Is It Faith, Or Is It Hope? (ATP)
Can you go into more detail about the biblical difference between hope and faith? I thought hope was an expected outcome.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
This verse is the go to verse, though not the only one that describes what faith is. If we look carefully at it, we see something interesting, that is that the first part of the verse (before the comma) and the second part, say essentially the same thing.
Faith is the substance or the realization, or as it restates in the same verse, the evidence.
Obviously, if what you believe hasn’t happened yet, one might have a hard time “proving” it. This is a very worldly way of looking at things and is the reason many people have a hard time understanding why we believe what we do. They resort to calling it being brainwashed or believing in a fairytale. (This, coming from people who usually spout the need to be open minded.) Because they do not understand they do not give it any possible credit. Unfortunately, many “believers” also embrace this line of thinking to their own hurt.
Focus on this: faith is the evidence. The evidence of faith begins in the heart. It is a process getting there, but once you arrive, it’s reality is self-proven. If I can say it this way, the evidence of faith is not a tangible thing. Though it is not something you can touch, it’s reality is no less present.
Hope is a little different. Hope is the thing expected, really hope is what you have faith for. While faith is the belief that something will appear, hope is the thing that is expected to appear. In a Christian sense, hope can be summed up as the goodness or the blessing of God. On a day to day basis you may not have all the answers to your prayers but those answers are your hope or expectation. Faith in you, if you have faith in you, tells you constantly that though you don’t see it, you certainly will.
With salvation, in regards to what happens when you die for example, if you are breathing you have no outward guarantee of what will happen. The idea of going to Heaven is your hope, the thing that makes one not fear dying is the faith in that hope. Faith and hope work together very closely, in fact you cannot have one without the other.
Another way to see this is found in Romans 8:24-25, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Eagerly waiting with perseverance is faith as described here. Faith is found in all these: patience, perseverance, contentment, peace, and joy. If faith is real, then to that person their hope is confirmed, or as good as gotten.
I love what we are told in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Love is the reason and the basis for faith and hope. Not just any love, but God’s love which has been and still is proven over and over. If we allow our faith and hope to reside in the truth of the Word, in God’s love, we will never be disappointed. Be firmly grounded in God’s love, and faith and hope will work in you continually!