A Certain Hope in Uncertain Days: 30 Days of Hope-filled Focus
Day 13: The Believer’s Hope
1 Tim. 4:10, “Because we have fixed our hope on the living God.”
- “Hope” in the New Testament is almost always from the Greek word “elpis” (Noun) or “elpizo” (Verb). The term refers to a “favorable and confident expectation.” The term, unlike our English counterpart, connotes no degree of uncertainty.
- The following survey of various usages reveals that which should be the object of the believer’s hope:
SURVEY OF NT OCCURENCES OF THE WORD “HOPE”
What our hope is not in…
- The hope of the believer is radically different than that of the unbeliever:
o Eph. 2:12, “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ…having no hope and without God in the world.”
o 1 Thess. 4:13, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.”
o 1 Pet. 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
- In this life only:
o 1 Cor. 15:19, “If we had hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”
- In the uncertainty of possessions:
o 1 Tim. 6:17, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
What our hope is in…
- The gospel, salvation:
o Col. 1:23, “If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard.”
o 1 Thess. 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”
- God, Christ:
o 2 Cor. 1:10, “He on whom we have set our hope.”
o Eph. 1:12, “We who were the first to hope in Christ.”
o 1 Thess. 1:3, “Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”
o 1 Tim. 1:1, “Christ Jesus, who is our hope.”
o 1 Tim. 4:10, “Because we have our hope fixed on the living God.”
o 1 Tim. 5:5, “Now she who is a widow indeed, and who has been left alone has fixed her hope on God.”
o 1 Pet. 1:21, “Your faith and your hope are in God.”
- Eternal life:
o Tit. 1:2, “In the hope of eternal life.”
o Col. 1:5, “Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.”
o Heb. 6:19-20, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
o Heb. 11:1, 14-16, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country not their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one.”
- Our inheritance:
o Tit. 3:7, “Having been justified by His grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
o 1 Pet. 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
- Christ’s return:
o Tit. 2:13, “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
o Phil. 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
o 1 Pet. 1:13, “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
o 1 John 3:2-3, “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
- Culmination of God’s transforming work:
o Rom. 5:2-5, “We exult in the hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.”
o Rom. 8:20-25, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for [our] adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”
o Col. 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
o Phil. 3:19-21, “…whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
- Reunion of fellow believers in the presence of Christ:
o 1 Thess. 2:19-20, “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.”
ADJECTIVES USED TO DESCRIBE THIS HOPE
- 2 Thess. 2:15, “Who has…given us good hope by grace.”
- Heb. 7:19, “There is a bringing in of a better hope.”
- Tit. 2:13, “The blessed hope.”
- 1 Pet. 1:3, “A living hope.”
THREE-FOLD PERSPECTIVE OF HOPE IN CHRIST
Three different prepositions are used to describe the relationship of our hope with regards to Christ. The following has been gleaned from the Vine’s Expository Dictionary (p.311-312):
- The preposition eisis rendered “in” in 1 Pet. 3:5, “who hoped in God.” The “hope” referred to here is directed to and centered in the person of God.
- The preposition epiis typically rendered “on” or “upon.” E.g. Rom. 15:12, “Upon Him shall nations hope” (YLT). The “hope” referred to here expresses the ground upon which hope rests.
- The preposition enis rendered “in” or “within.” E.g. 1 Cor. 15:19, “we have hoped in Christ.” According to Vine’s “the preposition expresses that Christ is not simply the ground upon whom, but the sphere and element in whom, the hope is placed.” The form of the verb (perfect participle with the verb to be, lit., “are having hoped”) stresses the character of those who “hope,” more than the action; “hope” characterizes them, showing what sort of persons they are.”
Christ is the sole basis of our hope in every respect. Our hope is in Him (in His person). Our hope rests upon Him (in His work). Our hope is for Him (in His return). Our hope is Him (that we might be in His presence).
FIX YOUR HOPE
Four times in the NT the term “fix” or “fixed” is used to describe how we are to hope in the certain hope that has been established for us as believers:
- 1 Tim. 4:10, “Because we have fixed our hope on the living God.” The words “fixed your hope” translate the Greek “elpizo” (perfect, active, indicative).
- 1 Tim. 5:5, “Now she who is a widow indeed, and who has been left alone has fixed her hope on God.” The words “fixed her hope” translate the Greek “elpizo” (perfect, active, indicative).
- 1 Tim. 6:17, “Instruct those who are rich…not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty or riches, but on God.” The words “fix their hope” translate the Greek “elpizo” (perfect, active, infinitive).
- 1 Pet. 1:13, “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The words “fix your hope” translate the Greek “elpizo” (aorist, active, imperative).
The believer is one who has already fixed his hope on the living God. In view of this, he is to take care lest he mistakenly fix his hope on earthly possessions. Ultimately, his hope is to be fixed completely on the grace to be brought to him at the revelation of Christ.