5th November 2019

Faith, HOPE and Love

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 (NIVUK)

Hope is an essential feature in both the secular and Christian worlds. In both these worlds hope includes living for the future, where life has meaning, and is inextricably linked with faith.

Victor Frankel, professor of neurology and psychiatry, spent three years during World War II in Auschwitz, Dachau, and other concentration camps. In these terrible dehumanising conditions he observed that when inmates lost all hope, when they lost faith in the future, they also lost the will to live. In today’s society hopelessness leads to feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness which can lead to depression, aggression, addiction and suicide, problems becoming increasingly more prevalent amongst the young.

As the opening scripture states, God is the God of hope. Although the Bible does not underestimate the trials associated with living in this world, after all Jesus tasted real life, it recognises that we all need hope in this life as well as the ultimate hope of eternal life with God beyond the grave.

To the Jews apparently facing a hopeless situation in captivity in Babylon God sent a message that gave their lives meaning. He encouraged them to marry, to plant vineyards, to seek the prosperity of their current place and learn to persevere and thrive in the midst of their earthly adversity (Jeremiah 29:1-10). God’s message via Jeremiah culminates with the good news that he is in charge and will see them through their problems, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

In death there is no hope without God; whatever happens in this life, the ultimate hope God offers is eternal life beyond this transient world. Biblical hope is not wishful thinking but the confident expectation, the firm assurance that God will do what he has promised to do. As the opening scripture states and the writer of Hebrews affirms spiritual hope is inseparable from trust and faith in God, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). The heroes of faith were also the beacons of hope (Hebrews 11). This hope (assurance) is an anchor to the soul (Hebrews 6:19) and the hope (assurance) of salvation acts as a spiritual helmet, an essential part of the defensive armour in the struggle against evil (1Thessalonians. 5:8).

Christians are called to give some hope in this world as well as the next.

Prayer
Father, we thank you for the assurance that you will see us through the trials and tribulations of this life to eternal life.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh
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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Sheffield
Regus Meeting Rooms (Management Suite)
1 The Oasis
Meadowhall Centre
SHEFFIELD
S9 1EP

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.church