Hope for the unseen

What is hope? Scripture is helpful in this regard. Roman 8:24, 25: “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” Hope is patiently waiting for something you cannot see. If you can see it, it is not hope at all, because it is already a reality. Think of the young man and woman who are engaged to be married and eagerly await the day when they will be wed. The day has not become a reality yet, but they with patience (most of the time) wait for it. At this point they can only hope for that day, because it is not yet a reality, it is “unseen.” You cannot hope for something you already have. A child holding an ice cream cone does not say, “I hope I will get an ice cream cone today,” because he already has one.

What then is our hope? Our hope is the resurrection of our bodies in the last day. “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you” (2 Cor. 4:14). This is something to hope for! The resurrection of our bodies when “in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26). What greater hope can there be for us? What makes us even more earnest in our hope for the resurrection is that it is eternal. “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). The outcome of the hope of the young man and woman we talked about earlier is marriage. Marriage is not eternal, and neither is the ice cream cone the child has in his hand. But the outcome of our hope in the resurrection is eternal! This is true hope. Our hope is also for something that is far greater than the worries of this present day. Look at the context of verse 18: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). Also Romans 8:18: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” All the events of our earthly lives are only temporary, but our hope lies in that which is eternal. In this hope is our salvation. More on this next time.


The believer’s hope for heaven

It is inevitable that we will die. “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Ecclesiastes 3:20). Death is something that if we have not come face to face with in our own families, we have probably dealt with it with our friends. Even if it is not death itself, but a terminal illness we are facing or we see someone else dealing with, the reality is always present. Death. Cold, lifeless, all-encompassing, relationship-rending death. Whether it is an abrupt end of existence on this earth or the slow decay of this body, it is all the same. Death.

But is there no hope at all in death? Of course there is. We have a hope that only a child of God can have. Our hope is in the resurrection. “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52). We are assured that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). In this we “groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (v 23).

Our hope is for that which is unseen, “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). “Hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (Romans 8:24).

In this hope we are comforted in the face of death. In this hope we have contentment. In this hope we have the beginning of eternal joy. In this hope we have peace. In this hope we are saved. On this hope we meditate. In this hope we glorify God. Of this hope we testify. These aspects of hope we will address in future blog posts.