Galatians 5:13, For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14-15, For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
16-18, I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19-21, Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
24-26, And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Job 27:8, For what is the hope of the hypocrite, Though he may gain much, If God takes away his life?
Psalm 31:24, Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.
Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous will be gladness, But the expectation of the wicked will perish.
John 4:23-24, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Romans 8:24-24, For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
1 Corinthians 13:13, And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Galatians 5:5-6, For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Just the other day I posted an article that I believe was full of truth that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about, “Christians: WAKE UP!” I don’t always get public comments, but what surprises me is the emails I sometimes get and the comments on Facebook in the private messages. Many, accept the truth, though hard to read it may be, they know deep down that we as true Christians have to wake up, seek the Lord diligently and allow His Holy Spirit to direct our paths before it is too late for some within the Body of Christ, the real Church.
Some, however, believe that I am defeatist and alarmist and tearing down hope for this country of which I am a part, the United States of America. Their two biggest comments, “nothing is impossible with God,” and “why are you so willing to dash hope?”
As to the first comment, I DO truly and sincerely believe that NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING is impossible for God Almighty. But I have also spent decades TRYING to be intimate with Him as my Heavenly Father, which also means I have tried to learn His Character and Nature, through His Word!
We serve a God of Hope and all it takes is a word search to see ALL the wonderful Scriptures related to hope! I am, at my deepest, a man of hope, BUT, it is hope in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Father through Him!
When you read the WHOLE Word of God, and not just the warm fuzzy parts that make you feel good, you realize, His unlimited love for all also depends on the Character of His Justice, as well as Grace and Mercy! Today we have preachers who love to preach a Grace that allows everything and anything, despite God’s command to, “be holy for I am Holy!” (Leviticus 11:45, 1 Peter 1:16). They teach that the liberty that we walk in, doesn’t have any consequences or accountability, because of their brand of “grace!” This is so at odds with the rest of Scripture, yet I will deal with Grace in the next article.
But, what ABOUT Hope?
First we have to consider the basis or the foundation of hope in general. Basically, hope is the feeling of expectation or desire for a certain thing to happen, or the process of hoping for something to happen. Pretty simple, pretty general and yet, when hope is based in something spiritual, it is a much more powerful attribute and as a spiritual attribute it is almost always related to and in conjunction with Faith and Love!
Many today are preaching and teaching (and especially many celebrity preachers and mega-church pastors) that hope is a great thing and especially hope in what we as “heirs to the Kingdom” deserve in this life, in the natural! It tends to focus one’s wishes and desires, not on the “things above,” but rather the things that are seen and temporary! It is a feel-good message, full of “positive thinking” tips and tricks meant to garner numbers and emotionally uplift the congregation, but just like what it is focused on, it is temporary! Their pitch is just because you ARE a Christian, you need to set your sights on what you deserve in this life, because God WANTS you to be healthy and prosperous and be respected in the eyes of the World, so that they (the world) will want what you have and you can then tell them about the glorious benefits of serving the God of Creation!!
Therefore, because human nature is so very predictable, when you tell something to someone long enough and especially something that is pleasing to hear and something that everyone wants, people WILL start to believe it and thus a religious fad, unscriptural at its foundation, becomes a tradition in our local churches!! People today WANT someone else who appears so well-spoken and so charismatic to tell them what to believe and what is “truth!” They are like the Thessalonians in the Book of Acts, whom accepted most any preacher coming through their town and believing what they said without “testing the Spirits or double-checking the Scriptures,” like the Bereans did whom Paul said, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:11.
Today, very few examine the Scriptures after someone preaches because it is so much easier to just trust that they (their leaders) wouldn’t mislead them. The truth is, most preachers and teachers aren’t trying to mislead, but they themselves have accepted that which has been taught for a while despite red flags in their spirit telling them something doesn’t sound right in the light of other Scriptures. There messages sound positive, they are easy to digest because they build up one’s esteem, they are like self-help conferences meant to show you how to stand tall in this world, instead of causing people to fervently search their hearts to see if they need to ask the Holy Spirit to change them or show them the road to repentance. Like I stated in the last article when I quoted Keith Green’s song, “Asleep in the Light,” there is truth all around them and yet they have been lulled into believing that everything is alright with their souls while the world around them is falling rapidly into darkness!
