Have you ever considered that everyone around you hopes for something? People in difficult circumstances hope their circumstances will change. Farmers hope that the bad weather will hold off. Sports fans hope their favorite team will win the upcoming game. To be human is to hope.
So here is the question: what makes the hope that Christians have in the Gospel so different from that of unbelievers? In order to answer this question, we must make an important distinction between hope and hope in God.
Hope is a wish for change. The hope that all people have is simply a wish for things to change. It's a hope that is derived from a wish that the current circumstances will change, that a desired outcome will come about, or that a specific need is met. This is a hope that is founded in mid-air in the sense that it is void of any assurance. You can hope that things will get better, but have no assurance that things will get better.
2. Hope In God
Hope in God is a confident assurance of future redemption. In other words, it is a hope that stands confident in knowing that things will not always be how they now appear. A Christian with cancer can confidently say, with joy, "I won't always suffer." Hope in God is sure, steady, and assured. This is why Christians that suffer stand in such contrast with unbelievers who suffer. Christians can say with Jesus, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4) while unbelievers can only hope their current circumstance will pass while eternal condemnation still awaits after death.
Hope in God is a confident assurance of future redemption.
Because of the Gospel. Because Christ took the penalty of sin and offers salvation to those who repent of their sins and trust Christ by faith, hope in God is possible. For the unbeliever, mere hope in this life is all there is. While for the believer, hope in God holds them like an anchor in the mercy and grace of God. Knowing that while things are bad now, the best is truly yet to come.
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Lead Pastor Resident at College Park Church in Indianapolis, 'Tweeter' at @brad_merchant, and avid reader of books.