I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it but there are two kinds of hope. The most common way we use the word today is to mean a desire or a wish.
“I hope the pandemic ends soon.” “I hope my family stays healthy.” “I hope life makes sense someday.”
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The other kind of hope is different. This kind of hope is something in the future you can count on with certainty. It’s an event or blessing that will absolutely happen. For example, the hope of heaven. The promise those who trust in Christ will have eternal life.
What do you count on in your life? In other words, what do you put your hope in? Your family? Your career? Your physical health and vitality? Your bank account? All those things are good, but they’re temporal. Wishing for them to be the foundation of your life is not a good plan because they don’t last.
What lasts? Things that are eternal. Biblical hope is a guarantee from God concerning a future outcome for your good. It’s anchored in who Jesus is.
All over the world people acknowledge the birth of Jesus, born in a shabby manger at a specific location on earth, at a specific moment in human history. (We don’t know the actual date, but we know it was in Bethlehem—as it was foretold centuries before in the Old Testament.)
That little baby was God Incarnate: the Son of God, who came to earth to show us what love looks like. He came to be the very physical revelation of the invisible God and the creator of all. He came also to take the penalty of sin and to give us a way to reconcile with God and have eternal life.
How do we know this? The Gospel (which means “good news”!) tells us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians, says that their faith in Christ Jesus springs “from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel” (Ephesians 1:5-6).
What is this hope “stored up in heaven”? The absolute certainty of eternal life with Christ for those who believe in Him.
What amazing hope is that!
Listen to the Apostle Paul:
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:15-20).
This is an eternal foundation! This is your true hope! This is the hope of Christmas, and of all time.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip