Hope in the Right Direction
People are anxious, depressed and fearful. The virus has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, economies have stagnated, and social cohesion is fraying. I’m here to tell you that there is hope. Real hope.
"Don't just hope for a better life. Vote for it."
In 1978, as Margaret Thatcher was campaigning to be Prime Minister, her campaign put out posters with the phrase, “Don't just hope for a better life. Vote for it.” In the midst of one of the most culturally, economically, and geo-politically tumultuous eras in world history, that was a powerful slogan. Thatcher went on to win that election.
Similarly, in 2008, Barack Obama put out a simple slogan for his campaign: “Hope and Change.” Right on the heels of a global economic crisis and an enduring war in the Middle East, Obama won that election.
The most effective campaigns around the world run on hope. Hope is powerful. But these hopes disappoint. Now removed from these campaigns we can reflect and realize that the world is still as desperate for hope now as it was then. In the midst of all the upheaval today, many are looking forward elections as their hope to fix things: fix the pandemic, fix the economy, fix race relations – you name it. People are looking to politicians as their hope for the cure.
Everyone is hoping all the time, and that hope is not limited to the political arena. But how often does the thing you hoped in fall short? Hope is a good thing, but hope in the wrong thing brings about disappointment. When we put our hope in things and people, looking to around us, we miss out on real hope.
Hope in the Right Direction
An amazing little passage in Romans 5 teaches us about hope. Paul says,
“We boast in the hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also boast in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
First, notice that our hope is in the glory of God. In the midst of all our trials and tribulations, our hope is not in political or social solutions – it is in God’s glory.
Second, notice that this hope does not disappoint. This is real hope which does not let us down; the proof is that we have been given the Holy Spirit.
Hope that Does not Disappoint
If you’re living in the UK, perhaps you’ve thought to yourself, I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow. If you’re living in Texas (like I am), you’ve perhaps thought to yourself, I really hope it rains tomorrow to cool us off a little bit. Wherever you are, you probably think of the word ‘hope’ as being a lofty maybe. It’s a desperate cling to wishful thinking. The Bible describes hope differently. When the Bible talks about hope, it is talking about a guarantee.
The Bible explains that the Holy Spirit serves as a down-payment for the hope to come. When you buy a house or a car, you rarely pay for all of it up front. Instead, you make a guarantee that you will one day pay in full by making a down-payment. Similarly, when God poured out His love within our hearts by giving us the Holy Spirit, He was making a down-payment on the hope of His glory. Look at what Ephesians 1:13-14 says:
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
What Paul is saying is that the moment you trust in Christ, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit, who is given as a pledge (down-payment) of our inheritance. The moment you believe, the hope we have in Christ is guaranteed to you, and the Holy Spirit serves as proof of that.
Hope in the Glory of God
The end of Romans 5:2 says, “We boast in the hope of the glory of God.” The hope of His glory is two things: (a) the return of Christ and (b) the restoration of His creation. This is real hope!
Titus 2:13 says we are to be “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus.” Our blessed hope in His glory culminates in the appearing of Jesus Christ – His second coming. When He returns He will rule and reign in righteousness and justice. Now that’s a political campaign I can hope for!
But His return also means the restoration of His creation. 1 John 3:2 says this:
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
That’s powerful. We will become like Jesus when He appears simply because we will see the fullness of His glory. When He returns we will be restored – conformed to His image. And John continues in verse 3 to say that “everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” John believes that simply by truly hoping in the return of Jesus in the future, you will be purified in the present. Talk about a hope that doesn’t disappoint!
The hope of the glory of God involves His return and creation’s renewal and restoration, not just us but all creation. Romans 8 tells us that creation itself longs for the day of redemption.
Here is how Romans 8:18 puts it:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.”
Powerful. I highly encourage you to read Romans 8:18 to the end of the chapter. It will be worth it.
Are you Hoping in the Right Direction?
Where is your hope? Are you looking around to the left and to the right, desperately clinging to wishful thinking? Look up! God has a real hope, guaranteed through the giving of the Holy Spirit, looking to the day of His glorious appearing, at which point all creation and all believers in Jesus will be renewed in Him.
If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, you don’t have this hope. It is a promise to the believer. The good news is that right now, even as you’re reading this, if you believe in Jesus as your Saviour, this hope will be guaranteed to you, too.
If you do know Jesus as your Saviour, quit hoping in the things of this world and hope in the right direction. To put a twist on that old Thatcher campaign ad, Don’t just vote for a better life. Hope for it. Hope that does not disappoint.
Tyler Wilson is pursuing his Master of Theology degree as a full-time student at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, USA. Prior to becoming a full-time student, Tyler ministered to university students for four years while serving as College Pastor at a church in Oklahoma. Tyler loves teaching the Bible and helping others to have their worldview shaped by and grounded in the Word of God. Furthermore, he is passionate about the grace of God and the beauty of the gospel. Tyler is married to Michelle, who works as a Veterinarian at a clinic in Dallas. Together, they enjoy doing missions around the world and reaching people for Christ.