Notes

What About Hope? Win the World with It

Excerpts of K. Scott Oliphint, “Win the World with Hope,” at Desiring God.

An unbelieving friend of mine, with whom I have been communicating the gospel over the years, returned from a business trip to India. It must not have been a particularly pleasant trip, because when I asked him how it went, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Your God cannot exist. If he did, the massive misery that plagues this country would not be present.” … ¶ But biblical eyeglasses require that Christians be hopeful people.

One of the things that seems too often to be obscured in our Scriptural vision is the theological virtue of hope. Along with love and faith, the church has recognized a special place for Christian hope (1 Corinthians 13:13). ¶ But like a middle child, hope has been virtually ignored because of its other two siblings, faith and love…

[W]hat about hope? If hope is set aside, then our biblical vision can easily become extremely near-sighted. Without Christian hope, we have trouble seeing beyond the present circumstances that are right in front of us.

The reality of hope in all of its biblical fullness is given to the church after Christ’s resurrection. This gift tells us a good bit about what our true hope is. Christian hope is grounded in the sure resurrection of those who are united to the One who was raised from the dead. The futility of our faith is thwarted because Christ has been raised (1 Corinthians 15:17). Without that resurrection, faith would have no hope; it would be devoid of any certainty for our future.

… [I]n your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you… (1 Peter 3:15).

… [O]ne of the most powerful truths that we can offer our objectors is true hope.