Bible Questions? Words

The difference between biblical hope and wishful thinking?

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Understanding “hope” from a biblical perspective is vital because it differs from how we use it or according to the world’s view. When we usually use the word hope, it is used in the sense of wishful thinking without any certainty of its fulfilment. For example, if we say, “I hope to see you soon,” this statement is a wishful statement where there is no certainty that you will see each other soon. But you have an optimism that you will see each other soon. These sorts of statements are always mingled with some level of doubt. 

On the other hand, the biblical meaning is very different from the one used in the world. The bible uses the word hope in terms of certainty and confident expectation. The Strong’s Concordance describes hope as “hope, expectation, trust, confidence.” Also, the HELPS Word-studies describes hope as “to anticipate, welcome” – properly, expectation of what is sure (certain); hope.”

Romans 8:23-25 says, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” In verse 23, it says we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. So, in this hope, we were saved. We are eagerly waiting for our complete salvation, one that goes beyond death to our final destination. We wait for it with patience. This is a surety of what we are waiting for because we wait for it “patiently”. There is no room for wishful thinking or any doubt. Amen! 

The redemption of our bodies is an element of salvation that has not happened yet, but it will for sure, and we have hope. If we did receive everything now, there would be no need for hope. But we wait for it patiently in this world, with all the hardships, pain, sufferings, with endurance until we receive it. Titus 1:2 says,“in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began”

Hope is the absolute certainty of all God has promised through His word. That all His promises are true and all have occurred as it says in the word, and all His promises that are yet to be fulfilled will happen. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, it says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

So, biblical hope is the certainty of God’s promises. That just as Christ rose from the dead, He will likewise return. He has forgiven our sins through the sacrifice of Christ, and through His resurrection and righteousness, we have eternal life. Titus 1:2 says, “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began”. God said that He would fulfil all these things. So we have full assurance that He will perform it. Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

Above all, God Has blessed us by giving us His Holy Spirit. The assurance of our hope and its certainty is by the work of the Spirit in our lives (Colossians 1:27). The Spirit testifies that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16-17 says, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

In conclusion, biblical hope is not wishful thinking. Instead, it is an absolute certainty based on God’s word through the Holy Spirit work in our lives. Do not be like those without hope. Ephesians 2:12 says, “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Instead, may we be full of hope with all joy and peace in believing. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

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