Why Hope is so Important to God
Updated: Feb 14
The Importance of Having Hope
The importance of having hope is stated in scripture: “without hope (faith) it is impossible to please God”. Further, hope is important to God because: “He desires none perish but that all come to repentance”. Without it (hope), you will never fulfill God’s desire to be reconciled to Himself!
When we become of age, we look back on how many times we failed. For me, personally, this sends me to a place of despair. I guess this is why the Bible says: “you who put your hands to the plow and look backwards are not worthy of the Kingdom of God”.
Through salvation, Jesus allowed me to become a part of something greater than myself. This was based on nothing more than simple faith. It was the same hope which, prior to coming to faith sustained me through the foster care system. As wards of the state, all we have is hope things will get better.
Those without such hope often do not make it to adulthood. In my life, this intense belief, even absent a relationship with Christ, sustained me until the Lord saved me! It can be argued, I guess, that He was with me the whole time. However, I know I could not have “been with Him”. Let those who have an ear hear.
Furthermore, hope is directly associated with “blessings” in the Christian tradition.
The Bible is full of people who, having held onto hope in God, saved both their lives, and those of others as well.
Here are a few such examples:
1. Noah - let’s face it, if there was anyone who looked more insane to those watching it was Noah. However, Noah, his family, and humanity was saved by Noah’s obedience in building an ark. This becomes more amazing because he was building what effectively was a World War II sized aircraft in the middle of a dry country.
2. Joseph - despite being sold into slavery by his own brothers, Joseph maintained hope in God’s plan. After years in Egypt as a slave, Joseph rose to a position of power. This positioned him to save the very brothers who, a few decades prior, had betrayed him.
3. Joshua - this warrior began leading the Children of Israel after the death of Moses. His hope in God’s strength, God’s promises, and God’s provision saved the entire nation through many battles with the inhabitants of “Canaan Land” (as old folks used to say).
4. Rahab the Prostitute - yes, God also uses sinners to carry forth His plan! Rahab took a chance by helping the Children of Israel who had come to destroy her people.
5. Queen Esther - although God is never mentioned in the book bearing Esther’s name, she had an almost unmatched faith in the biblical narrative. There were plots against her people, the Jews, to kill the entire nation. She understood it would mean death is she approached the King without a personal invite. However, Esther’s daring approach to the King saved the lives of her people.
6. Ruth – Ruth was not an Israelite but was from the land of Moab. She was formerly married to the son of Naomi. When Ruth’s husband died, she decided to go back to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi. Her love for Naomi led to an incredible statement: “where you (Naomi) go, I will go, and your God will be my God.” WOW!
In summary, there are acts of hope which can change the life of an individual, as well as an entire nation. What is crucial is recognizing hope is based on a relationship with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
What Does the Bible Say About Hope
The Bible describes hope as: “the substance of things longed for and the evidence of things not visibly seen”. Scripture places great emphasis on hope (faith) because it is a fundamental component of a relationship with God. Leaning into that a bit further: it is the only component which allows access to God (through Jesus Christ). The text also teaches: “without hope, it is impossible to please God”. Without Jesus, we have no relationship with God.
Hope is not simply wishful thinking, or optimism. It is the confident expectation that God will fulfill both promise and purpose in our lives. Furthermore, it is a powerful elixir for despair, fear, and discouragement. By emphasizing this foundational component of salvation, the biblical message offers all Believers reassurance. However, faith, alone, is not often enough to see the power of God. Faith must be combined with "works" to fully see the power of God. This is not to suggest "works" will save anyone. The Bible says this is not true. We are reminded in the Book of James, however: “faith without works is dead”.
Here are seven (7) little-known acts of faith in scripture:
1. The Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30): despite Jesus initially rebuffing her request to heal her daughter, she remained resolute in hope. It was because she recognized Jesus’ power and authority that He marveled and healed her daughter.
2. Poor widow’s offering (Mark 12:41-44): in a powerful demonstration of faith, a poor widow gave her last two “mites” (coins) as a temple offering. Jesus used this to demonstrate how genuine faith appears. Most of us give to God out of our abundance. This old woman, however, gave from her “lack” according to Jesus. Lord, please bless me with such faith!
3. Prayer of Jabez (1st Chronicles 4:9-10): Jabez is a little-known biblical figure who God honored a prayer of faith from!
4. Woman with the blood issue (Mark 5:25-34): despite her social isolation and shame, she demonstrated faith by pressing her way to Jesus and touching His cloak. In one of the more well-known stories of healing in Jesus’s ministry, her health was restored.
5. Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40): this eunuch demonstrated superb faith by seeking to understand scripture. He later responded to the teachings of the evangelist Phillip and was saved (and baptized).
6. Blind Man (John 9:1-12): this man was born blind. Jesus began the healing with a mud pack (to the eyes) and then instructed him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man listened and washed his eyes. His sight was restored and great was his faith afterward.
7. The Shunamite woman (2nd Kings 4:8-37): in one of the signature stories in the ministry of the Prophet Elisha, she followed his instruction and received a miraculous blessing. As with the poor widow, she gave her last, and this faith was rewarded.
In summary, the Bible not only teaches hope is necessary for salvation, but it also provides examples of great acts of faith that changed people’s lives. God never commanded us to have what the world terms “blind faith”. Repeatedly throughout the biblical narrative, God reassured us that he is “an ever-present help in the time of trouble”.
What Does Jesus Teach About Hope
What Jesus Christ said about hope was: “I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life, no one comes to the Father (God) except through me”. Essentially, Jesus is not only telling people to have hope, but He also claims to be hope itself. Through His own difficulties while in this flesh, Jesus understood that life could be difficult and painful. In the most literal sense, Jesus “walked a mile in our shoes“.
The Lord also encouraged His hearers to have a confident expectation that God will fulfill His promises and reveal their purpose in them. We often hope for a tangible blessing that can be seen, touched, and held. However, we as a Saints of God, are the blessing which we seek. That will require a whole other post to “unpack” so I will leave it for your study. Jesus also demonstrated that hope is not just a theoretical concept but practical as well. Like a seed being grown in the soil, faith/hope can be cultivated to a place of maturity. It is through this cultivation process that our purpose is revealed and later fulfilled.
Let’s review seven (7) things Jesus said about hope:
1. Jesus said the purpose of Scripture was to testify of Him. This testimony is to be repeated throughout time, and eventually lead others to hope in Jesus. (John 5:39, Matthew 28).
2. He also taught we should not be hearers only of the Word, but also apply it to our lives. (Luke 8:21) It is our faith which compels us to that which we claim to believe.
3. Our Savior explained that the two greatest commandments were to: love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Mark 12:29-31)
4. The doctrinal imperatives “forgive others if you expect to be forgiven” was explained by Christ as well. (Matthew 6:14-15). It must not be missed that forgiveness, and its receiving, is based strictly on hope/faith!
5. Jesus explained that the kingdom of God is not physical but a spiritual reality within us. (Luke 17:20-21). For beings who have only known a physical existence, great hope in our Lord is paramount to accepting this at “face value”.
6. “If we judge others, we will also be judged” requires a hope that restrains one from un-righteously judging others. I did not say “we are not to judge others” either. Please re-read that statement.
7. Jesus also explained we should not be anxious about our lives but trust in God’s provision. (Matthew 6:25-34).
In summary, Jesus taught that hope is required for reconciliation with God and that He, and only He is that hope. It is one thing for someone to declare: “I know the way to God” and quite another to say “I, alone, am the way to God”.
Hope is a Gift of the Holy Spirit
Hope is not just a human emotional mindset, but is a gift of God. This ‘gift” saves us from eternal damnation in Hell and the Lake of Fire! The Bible declares: “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life found in Christ Jesus”. Without sending His Son, who offers a gift of salvation, we are lost. Salvation is a gift and can only be confirmed through the conviction of the Holy Ghost.
Paul also stated that: “faith does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit”. This means that faith cannot be generated on our own. It must, by definition, come from something unseen that is only known through the Holy Spirit.
The spirit not only reveals the truth of the gospel, but also imparts spiritual gifts. These are, to name just a few, love, joy, peace, and patience. As believers, we rely on the Holy Ghost to sustain and strengthen us. Thus assurance, through strength, leads to: "a peace that passes all human understanding”.
Here are three (3) mention of “hope” from the Apostle Paul:
1. Paul taught that hope is the anchor for the soul which is firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19)
2. He further reveled that our hope is in the resurrection of the dead, as Christ was raised from the dead. (1st Corinthians 15:20-22).
3. This Apostle to the Gentiles proclaimed that hope is a source of joy and peace as we trust in God’s plan. (Romans 5:1-5)
In summary, hope must be a gift from the Holy Spirit for one (1) overarching reason: without its illumination, we can never enjoy the fullness of God. Further, hope, or faith if you prefer, is trusting in those things we cannot see based on nothing more than belief. There is no way to quantify faith. There is no data which can prove the object of our faith (God) is real which is why we refer to it as faith to begin with, right?
Header Image of Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay