Hope

Rev. Kuiper is pastor of Immanuel Protestant Reformed Church in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada.

Hope is the power of the Christian life, when the Christian life is viewed as a pilgrimage, a journey through this present time and place to a better city and country. Hope is the power that keeps the Christian on that pilgrim way and encourages him on that way. The book of I Peter, addressed to pilgrims and strangers scattered throughout the earth, stressing the importance of hope in this present evil world, is uniquely the roadmap, guidebook, or charter for the Christian life. 

Hope is always regarding something which is future, which a man does not yet fully possess, and which he cannot see (Rom. 8:24, 25). In Old Testament times, Israel's hope was in God, in His Word, in His mercy, because of the promise of God that He would send the Christ. The New Testament believer's hope rests upon the promise of God that Christ will come again to make all things new; it is the hope of glory, the hope of salvation, the hope that never makes ashamed, the hope that is the anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast; it is the blessed hope!Because hope is bound up with the coming of Christ and the renewal of all things, it may be defined as expectation, certainty, and longing. The Word of God teaches us to expect certain, definite events in the future: when Christ comes, our present, short, light affliction will be replaced by a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The Word of God comforts us with the surety of God's counsel by telling us that God confirmed it with an oath, that with certainty we may lay hold upon the hope that is set before us. The glory of the inheritance is such that with joy, with zeal, with all his being, the child of God reaches forth for the inheritance with a holy impatience. 

The Christian's hope is firmly based on the resurrection of Christ from the dead. If Christ be not raised, all is hopeless; but since He is raised, there is hope. In the resurrection of Christ we have an example of what shall happen to the believer: he, too, shall be raised, exalted, and rewarded. In His resurrection we have the legal right for our resurrection to glory, for it is the proof of our justification. And in His resurrection we have the power of regeneration. For we have been begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (I Pet. 1:3). 

Hope cannot be hid. Those who live on this earth with the resurrection life of Christ in them cannot and do not melt into the background. Hope, the dominant characteristic of the pilgrim, is manifest daily in every circumstance; is observed in its activity by those round about; is made the subject of inquiry by all manner of men; and is gladly explained by the child of God. Hope loves to do that! Hope is capable of a reasonable defense and a warm, humble explanation. Hope loves to speak of its part in Jesus Christ and the glory that He brings. That which elicits the questions as to our hope is our willingness to suffer for righteousness' sake, our serenity in the midst of upheaval, and a life of holiness in the midst of corruption and perversion. "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (I John 3:3). 

Hope never ends. Even when we have been glorified and have entered into the enjoyment of heavenly bliss, hope continues forever. "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (I Cor. 13:14). Readily can we understand that faith, as the bond that unites us to Christ, and love, as the bond of perfectness, shall continue forever. But hope? How can hope abide when it has received its object? Well, there is always more! Because God is infinite in His perfections, and because the enjoyment of God will never come to an end.