Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NASB)
Hope is the first of the four themes for advent. All too often we speak of hope in a wishful way. “I hope I make it to work on time.” “I hope you’re feeling better.” “Hopefully, my children will sleep tonight.” This kind of uncertain, wishful thinking is not what it means to have hope in Christ. In Christ, we have assurance. We have security. We have a Savior who has come, fulfilling the prophecies of old, and who will come again! Maranatha!
One advent season, I began thinking about where I often put my hope, and where it ought to be. To remind myself, I made a list of where my hope should not be:
- My hope is not in my finances.
- My hope is not in my health.
- My hope is not in my children.
- My hope is not in my husband and his love for me.
- My hope is not in my career or my professional success.
- My hope is not in my ability to control my life.
- My hope is not in my appearance.
- My hope is not in my self-reliance or independence.
- My hope is not in those around me.
- My hope is not in me.
All of these things are fleeting. All will ultimately disappoint. None will satisfy. None will save. None are secure. If I have everything the world offers, I could lose it tomorrow. My only hope is in Christ. He will not fail.
The Heidelberg Catechism teaches us where our comfort or hope comes from as believers:
What is your only comfort in life and death?
That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
Christ is our only sure hope. Our salvation is secure in Him. God has saved us, God is saving us, God will save us. Past, present, and future. All are certain in Him. We have great hope.
As the words of the hymn say, “He then is all my Hope and Stay.” Rejoice today in the hope of Christ!
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne. — Edward Mote