Hope…

I’ve been threatening for ages to write something about hope. I’ve been thinking about how this is a key part of our understanding of faith – indeed it may well go to explaining something of what faith is all about. There’s a bit in the book of Hebrews in the Bible that says “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. So I guess it’s ok to say that faith and hope are irretrievably linked. Indeed the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 that ‘faith, hope and love’ are key to being ‘of Christ’.

But how far can we take this? Could we say that hope is a sign of God at work? By that I mean that even those who wouldn’t say that they believed in God have an inherent sense of hope that makes them willing to believe that even in the worst of times things can get better. So by experiencing this they’re actually experiencing something of God – just without the label! Now, I know that this is similar to the whole ‘where there is good, there is God’ argument, and is on the fringes of something universalist, but it would be an incredible tool for helping people who don’t believe to see how God could already be at work in their lives. Can we be comfortable with the idea that God is already at work in the lives of people who don’t yet confess Christ as Lord?

Just some ruminations…what do you think?

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4 thoughts on “Hope…

  1. Hi Martin,
    I can see how this could be a tool to help people to see that God may be at work in their lives, even without them acknowledging Him…. I’ve just always thought that the Holy Spirit doesn’t force access – is a ‘gentleman’! and responds fully to our invitation…. but there has to be that invite? But, that said, I do see hope at work in people of no or little faith, in the midst of the most difficult of situations – and I know that God cannot be limited…. just some thoughts!
    God bless Ann (Pill)

  2. Hi Ann!

    Yeah – this is something I’ve struggled with for a whole – the idea that God doesn’t force himself on anyone corresponds very much with our ‘free will’ doctrine. Perhaps this is a different perspective on God’s involvement in our lives – less overt ‘in yer face’ and more about influence. I guess what I might be working my way around to is suggesting that a more effective, more authentic way to ‘evangelise’ might be to point out where God is at work rather than telling people that they are sinners and need God.

    Thanks for your comment!
    M

  3. Just another thought – I guess it’s also about pointing out the work of God and the Holy Spirit around them in the world. More people are getting comfortable with the idea of God being way ahead of the church in terms of mission – that we are following him rather than bringing God through our presence (which we still do, but you know what I mean).

  4. As far as evangelistic efforts are concerned I reckon that different people will respond to different methods….. and certainly pointing out the work of God and the Holy Spirit in the world around some would draw them to Him – Its finding the effective way to help people to realise they need Jesus as Saviour – sometimes maybe needed ‘in yer face’ sometimes not….. and yes, you can put a link to my blog if you want…. its taken me a while to be more open about it 🙂 thanks anyway!
    God bless Ann

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