What does the Bible teach about hope?
We often talk about hope in a type of wishful sense: "I hope you have a nice day." "Hope you have a relaxing vacation." "I hope I get the job." "I hope she says yes." "I hope I get the promotion." "I hope I don't get sick." There are many things we hope for in this life, some more probable to happen than others. However, the biblical concept of hope goes far beyond these earthly hopes. It is not mere wishful thinking, but something we have confidence will happen. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
The Christian's hope is grounded in the belief that there is more to life than what we can wish for in this world. The Christian hope is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in God's promise to resurrect all who believe in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:19–23). It is the hope of forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13–14). It is the hope of a heavenly home (Hebrews 11:16). It is the hope of a glorified body in which to live (Philippians 3:20–21; 2 Thessalonians 1:10) and the hope of a new earth on which to live (2 Peter 3:13). Most importantly, it is the hope to live in these new glorified bodies on a new earth in the very presence of God Himself for all eternity (Revelation 21:2–4)—eternal life and joy in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11). This is the hope of all true believers.
This Christian hope is not wishful thinking. We have been given promises by God Himself that Jesus Christ, whom He raised from the dead, will return again. We have been promised by God Himself that when Jesus returns, we who believe will be transformed into the perfect image and likeness of His Son (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2–3). We have been promised that we who believe will be forgiven our sins because of the death of Christ and will inherit eternal life because of the righteousness and resurrection of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20; Titus 1:2). The resurrection is no myth. It was a historical event witnessed by hundreds of people. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples and at least 500 other people (1 Corinthians 15:3–8). After forty days, Jesus ascended to heaven where He reigns at God's right hand (Acts 1:3; Ephesians 1:20). He will come again to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42). In this we hope, and we have good reason to hope, for God has said it will be and God accomplishes everything He says (Hebrews 10:23; 1 Corinthians 1:9). He has done so throughout history and will continue to do so in the future.
As further assurance, God has given His Holy Spirit to believers in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:21–22). The Holy Spirit testifies to our hearts, minds, and spirits that the promises of God are true. The Holy Spirit confirms the truth of God's promises to us and assures us by His very presence in us that we belong to Christ (Romans 8:16). The Spirit confirms our adoption into God's family and therefore assures us that our hoped-for inheritance is certain (Romans 8:17). In fact, the Holy Spirit is God's pledge to us.
The Bible has much to say about hope, but this is what it says about our greatest hope. The ultimate Christian hope is that one day Christ will return and we who are looking forward to that return will go to be with Him forever (Titus 2:11–14). Because of Christ, we will triumph over sin, guilt, death, and hell itself (1 Corinthians 15:54–58; Romans 8:37). We will inherit eternal life to be enjoyed in the presence of our most loving and gracious God. We will even receive rewards for what we have done for Christ and we will reign with Him in a new world—a perfect world of love and righteousness. In this we hope and because God has promised it we know it will certainly happen (Hebrews 6:13–20). All God's promises find their fulfillment in Christ, our Lord and Savior. He is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1)!
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope" (Romans 15:13).