When John F. Kennedy began campaigning for the USA presidency in 1959, he adapted the lyrics of a popular song and made it his campaign theme. He rode to victory in 1960 on the wings of that song and became the youngest person and the first Roman Catholic to be elected president. That song was High Hopes, which first appeared in the 1959 film A Hole in the Head.
In the film, it was sung by Frank Sinatra with a group of children, and it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Its key phrase was, “He’s got high hopes!”
The second most beautiful word in scripture, after “love”, is “hope”.
As Paul said, there are three things that will endure forever, “faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). But the second greatest is “hope”, and like the characters in the song, we are a people with
There is a kind of uncertain “low” hope that is fixed upon material things – a better job, swankier car, overseas holiday, more luxurious home, fashionable clothing, and the like.
Such secular hopes have their proper place, but they are never more than a shadow of the real hope that should enthrall our hearts in Christ.
Christianhope is fixed upon sure goals, things that we are certain to attain – victory, wholeness, triumph over death, heaven, the glory of God.
But note: we “hope” for those promised riches only in the sense that they are not yet fully ours ─ although undeniably they will be ours in Christ!
Thus, there is a vast hiatus between secular hope and Christian hope.
The former is threaded with uncertainty; the latter is anchored in the unbreakable promise of God.
Furthermore, this high hope is the very reason for our salvation – “for hope you have been saved” (Romans 8:24).
Most translations are uncomfortable with that rendering, and prefer either “in hope” or “by hope”. But Paul clearly wrote, “for hope.”
We cannot be saved “by” hope, for scripture strongly affirms that we are saved rather by “faith”. Nor can we be saved “in” hope, for this implies some doubt about our salvation, which in fact is utterly secure in Christ.
But we CAN be saved “for” hope ─ that is, God has saved us so that we might become a people filled with hope, high hope, the very highest of hopes, replete with unquenchable optimism!
WE HOPE IN CHRIST
“Hope” is “an expectation that something good will happen”. In our case, that expectation is based upon the irrefragable promise of God.
Hope arises also from our union with Christ and our knowledge that “Christ is in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) − and who can tear Christ out of our hearts?
Christian hopes are rooted in many of the hopes given to ancient Israel, yet strangely, although the ancient Jews were indeed rich in hope, based upon their expectation of the Messiah, their language lacked any exact word for it.
By contrast, the New Testament has more than 80 occurrences of “elpis” – for it is only in the gospel that we have any true hope.
Indeed, as we contemplate the Cross, we realize that even our own sins cannot disappoint us of this hope! So, we live “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised us before the world began” (Titus 1:2).
WE HOPE IN HEAVEN
All true Christians can be described as “looking for that blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
We cannot doubt that Christ will come again, and that every promise associated with his glorious return will be fully ours!
Our assurance of that is bound up with the church, which is his Bride, destined to be raptured spotless and beautiful forever. We not only wait for that prize, but we wait in hope; that is, never doubting that it will indeed be ours on that day!
Nor even in heaven will hope vanish. For in Paradise there will be unlimited opportunities for growth and achievement. And at each level of attainment the next will be confidently anticipated through hope.
WE HOPE IN THE THRONE
“When God wanted to prove for certain that his promise to his people could not be broken, he made a vow. Now we know that God cannot tell lies, so … those promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us. This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain and into the most holy place, where Jesus has gone ahead of us.” (Hebrews 6:17-20)
Scripture says that we are already God’s new creation and already enthroned with Christ in the heavenlies at the Father’s right hand.
This is one of those promises that are both wholly true and not yet realized.
Our task is twofold ─ believe fiercely in the truth; and yet never stop reaching out for its actualization in our daily lives (cp. Exodus 23:29-30; Deuteronomy 7:22).
We should never lose hope that we will keep on grasping more and more the reality of who, and what, and where we are in Christ in the heavenlies!
Let us fall a thousand times, still we will cry, “Rejoice not against me my enemy, for though I fall I will stand up again!” (Micah 7:8)
And if at the end of life, we are still face down in the dust, then the resurrection will carry us out of death and defeat and into the perfection of God!
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)