What are you hoping to get for Christmas this year? What you “hope” for and what you actually get may not be one in the same, right? I joked with my wife that she may be hoping for a “December to remember”… a 2020 Lexus! And she may get one too, in 2035! What are you hoping for this year? There is probably some doubt you will actually get that.
Hope is a really interesting word. What does the Bible teach us about hope? What does Jesus Christ and Christmas teach us about hope? Why do we need hope? The Bible has a lot to say about hope. Biblical hope is foundational to our faith. When we speak about hope in culture, there is always some doubt associated with it. Something like “I hope it doesn't rain today”… Or “I hope the Panthers win today”… Or “I hope I get that special gift this Christmas!”
But the way hope is used in the Bible is different. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word batah has the meaning of confidence, security, and being without care. In most instances in the New Testament, the word hope is the Greek elpis/elpizo, which elicits “no doubt.” So Biblical hope is a confident expectation or assurance built on a sure foundation… “No doubt about it!” Faith is built on Biblical hope! Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
What is the hope that Jesus Christ offers us and why do we need it?
God sent Jesus to give us hope, because without Him, we are truly hopeless! This is the sad truth for all of us, and it goes all the way back to the beginning of time. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 3:16-17. We know they chose to disobey and to eat the forbidden fruit.
As a result of this original sin, we are all hopelessly flawed by sin. 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (Romans 5:12). The penalty of sin is death… (Romans 6:23a). There is nothing that any of us can do on our own to pay that penalty.
Thankfully, God had a plan to defeat sin, to restore our broken relationship with Him and to give all who believe, HOPE! (Genesis 3:15). The wonderful news is Jesus paid sin’s penalty on the cross for all who believe! (Romans 5:8; 6:23; 10:9). This is the greatest gift you and I will ever receive! In Christ, we are given hope eternal! (1 Peter 1:3-5)
At Christmas, and throughout the year, we celebrate the HOPE we have been given in Jesus Christ! So, what do I need to know about hope?
Hope is founded not on feelings, but on truth! John 8:31-32; 14:6
Hope is established not in culture, but in Christ.
Hope is grounded not on chance, but on God’s promises.
Hope is based, not on my performance, but on God’s indescribable gift of grace! 2 Corinthians 9:15; Titus 3:7
For much more, listen to Advent - Christmas is Coming - Part 1.