- Phone: (913) 268-6500
- Mailing Address: 11400 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS 66203
It is fairly well known that the Christian concept of “hope” is profoundly different than the historic or secular version. We use the word in its secular sense every day: “I hope this coronavirus goes away soon!” We have no clue how soon it will happen, but it is our desire or wish to see it gone for good!
The New Testament sense of hope is quite different. Rather than an uncertainty that we wish for blindly, the Christian hope is an abiding certainty. It still represents a desire, but is attached to a certainty of what is to come. One scholar writes that the Greek verb “to hope” in the New Testament (elpizō) means to “expect with desire.”
Before Christ we were “without hope in the world” (Eph. 2:12). The ancient Greeks had no concept of a hope-expectation combination. It is a feature of Christian confidence. The Roman Seneca called hope “an uncertain good.” But believers in Christ have a confident-hope in him both in this life and the life to come (1 Cor. 15:19). Our hope is not just that we “get what we want.” Our hope is in the goodness of God that is specifically known in his plan to graciously benefit His own. We know this plan as the Gospel (Col. 1:5, 23).
There is nothing wrong with blindly wishing things we go a certain way in things where we have no control. I guarantee you I am hoping our quarantine can end soon—but I have no idea what will happen in fact. But my hope-confidence goes beyond my wishes in those things. I know that no matter the circumstances God’s superintending care has my future in hand. I can trust Him, and I don’t really need all the details. He will use all that happens around me to deepen my hope and my confidence in His care (Rom. 5:3-5).
“This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”