What kind of hope are we supposed to seek?
[Gary Petty] Faith, hope, and charity. In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul says that these are the three greatest Christian virtues. Faith, hope, and love. Now we think about it, why would hope be in there? I mean, we understand faith. That's our response to God. We understand love, which is God's character in us. But why hope? Why would that be up there with those two great virtues? I mean, we've all experienced hope, and we've all experienced hopelessness. I mean, there's times in life when there just doesn't feel like there's any solutions, and we just feel hopeless. And we've all had hope, the emotion of hope. Maybe you like a sports team.
Where I come from in Nashville, everyone likes The Predators, the National Hockey League. And every year, before every season starts, everybody has hope, and there's excitement, and we're gonna win it all this year, and of course, most years, at the end, all the hope's gone. And that's the way it is for everybody who has a team, because at the end of the year, only one team wins. Everbody else, their hope is dashed.
Is that what this means? Faith, hope, just sort of an emotion that we just sort of want something to happen? No, it doesn't. In Romans 5, the apostle Paul shows the link between faith and hope. Listen to what he writes. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ. We're justified. We're allowed to come into a relationship with God because of our faith in Jesus Christ and who he is and what he's done. Through whom, also, we have access by faith into this grace, by which we stand and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."
And so, because of this faith in God and in Jesus Christ, we stand and we rejoice in this hope. Now notice, the hope is in the glory of God. Okay, it's who we put our hope in. It's just like faith. Faith is only as important as who you put your faith in. Hope is only as important as who and what you're hoping for. Notice what he says here. "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing the tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character hope." Now, that's interesting. Bad times, trials, difficulties, sickness, loss. This produces endurance, perseverance. Endurance and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. Now, when you reverse this process, hope comes from character, character comes from perseverance, and perseverance comes from tribulations. What we understand here, hope is only relevant because we're having difficulties. It is trials, it is difficulties in life, especially the difficulties we have by being a Christian that produces this hope, and this hope is in God.
So how does that work? Do we just need another, you know, self help book? Let's listen to another sermon that just peps us up. Now, these things are important, but is that where this hope comes from? Listen to what Paul says. "Now, hope does not dissapoint." I don't know, a lot of the hope I've had in my life disappoints. Any time we seem to have hope in anything physical, a political leader, anything like that, it seems to end up where we lose hope, right? "But this hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us." You see, this kind of hope comes from God in us. We have to go ask for it. Just like you have to go ask for faith? You have to go ask for love? We have to go ask for hope. This hope doesn't disappoint, because it's not something we manufacture. It is something that comes from God. He gives to us. We have to go ask for it.
You see? Faith, hope, love. They're all tied together, and faith and love are tied together by hope. The hope that comes from God.
That's BT Daily. Join us next time.