Faith – Elpis – Hope

Faith 2As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith.  This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site.  The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

This post will consider the term Elpis, ἐλπίς

Strong’s Definitions
ἐλπίς elpís, el-pece’; from a primary ἔλπω élpō (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence:—faith, hope.

Romans 5

One of the most hope laden passages in the New Testament is found in Romans 5.  Based upon the believer finding peace with God, hope is born.  Not some nebulous hope that someday things will turn out.  No – Paul gets specific.  This hope refers to the glory of God.

The first time (verse 2) hope is referred to, I believe is the hope that is received upon your initial salvation experience.  That hope which the believer experiences, which the Lord supplies, immediately upon finding peace with God through the Lord Jesus.  That hope is the eager expectation of seeing God glorified in our lives, to bring Him honor and love, and in the midst of that hope, rejoicing in the middle of it!

Now the second time hope is referred to in this passage (verse 4) is the hope that becomes our hope – that is, the hope that each believer acquires through experience.  My hope, like all believers, is in the Lord Jesus and His resurrection from the dead.

HopeBut my hope, unlike any other believer, is a result of the working of the Lord Jesus personally in my life, bringing endurance and character into my life. My experience with the Master is unlike any other believer, and this is the beauty of the body of Christ.  But that is a topic for later.

We must remember that the goal of the Christian life is to become like the One who died for us.  And that requires suffering.  And I don’t like that at all.  But on a personal note, every time my wife and I have went through a period of suffering, the Lord has been faithful, supporting us through it, helping us to hang on, and providing relief when He considers it best. (Usually much later than I would consider it best – But He knows best!)

Let’s read the passage in review

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

all-i-have-left-is-hope

Can we think about hope just a bit more?  Hope in the English language is sometimes used to refer to as a last resort.  Something like you might say when a person is in the hospital, ” We can only hope now.”

I’m not convinced that is the connotation in the Scripture.  This hope is a confident hope, a hope that is a “first” response, not a last resort. I believe the glory of God is not something that may happen, but that we look forward to since He has already won the victory.  The hope of the glory of God is not somewhat possible.  The glory of God is inevitable.  If you are a believer, rejoice in that.

Romans 8

Romans 8:24

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

Isn’t it obvious that hope carries with it an expectation, a confidence, an anticipation of some pleasurable experience.  No one in thier right mind hopes for a tragedy.  Hope is always associated with positive life experiences.

Note that hope is associated with the future. Nothing in the present, physical existence can be regulated to the concept of hope.  It is upon our faith in the risen Messiah that we can have confident hope that great things will occur.

1 Corinthians 13:13

1 Corinthians 13:13

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

FaithHopeWhat is the difference between faith and hope in this verse?  If I understand it, faith is associated with a person, with the Person of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures.  Hope is built on that faith, but it is associated with future happenings and experiences.

Faith is a present tense thought – Hope is always in the future.  The two concepts are two sides of a single coin.  (Somewhat like faith and repentance)

Faith in the person of Jesus, and the gracious message He brought through His life and death,  gives us an earnest expectation of good and holy things in the future.

2 Corinthians 3:12

2 Corinthians 3:12

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,

boldnessBoldness is the direct result of hope, of a specific hope that we can find in the resurrection of the Messiah.  Wonder if Paul is going to refer the the resurrection in this passage??

Philippians 1:20

Philippians 1:20

as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

I spoke earlier of hope having expectation associated with it and Paul is reiterating the same thought here.  Occasionally, I will express the same thought differently to get a point across. Paul is doing the same here.  Or he may be trying to emphasize the thought of expectation.  Yes – since again hope is connected directly with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in the next verse

Acts 23:6

Acts 23:6

Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”

hope 2Paul – you must stop connecting hope with the resurrection.  It seems to be a habit of yours!
Saint – where is your hope?  A better job?  To become rich?  For things to go my way.   I understand, since I also have these temporal hopes.
As believer’s let us remember our greater hope.  Dwell on the hope we have in His life, for just a few moments.  A hope that is higher, nobler and ultimately secure.  His resurrected life supplies us hope for the future.
Rejoice.
Thanks for visiting.  I look forward to your comments and questions.

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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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