Have you ever watched the sitcom, “I Dream of Jeannie”? She was a genie that granted wishes. We wish for something when it’s unlikely or impossible to be carried out: like to instantly have a million dollars show up in our living rooms at the nod of a genie’s head. Hope, on the other hand, is looking forward to something, such as an event. The difference between “hope” and “wish” is that hope is backed by a reasonable confidence about the desire. We hope for things that are possible and likely to happen or be achieved.
How do we define hope? It is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”, or “a feeling of trust”. Yesterday we talked about the mystery that our Father shares with us. The mystery is the gospel of Christ: He died for our sins, rose again conquering death and sin, all things are beneath His feet, and will come back for us so that we may be with Him for an eternity. That is our hope!
As we continue to count our blessings in Ephesians, we come to our hope that leads us to praise the Lord. “In Him, also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we are were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1:10a-12) As we discussed in His revealed mystery, Christ is the center of God’s plan, and He is the only meaningful hope for our future.
In the Old Testament, the Lord said, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.'” (Jer. 29:11-12) The plan wasn’t to build up our riches here on earth, contrary to what prosperity preachers might tell you. Instead the “hope and a future” refers to a hope of eternal life with the Lord. The Lord has now revealed this mystery to us.
Our hope is in Christ, which as believers is where we are–we are: in Christ. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (Rom 8:29-30) Notice the sequence by which God carries out His plan. Since this final stage is firmly grounded in God’s set purpose, it is as certain as if it has already happened.
We are being conformed to the image of His Son through His saving grace: He called us, He justified us, and He glorifies us. We are created to be glorious or to be glorified, since we are not yet glorious. Glorified not in the sense of being shown to be supremely valuable like God, but in the sense of being conformed to the image of Christ. All that He accomplished in us is for the praise of His glory. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
He has prepared a glorious future for us, so we live in hope. We wait to see our Lord face to face (Titus 2:13). We wait to have whole and healthy bodies which don’t get sick any more (Rom 8:23). And we wait to have whole and healthy souls which don’t sin any more (Gal 5:5). The indwelling Spirit of Christ is the guarantee to each believer of future glory. “To [the saints] God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27)
By faith we are: blessed with every spiritual blessing, chosen to be holy and blameless, adopted into His family, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, forgiven and reconciled with the Father, who has shared His wonderful mystery with us that gives us eternal hope. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
So let us praise Him for what He has accomplished in us as sinful men. Through our faith in Jesus, and because He died to redeem us and for the forgiveness of our sin, we have a hope that will never fade. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in today, know that the truth is that no matter what, you have an eternal hope in Christ. Walk in it in thankfulness, and praise His name! “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2)