What Is “The Hope” Of A Believer In Jesus?
Unlike the English word ‘hope’, the New Testament Greek word from which hope is translated* (‘elpis’) contains no uncertainty. It means ‘confident expectation’ in something that is certain but not yet realised!
So our question becomes: what is the confident expectation that a believer in Jesus has for the future?
The answer we are going to see is that ‘the hope’ – ‘the confident expectation’ – is that our adoption as children of God (received and confirmed by baptism into Jesus – Galatians 3:26-27) will be fully realised and experienced in the future, in a remarkable and mind-boggling way. Our bodies will be redeemed (from suffering, fear, decay, sin and death) when the glory of Christ is revealed in us! The hope is none other than the gift of knowing 100% for sure, that, through Jesus, we will fully become adopted as the children of God. As His children, we will inherit our Father’s ‘estate’ (everything God is and everything He owns; His Glory, His Life, His Kingdom, His World) with Christ!
The answer above has been taken from the quotes below found in a section of the book of Romans:
“The Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship”
“We are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory”
“Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us”
“The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed”
“The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God”
“The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time”
“We… groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved” – Romans 8:14-24 (NIV)
Note the last words above. When we receive salvation by being called, led and directed into Jesus Christ through faith and baptism (Galatians 3:26-27), we are saved in 100% confident anticipation that we will inherit the glory of God as His children! All that is required for us to do is to genuinely and authentically trust and believe in God as our new Father and Jesus Christ as our glorified Lord (the Son of God, who we are now remarkably joint-heirs / co-heirs with). We do this by following and cooperating with the leading of the Spirit of the Father and Jesus (the Son of God) in our lives (read Romans 8). This includes us seeking to come to know, love and trust in the Father and His Son through the revelation given to us in the word of God.
Believe, Receive, Welcome And Accept
It is recorded concerning Jesus’ public ministry to the Jewish people (as the light of the world) that ”his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” – John 1:11 (ESV). If we receive Jesus as the light of the world and believe and accept his message, then we (remarkably) are given the right and privilege of also becoming the children of God. Acceptance of God’s Son is the basis of also becoming children.
Baptism is a symbolic act that says to the world “I accept and have faith in Jesus, the Son of God, for everything he is and everything he has power to give. I want him for my life, I want to do my life with him and in him.” By being baptised into Christ, we accept God’s offer of grace in Jesus. Effectively, we become clothed with Jesus and by being in Jesus, we become the children of God by association with him.
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” – Galatians 3:26-27, CSB
“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” – Romans 5:1-2, CSB
A Hope That Motivates
Our adoption and salvation is not yet fully revealed, but what we do have is the confident expectation that it will be revealed. This hope motivates us to live transformed lives. Our consciousness that we are God’s children and will become God’s children and our appreciation for this great love (that a great Father has adopted us) leads us to purity and holiness as we walk in the light of the Father and His Son.
“See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children — and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure” – 1 John 3:1-3 (CSB)
Jesus: The Firstfruits Of A Great Harvest
Jesus was the first person to rise from the dead and never die again. All those in Christ, who belong to him, will experience the same at his second coming! If a person in Jesus has died prior to his coming, they will, firstly, be raised from the grave, and then they will experience what is simply (but wonderfully) called in the passage below; being ‘made alive’! (which reminds us of what is said of Jesus after his resurrection (“After he had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them!” – Act 1:3)
“Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterwards, at His coming, those who belong to Christ” – 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (HCSB)
Jesus will transform our bodies and make them like his own. This is the redemption of our bodies spoken of in Romans 8:23! Jesus has the power to transform our bodies and make them like his own glorified body.
“He called you through our gospel, so that you may share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” – 2 Thessalonians 2: 14
“We also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself” – Philippians 3:20-21
A New And Glorious Identity
What sprouts up looks completely different from the seed sown! Like seeds sown into the ground, we die and our bodies are laid in the grave. The resurrection of our bodies from the grave will be like the sowing of an insignificant seed in the earth, that will sprout up/ be raised up to a new and different life and glory. This will be the process of the resurrection of the dead. We conclude with a wonderful passage from Corinthians:
“So it is with the resurrection of the dead: sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body…And just as we have borne the image of the man made of dust (Adam), we will also bear the image of the heavenly man (Jesus). Brothers, I tell you this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and corruption cannot inherit incorruption. Listen! I am telling you a mystery (a secret) we will not all fall asleep (forever), but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory…Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain”.” – 1 Corinthians 15:42-58 (HSCB)
“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore you, secure you, strengthen you, and establish you” – 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)
*Our English language Bibles were translated from manuscripts written primarily in two languages; Hebrew (in the Old Testament) and Greek (in the New Testament). The translative history of the Bible is a fascinating journey, from an academic and historical perspective, and is well worth exploring. You can read more about the translation process here.