– John Calvin
Hope Is Constant
I have had people say that they hope their team wins the Super Bowl or they hope they get a certain job, but the way the world defines hope and the way the Bible describes it are almost complete opposites of one another. The world’s definition of hope is like wishing for something to happen, but the biblical definition of hope is a certainty that something will definitely happen. For example, biblical faith and hope is a know-so faith and not a hope-so wish. For those who are in Christ, their faith is only as strong as the Object of their faith, and there is nothing stronger to put our hope in than Christ; therefore, we are told to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Rom 12:12). Here, Paul ties in hope to patience, then patience to tribulation and being constant in prayer, which is why Paul prays, “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” (Rom 15:13).
Faith Is Constant
If we want a biblical definition of faith, we can always turn to Hebrews 11:1, which says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is not described as a hopeful expectation, but an assurance, and it’s actually a word used by the scientific community, as the word “assurance” in Greek is “hypostasis” and means “a substructure” or “a foundation,” so it’s something tangible with a concrete reality. The word “conviction” is a legal term that is used by the law profession and used in courtrooms for establishing something as factual because the Greek word for “conviction” is “elegchos,” can be used both by the scientific community and by the legal profession as forensic (or legal) evidence, and means “a thing which is tested.” This is so true. Faith has a “substructure” or “a foundation” and is “a thing which is tested,” and that test or evidence is revealed by those who are in the so-called Hall of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11. Read that chapter and see the foundation of faith that’s been tested and established as fact! We believe for very good reason.
The Constant Nature of Faith
The Word of God abides forever (1 Pet 1:25; 1 John 2:17), and there will never be a time when it’s not true. I can look at some of my old college textbooks and see how outdated they are now, but the Bible will never be so since the Word stands forever. Because we know that faith comes by the hearing of the Word (Rom 10:17), we can strengthen our faith by the hearing (from preaching or study) and the reading of the Word. When I counsel people who doubt their faith, their salvation, and even their belief in God, the first question I ask is, “How much time do you spend reading the Bible? How often do you hear biblical preaching?” I say that because our lack of faith and our absence from the Word usually go together. Doubt will keep you out of the Word, but the Word will keep you out of doubt. We cannot possibly please God without faith (Heb 11:6), so increase your faith by increasing your time in the Word.
Hope is basically the constancy of our faith. Without hope, there is little or no faith. Also, without much faith, there is usually little hope. We know that faith increases by reading the testimonies of the saints of old. We can read just how faithful God was in the past, and since we know that God does not change (Mal 3:6), we know for certain that He is the same God then as He is now. Increase your faith by the reading of the Word, and you’ll likely strengthen your hope, for hope is really faith with feet on it.