For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25
As I see it, there are two kinds of “hope” people use as a definition. There is worldly hope, which really isn’t hope, and biblical hope. The world uses the word “hope” as does the church, but in different ways and totally different definitions.
Worldly hope encompasses doubt. It is a superstitious hope which uses chance and luck. The sinner with this kind of hope crosses their fingers, clings to a rabbit foot in an expectation of a future event or circumstance. They’ll say for example “I hope it rains tomorrow” as a question, not in faith. Or when asked a question, the answer will be “I hope so?” This definition of hope is absurd, but it is the most common use of the word.
Biblical hope, one who believes God exists, encompasses assurance. It is an assured expectation which has no doubt attached. In the Bible it is defined in the Old Testament as a “cord” which has a tension.
The Hebrew word “ṯiq-wā-ṯî;” is generally defined as “to expect”, and it is related to the Hebrew word “qiw-wî-ṯî”, which means to wait for, to expect. or a past tense to look eagerly. Job 17:15 for example states “Where then is my hope (ṯiq-wā-ṯî;) ? And who looks at my hope (ṯiq-wā-ṯî;)?” Genesis 49:18 states “I have waited (qiw-wî-ṯî) for your salvation, O LORD!”
In both circumstances the hope we see is an assurance. There isn’t a doubt attached or wondering. It is simply knowing by faith that the Lord will provide according to His will and to His promises.
In the New Testament, the Greek word used is “elpiousin” as the word for “hope”. We read in Matthew 12:21 “AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE. (elpiousin)”. Hope here encompasses a trust in what the Lord has promised in the past and the full assured expectation of what was to come in the future. The word “elpizomenōn” is the past tense as in “hoped’ or “trusted”. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
So we see in Hebrews 11:1 a key component of biblical hope, which is FAITH. The saved sinner with faith will hope in assurance of things to come, the future promises God has revealed for them. There can be NO DOUBT in this type of hope or you discard your faith. So it is quite important as you read the Bible and you see the word “hope” that you do not presuppose worldly hope, which isn’t hope but doubt, into that reading.
Born fallen sinners, we naturally doubt. Thus, I believe every human being who begun to use the word “hope” in their lingo, encompassed doubt and superstition as that definition. We did not trust there was a God and because of not having faith, we used that word in vain. We used the word more as a question than an answer.
Hebrews 6:18-19 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain
So hope which encompasses faith will always have full assurance in the hope. You are not doubting God’s provision or His will or His existence. You believe His promises for your future! This would mean if you have been saved, the hope for eternal life as you read in Scripture always comes with a full assurance. You live in this hope!
Every false gospel and church will use the word “hope” in its worldly sense. The teach doubt in Jesus Christ, doubt yourself, doubt His salvation, and work harder. This is NOT hope but doubt! Pure hope will always trust in faith.
Like faith, we grow in hope. A newborn sinner’s hope will be different than a Christian who has been saved for decades. The hope, the assurance grows stronger as your faith grows. If you are doubting God’s promises and are still in the crossing your fingers stages, you are not hoping in faith. You simply are not saved and most likely part of a false church which perverts the word “hope”.
Lastly, in 43 years as a Roman Catholic I was never taught the biblical meaning as I described as “hope”. It was always a doubt, and unknown, which never exuded faith, but a superstitious expectation of what may or may not happen upon my judgment day. Now as a Christian, my hope encompasses FULL assurance in every promise God has granted to me.
Are you hoping in faith, or are you still doubting? That should be the discipline in the HONEST examination of everyone’s faith.
Hebrews 6: 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.