– Hebrews 11:1
The biblical definition of hope is found in Hebrews 11:1, where it talks about three things: assurance, hope, and conviction. The first of these is assurance, or some translate it “being sure,” which in the Greek means a “substructure” or “foundation.” If you were building a home, you’d want the assurance of having a substructure and a firm foundation upon which to build it. So the first part of faith is having the assurance that the foundation is there to build upon. The confidence is not in the foundation but the builder of that foundation, and Jesus is the chief cornerstone of it (Eph. 2:20).
Biblical hope is unlike the hope of the world where they hope their team will win the Super Bowl or they hope they’ll get a raise. Hope in God is not a “hope-so” feeling but a “know-so” confidence. Our hope is not in ourselves, of course. Rather, our hope is in Christ (1 Cor. 15:19) since God has “delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2 Cor. 1:10). Paul wrote that it is “in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees” (Rom. 8:24), and “we have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain” (Heb. 6:19).
If you sat through an entire trial where the defendant was guilty, the next to the last thing you’d see is the conviction. The Greek word used for conviction is “elegchos,” which means “a proof” or “that by which a thing is proved or tested.” It was a legal term or word customarily used in trials. This “elegchos” is a real, tested, proven conviction “of things not seen.” Think of it as convicting evidence before a judge or jury. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You can’t see dreams, thoughts, or feelings, but these most certainly exist.
Faith for the believer is a foundational assurance; a confident know-so and not a hope-so; and a concrete, proven conviction that has been tested and proven true. Faith is all these things, but our faith is in the God-man, Jesus Christ. In Him we can have assurance, hope, and conviction.