Hope is an interesting word—especially in the Bible. How our culture thinks of hope is often not the way the Bible uses it.
Today we say, “I hope my sports team wins,” or, “I hope we get some rain,” meaning maybe it will happen or maybe it won't. In the Bible, this word always is seen in the context of certainty. It does not mean “maybe yes or maybe no."
This certainty is true, but it cannot be seen. Scripture tells us that something is not hope if it is seen. Once something becomes seen, I don’t hope for it—I have it.
Look at Paul’s reasoning:
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?” -Romans 8:24
When Scripture talks about God’s promise to Abraham to have a son we find a “play on words” about hope when God gave Abraham this promise.
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations …” -Romans 4:18a
Despite a hopeless situation, Abraham embraced God’s certainty. He knew that he could believe and trust that God’s promise would be fulfilled.
We are told in Hebrews 11:1 what faith is: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
I believe when we live with Christ-like confidence, it’s because we have a deep conviction that what is said in Scripture is certain. When we come to that point, we will step into whatever situation God has placed us in knowing that, because of God’s word, I can be certain it will happen. I will step into it being confident that His Presence is real and certain—even though I cannot see Him or feel Him.
When you and I step into a circumstance that may be difficult, God is there. Even though I may be trembling with fear, I can always count on the “Jesus Factor.”
The Holy Spirit wants to work through us. We have to step into the place of certainty with God even when the situation looks hopeless. Let’s take a look at what that means.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:12, “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.”
Our hope gives us boldness. Remember, we walk by faith not by sight. All of Scripture is applied by faith. When the Scripture says God "will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6),” I can live with certainty. Wherever I am, my hope is that God is with me even though I cannot see Him.
An overriding principle of this life of faith is found in the following statement: “Only what I do really tells me what I believe.”
I can say I believe something about the sufficiency of God’s power and presence in my life, but if I don’t step into the ring to fight for my faith in light of this truth, I don't really believe it. I have to combine my hope in God with the boldness Paul speaks of.
The “Jesus Factor” can only happen if we go public with Jesus. It is only then that we can experience the blessing that God desires for us. If you don’t, your hope is not biblical hope, and your faith is not biblical faith.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.