I get that gift I want for Christmas. I hope I get a good grade on the test. I hope I have enough money to pay my bills this month.
In contrast, the Bible almost always uses “hope” as a noun: I put my hope in God.
When I looked up the definition of hope in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the definition for the verb form of hope was “to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true.” This is about wishing or wanting. In contrast, the definition for the noun form of hope was “desire accompanied by expectation or belief in fulfillment.” This is more than just wanting or wishing. This comes with an element of expectation or belief. This is the hope that God provides—a hope that provides confidence that he will fulfill his promises.
With these definitions in mind, let’s look at hope as a characteristic of God. We’ll first look at hope as it pertains to God the Father (the intended focus of this study). Then we’ll touch a bit on hope related to God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. We’ll end with a section that discusses how this pertains to us as Christians.
Hope as a Characteristic of God the Father
As I looked up verses related to hope, the primary focus of many verses was that God is the source of hope. God is the one in whom we place our hope.
Psalm 25:5: Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 39:7: “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
Psalm 71:5: For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
If God is our source of hope, that begs the question: Why is God the source of hope? Why should we place our hope in him? The Bible gives us several reasons.
1. Unfailing Love
As Christians, we put our hope in God because God has unfailing love for his people.
Psalm 33:18: But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:10-11: 10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Notice the type of people who see God’s unfailing love as a source of hope: those who fear him. God watches over those who fear him. He delights in their obedience. Although God loves all of his creation, he pays special attention to those who follow him, and he loves them with unfailing love. This is the reason we put our hope in God.
Along with God’s unfailing love, we have hope in God because we know that he is faithful.
Lamentations 3:21-23: 21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Hebrews 10:23: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Whatever God has promised, we know that he will do. He will not abandon us or fail us. He will not go back on his word. Because of this, we can have hope.
3. God’s Word
A third reason we put our hope in God is because God gives us his word.
Psalm 119:74: May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:114: You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
God’s word is our primary source for learning about who God is. As we read God’s word, we find unending reasons to put our hope in him.
The fourth reason we put our hope in God is because God is a source of protection.
Psalm 62:5-6: 5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
God provides rest, he provides a place to hide from attacks, he saves us. Because of God’s protection, we can stand firm when the enemy attacks.
Finally, we put our hope in God because he redeems us. The Bible tells us that we are sinners (Romans 3:23), and the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The only way that we can have that penalty removed from us is to have someone redeem us. God has redeemed us by paying the redemption price with the life of his Son, Jesus.
Psalm 130:7-8: 7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
Those are some convincing reasons why we should place our hope in God. But hope comes with a catch too. Hope comes with waiting. If we had the thing we hoped for now, we would no longer need to hope. The whole point of hope is that it applies to something in the future—something we don’t have yet.
Psalm 33:20: We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
Micah 7:7: But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.
Romans 8:24-25: 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
As we hope, we wait. We wait for God to do what he has promised to do. What exactly are we waiting for? We’ll learn that in the next section.
Hope in Jesus Christ
As we read the Bible, we learn that we are waiting with hopeful expectation for two things: spending eternity with God in heaven and Jesus’ second coming.
Jesus Christ Gives Us Hope for Eternity
God sent Jesus to earth to pay the price for our sins. If we believe in Jesus, he will wipe away those sins and present us before God as blameless, and we will spend eternity in heaven with God. This is made clear in Colossians 1:3-5, 22-23, 27:
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel.
22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This promise of eternity with God is one of the reasons we have hope.
Jesus Christ Gives Us Hope for His Second Coming
Another reason we have hope in Jesus is that the Bible promises that eventually, Jesus will return to this earth to claim his own and to finally defeat sin and Satan once and for all. The following verses tell us that this second coming is a reason to place our hope in Jesus Christ:
Titus 2:12-14: 12 It [the grace of God] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
1 Peter 1:3, 13: 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
I like the phrasing in 1 Peter 1:13—we are to “set your hope” on God’s grace that will be revealed at Jesus’ second coming. This isn’t something that happens automatically. This is intentional. We must be intentional about keeping this future day that we wait for in mind as we live our lives. This hope causes us to continue in our faith and in obedience to God.
How can we be intentional about focusing on living our lives in expectation of Jesus’ second coming? That answer comes through the Holy Spirit.
Hope Through the Holy Spirit
The third part of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is the gift that God has given Christians to provide the power we need to live a life that is pleasing to God. One way that the Holy Spirit helps us is by giving us the power of hope.
Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:5: For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.
On our own, we don’t have the power to continually hope and wait for God to do his final work in this world. But through the Holy Spirit, we can hold on to hope each day that we will eventually be made righteous.
How Does Hope in God Affect My Life?
We’ve seen through this lesson that God is our source of hope, and the reason we have hope is because we are waiting for God’s promise to be fulfilled—for Jesus to return and for us to spend eternity in heaven with him. We have the ability to hold on to this hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. So how does this knowledge affect our lives? I found three answers to this question, although I’m sure there are many more!
Hope in God Gives Us a Reason to Strive for Purity
We saw in earlier verses that as Christians, our goal in life is to live upright and godly lives that are pleasing to God. The hope we have in God and his ultimate fulfillment of his promises provide the reason to continue in this effort.
1 Timothy 4:10: That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
1 John 3:2-3: 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
This striving for purity can often feel like work. That’s why we have to “labor and strive.” Sometimes we feel defeated. But God’s hope gives us the encouragement to keep working at it.
Hope in God Gives Us Endurance and Encouragement
We learned earlier that one of the reasons we can have hope in God is because he gives us his word. Romans 15:4 makes it clear that as we read the Scriptures, we learn to have endurance, and it gives us the encouragement we need to keep pursing God.
Romans 15:4: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Earlier verses said that we have hope in God’s word, and then here, we see that as we read God’s word, it builds our hope. It’s a cycle that keeps growing as long as we continue to read the Bible.
Hope in God Helps Us Share the Gospel
As we spend time in God’s word, and as our hope in God builds, we can’t help but share that news with others. It gives us boldness to be different from those around us and to be prepared to answer their questions.
2 Corinthians 3:10-12: 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
1 Peter 3:15-16: 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
As with anything, the more you know about it, and the more you are excited about it, the more you will want to share that with others. What the Bible tells us about hope in God fits with this. The more we understand the hope that we have in God and his promises, the more we see encouragement in the Scriptures, the more we will want to share that with others. Who will you share this hope with today?
Each individual characteristic of God study will come with two resources: a word search just for fun (including an answer key), and a list of verses for if you want to investigate that individual characteristic of God more completely.
You can access these resources by clicking here: God is Hope Resources