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By Dr. Al Hearne II

sunrise god is hope

God is Hope! Paul writes in Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." This is a powerful prayer for believers, stating that hope is essential to God's nature. Furthermore, it calls for believers to place their growing, confident expectation for God to fulfill his promises.

The Greek word for hope is elpsis, and it serves as an example of a significant difference between English and Greek word definitions. In English, hope is a feeling, such as, "I hope I catch a fish" or "I hope that my paper is good enough." These statements mean I may catch a fish or I may not, my paper is good enough or not, and I am going to feel the result. Yet, in Greek, hope is not a feeling; it is a statement of expectation with confidence in the outcome, often aimed at eternal salvation, such as in Psalm 130:7, "O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption." Here, the Psalmist speaks confidently, expecting eternal salvation as the only outcome.

Romans 15:13 begins with the declaration, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing." God is addressed as the "God of hope," emphasizing that hope is a part of God's nature. Drawing upon his Jewish heritage, Paul understood that God is the ultimate source of hope for believers. The Jews knew that the only solution to living in a world filled with uncertainty and despair was the hope God offered based upon the fact that God always fulfills His promises. For example, in Psalm 130, the Psalmist pleads for the Lord to hear his cry because the Lord's word is where he placed his hope (Psalm 130:5). The Psalmist had expectation and confidence that God would keep his promises and provide redemption to His children.

Paul continues, stating that believers are to be filled with "all joy and peace in believing." Joy and peace are not dependent on external circumstances but are rooted in hope, our expectation with confidence that God will remain faithful to His promises. By placing our hope in God, believers experience a deep-seated joy that surpasses fleeting happiness and a profound sense of peace that calms our hearts. This joy and peace are fruits of the Spirit working within us, producing a feeling of contentment and well-being (Galatians 5:22-23).

Before his death and resurrection, Jesus promised to send a helper (John 14:16-17) to be with believers. Paul's phrase here in Romans 15:13, "so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope," highlights both the fact that God has kept this promise and the role of the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, believers are to continually grow in their hope with expectation and confidence that God will continue to keep His promises. As believers allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, their hope will continually grow, enabling them to face life's challenges with confidence and assurance of eternal salvation.

Reflect upon your confident expectation that God keeps and fulfills His promises. In light of this, how has God's hope sustained you through challenging times? Are there any areas of life where you need to trust God more deeply? Take a moment and invite the Holy Spirit to empower you to abound even more in hope, and then ask, "Lord, how can I share this overflowing hope with those around me who may be in need?"

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