There is a word that pastors, Christians, and churches in general like to use on a pretty regular basis. It’s a word that is simple in nature but utterly profound in its reality. The word is “hope.” Hope is not just a word found in pastors’ sermons, in hymns or worship songs, or uttered by people in church on Sunday; hope is also a common word in Scripture. The Hebrew and Greek words that talk about hope in the Bible number in the hundreds. It’s safe to say that hope is a very common topic in Scripture and a key theme that can be used to describe the Christian life – it is built upon hope.
Loosely defined, hope is a feeling of expectation. It’s desiring and wishing that a certain thing will happen or take place. Hope is to want something to happen or to be the case. Have you ever hoped for something or placed your hope in something or someone? As human beings, we place our hope in and hope for a lot of things. That is why it is important to understand what is meant by the writer of Hebrews when he says in Hebrews 10:23a, “Let us hold fast to the hope we profess…” What kind of hope is this and how does it and should it operate in our lives?
This hope that we see talked about in Hebrews 10, and many other places in the Old and New Testaments, is not a hope that says, “Oh, I hope that this happens” or “I hope that this or that will work out” or “I am hopeful that things will turn out all right in the end.” No, this hope is a hope that brings certainty and peace because it’s based on the promise and word of the Ultimate Hope-Giver. You see, too often, we can place our hope in things and people that don’t always measure up to our expectations or what is actually needed. Many of those things that we hope or place our trust in have certain levels of uncertainty associated with them. The skydiver can hope that their parachute opens like it is supposed to, the captain of the ship can hope that their boat stays afloat like it should, we can hope that we can get that next promotion, stash away savings for a nice retirement fund, make the starting lineup on our team, get that college scholarship, or have a nice home with two cars and three kids (the American Dream). But the reality is that we can’t always count on those things to happen “like they should.” Those pieces of our lives that we hope for and the hope that we place in them can be misguided and leave us unsatisfied or simply hopeless when things don’t work out like we would like them to or when life gets hard and throws us a curveball.
The good news for us today is that we can hold fast to the hope we profess as believers in Christ because of the certainty of the promise given to us by faith. Unlike some of the things and people that we can be tempted to place our full hope in, the hope that we have in Christ is unshakable. It’s a hope that brings us true certainty, it’s a hope that carries us through those tough times, it’s a hope that fights on our behalf and reminds us of our true place as God’s child, our future home awaiting us in glory with Him, and that He goes with us on this journey called life. In other words, for the Christian, this hope that we read about and talk about is our identity: it’s what defines us. We have hope because of what Christ has done for us on the cross and in the empty tomb.
Hebrews 10:23 finishes this way “…for He who promised is faithful.” What a great reminder for us as we go through our lives this week and beyond: that we can hold fast to the hope that is promised to us in and through Christ because He is faithful to uphold His Word and sustain us. Now that’s something to hold onto!
Pastor Ben Bigaouette