But the HOPE of the Scriptures is alive with power and purpose. This kind of hope isn’t directed towards a political leader, a country or nation (outside of Israel), or a situation at work or an event in your life, but rather in the Spiritual where its REAL power lies! Hope is one of the three greatest attributes that the Apostle Paul lists in Corinthians and even though Love is the greatest and will be the one that lasts, eternally, hope in the spiritual, while we still walk this earth, goes hand and hand with faith, which the Bible clearly states is necessary to make our Heavenly Father pleased! (Hebrews 11:6).
This is the type of hope that believes in and relies on what the Father promises and in what we believe is true. As John 4:24 so succinctly states, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Notice that this doesn’t just say “in spirit,” and it doesn’t just say, “in truth,” but rather we MUST worship Him in spirit AND truth!! Our hope, when it comes to our spiritual life, MUST be in spirit AND truth, just like our worship of the Lord. You might be asking why, when we live in the natural and there is so much to hope for in this life. There’s a Scripture to answer that question also: “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:18.
This should be the Christians motto or banner, for we are no longer of this world. Yes, we are in it, and we must occupy and continue to work (Romans 12) until the Lord returns or He calls us to our real home, but we truly are pilgrims on a journey and our spiritual hope is that one day, we WILL return to our true home, the Kingdom of God that is prepared for the Lord and His servants and heirs! As I showed in the Scripture references above, Galatians 5:13-26, (see also 1 John 4:1-6), there is a noticeable difference in one who still clings with “hope” to this world and one who clings with spiritual hope to our eternal home!
Today also, there is very little teaching as to WHY we need hope and that I believe is due to the fact that so many are teaching hope for that which is in the natural as opposed to that which is spiritual. As so many Scriptures show, our hope, our true hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ, His works on our behalf and His and the Father’s promises! We have hope that our sins are forgiven (1 John 2:1). This is the beginning and basis for our hope in our spiritual and eternal walk. It is a hope based in faith and love, faith because we not just hope but trust in God’s Word and that His promises are true, though they are not clearly seen, and love because when He placed Himself on the Cross, it was for the Love He has/had for ALL mankind (John 3:16-17). How does this kind of hope compare to anything the world has for us to hope for?
In closing, I want to give you an example of spiritual hope, an example I give to many, many whom ask me what to do about lost loved ones who just won’t listen to them concerning the need for repentance or redemption. Our hope is and should always be in the Lord and in His promises to us as His children. When you have a loved one that just refuses to listen to God’s plan of salvation for them and everyone, you pray for them. You pray that the Holy Spirit will intercede on their behalf no matter what it takes, so that their blinded (spiritual) eyes would be open and their hearts would be open to the truth. You pray fervently and never stop praying for their salvation. As long as you have Christ Jesus in your heart, you will ALWAYS have hope that your prayers WILL be answered for we know the heart and mind of God, our Father, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9. You continue to pray for your loved one with that always in mind and continue to hope in the Lord.
If your loved one passes away and you are not sure of their heart and spirit condition, prayer is no longer necessary because after they step over the threshold from natural life to eternal life, prayer will do no good for now, their decision in the natural will dictate what happens in the eternal, BUT — even then, DO NOT give up hope, for God alone judges the heart of mankind and only HE can see the thoughts of the one who just passed into eternity! You continue to maintain your hope in God’s promises and in your past prayers UNTIL you, yourself passes into eternity and our Heavenly Father reveals to you the decisions of your loved ones!
This is the kind of hope, in the spiritual, that continues to quicken faith, to nurture peace in our hearts (a fruit of the spirit) and to gives us assurance of our standing with our Lord and Redeemer! This is the hope that should be preached from the pulpit, the hope in that which is to come according to the promises of the Lord. This is the hope that causes us to grow and to mature in the Lord! This is the hope that fosters an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father, the very reason Christ Jesus came to give us eternal hope and the very power the Holy Spirit gives us to walk in that hope!