Without Faith, There is No “Hope”
For with “Hope” Alone Therein Lies Doubt.
“This is one of the most beautiful types of spiritual failures that is known. So many have mistaken Hope for Faith. They had a confused idea that if they hoped strong enough they could bring the desired thing to them. They didn’t know that Hope was future.”
E. W. Kenyon
So much is said about Hope these days that it’s a wonder anyone at all stops to think about the absolute failure of the word - “Hope” - in and of itself when it is put into real world practice. If we Hope then we don’t really know for sure. That is the nature of Hope – uncertainty. The hoper does not really know if that for which he or she hopes will ever ring true.
Yet Hope resonates from church pulpits everywhere on Sunday and worshipers use it so often that it begs the question: Do we really understand its meaning? Do Christians?
Presidential candidates throw Hope around as a magic elixir to repair all that is wrong with this world never defining its purpose. Newspapers raise it in bold-face headlines in order to capture the passerby’s eye and their readers’ hearts, imaginations, and money. Nightly news programs speak of Hope with the best of intentions, but like a candidate out on the stump, or a newspaper inside a metal street corner box, television cannot offer any realities to anyone desperately searching for the Good News Hope implies.
But what is there to be made of it… Hope? At its very best, Hope by itself is a feeling that something positive may happen in the future. Feeling, as opposed to knowledge, that is. Hope cannot make things happen. It won’t ever speak to what you can do right now. At its worst, Hope provides a strict barrier to that which is real – to what you should already know exists. Hope is for future reference only and leaves a big void in the here and now.
“Hope paints the clouds at the setting of the sun and makes the dying day beautiful… Hope cannot create, and its dominion is oft-times dangerous… [Faith} is bringing into the present tense things which were in the future for us. So we can see that Hope is never now.”
E. W. Kenyon
Christians speak of Hope in a completely different context, or at least they should. God’s promises of eternal life and the coming again of Jesus Christ are what all Christians “Hope” for, but with the knowledge that that which they are hoping will take place within the reality of what they already possess – that which they know was given to them long ago upon Calvary’s Cross in the defeat of the adversary. This knowledge gives believers power over death and wipes away all sin. It is here and now for always. God’s Living Word says His people have these things and that nothing can separate them from it.
“Many people are in bondage to faith’s most dangerous enemy. Faith is giving substance to that for which we vainly hoped. Hope has no substance. It is an empty cloud. Hope deludes the lost; it deludes the sick and the defeated. There is no Hope for the hoper if he remains a hoper. Prayer that is based on Hope is sure to fail.”
E. W. Kenyon
The difference between one who hopes opposed to one who knows is that of the ability to hear God’s Living Word and use it as a guide to pick-up where Christ left off. Nowhere does God say we are going to receive His forgiveness after we die. Nowhere is it written that God is some entity that exists only in an unknown spiritual realm and we will not see Him or know of Him until this life is done. Life on Earth is not a guilt walk or proving ground whereto God abandons us to dwell with our sins in shame until He calls us; life is not a “preparation” to receive God’s promise – we already have it. It is up to us to live it!
God came to us in the Living Word; Jesus Christ lived, died, defeated sin, and rose again from the dead to put-away our guilt and shame forever. He defeated sin so that we can live on Earth with God and so that God can be here in us and work through us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The debt has been paid in full and from that moment onward all who believe in Him are forgiven. No hope necessary.
That God is not present – that He only exists in the hearts and minds of believers and is “whatever you want him to be” - is complete and utter nonsense. Learned speak after centuries of teaching by non-believers of God’s Living Word - by prophets and philosophers long dead and buried (and not Risen). These are the empty words of skeptics who only believe what they can see or touch and followers of that which has never become flesh.
God tells us directly what to do in His Living Word and that is an ever-present reality.
The reality that puts all skepticism and doubt surrounding God into proper perspective was born with Jesus Christ, died with Jesus Christ, buried with Jesus Christ, and defeated when He rose again from the dead. Far more physical evidence of this miracle exists – far more eye-witness testimony – than is ever needed to send murderers to death row, but yet a cloud of doubt hangs over it.
Millions and in some cases billions of years have long passed since the scientific evidence of the “origins of man” - that so many look to for answers - walked this Earth. Much effort and money has gone into proving this science man’s story, beginning to end. Still there is no more than a few bones and weak theories of dead men (theories with gaps that span many more millions of years) to show for this effort.
While science is very interesting and research is an essential tool for humanity, neither provides complete answers or undeniable facts. At its best, science can only provide Hope that “something greater” may exist. But even that news is suspect.
God’s Living Word is the truth and Good News given for all mankind. He was born, He lived, He was crucified, buried, He defeated sin, and then He rose again from the dead. This truth is spoken in the words of Jesus and then written by those who witnessed – many of whom were the very bitter enemies of Christ that had Him put to death. They are not words derived from old bones.
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping – believing that he would become the father of many nations… Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise.”
Romans 4:18, 20
Hope minus God’s Living Word is empty and useless. It grabs at straw. It leaves opening to doubt. It is an open-ended “feeling” with no real roots – no tangible promise.
That which Christ fulfilled on the Cross seals the deal and provides firm ground to walk upon in the ever-present shadow of doubt. It completes the journey from eternal darkness to eternal life. It gives certainty that “what we hope for will actually happen” and “gives us assurance” of that which cannot be seen with the eyes or touched by the hands.
This Miracle is also, however, the benchmark to wipe-away sin and allows the Holy Spirit to dwell among us here-and-now. We don’t have to wait for (or Hope for) something we already have in Christ. This is Faith. This is the Good News!
Faith is the promise of Hope wrapped up in the certainty that God appeared before us in the flesh, as the Son of Man, in real time. He walked this Earth to be one of us. He died on the Cross for our salvation. He defeated sin to make us righteous. He is Risen from the dead for the Hope of all mankind that we may have everlasting life with the Father. He is “with us always” as he is right now living with, in and through all those who believe.
Hope is completed by the Living Word of God. What comfort the knowledge should be that everything Christians Hope for is sealed in the flesh and blood of Christ; the Living Word is the guarantee (the proof) that he who believes shall have everlasting life.
“Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
I Corinthians 3:16, 17
There’s Hope you can believe in!
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
In His Presence; E. W. Kenyon, 2003 Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, Inc.