This morning, I had not planned on what to write this week. However, during my prayer time this morning this Scripture came to mind:
Romans 5:1-5 "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.Now 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."
I have mentioned this Scripture before; I had seen that since God is love and perfect love casts out fear, then if the Holy Spirit sheds this love abroad in our hearts, we are free from fear -- we have this love in us! But this time, I noticed something else: Hope does not disappoint. Do you know what this means? Well, let's look at the Scriptures to find out!
Romans 4:16-21 states, "Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, 'I have made you a father of many nations') in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, 'So shall your descendants be.' And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform."
Here, we see that Abraham "contrary to hope, in hope believed"; this means that he had faith -- that was his hope. Romans 8:24-25 says, "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." This Scripture also says that hope is faith -- "we were saved in this hope." How are we saved? By faith in Jesus Christ. That word "hope" is not simply wishful thinking; it is expectant. Abraham didn't just wish that God would perform His promise; he believed, even when everything around him told him that it wasn't going to happen. Think about it: the Scriptures say that Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was in her ninties at least; by all accounts, having a baby was not gonna happen! But Abraham trusted God regardless. That is how our faith should be, and this is what is meant in Romans 5 by hope. It is hope in God, faith in God. We know that faith is the opposite of fear; this is why it says, "hope does not disappoint, because the LOVE of God has been shead abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." If we have the Holy Spirit, we have that perfect love which casts out all fear; and if we have hope, we have faith -- a faith which leaves no room for fear. A friend once told me, "Faith is the pedestal which holds up our hope." If you think about it, if we have no hope in God -- that is, if we are not expectant, like Abraham was, that what God has promised He will perform -- we really do not have faith. And if you don't have faith, you automatically have fear, because fear is faith's opposite.
In Psalm Psalm 42:5 David said, "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God." What he is saying here is that he was discouraged, uncomfortable, and perhaps even nervous; yet He says, "Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him!" David is giving himself a pep-talk, saying that no matter how he feels, no matter what it looks like, "Soul, you are going to hope in God; I am going to praise God!" In Psalm 71:14-17, David also says, "But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works." David clarifies in Psalm 119:81 what this hope is: "But I hope in Your Word." So when he is speaking of all the wondrous works of God, he is speaking the Word of God. In everyone of these instances when he said this, David was going through rough times -- "contrary to hope, in hope [he] believed." This is true faith, and this is the faith that leaves no room for fear; that is why God is the help of our countenance -- because as we continue to trust Him, the feelings and problems have to leave, and we are no longer afraid. We have become convinced that what God has promised, He is able to perform.
Psalm 31:24 "Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD."
Philippians 1:9-11 "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."