As I’m preparing a series of messages from Psalm 130 on the topic of HOPE, I was drawn to Hebrews and the connection between Faith and Hope. Hebrews 6:11-12 says “Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, so that you won’t become lazy, but imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.” Let’s pursue this connection between hope and faith a little further. The term “full assurance” (used here in verse 11, plerophorian) is found one other place in Hebrews, namely, 10:22. However, there it is “full assurance of faith” instead of “full assurance of hope.” It says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” Then in the next verse it says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Notice, hope is something that should not waver, because it is rooted in the faithfulness of God. There should be moral certainty in it because the will and purpose of God are like iron, not chalk.
But what about the relationship between full assurance of faith and full assurance of hope? Is there a difference? I would suggest that faith is the larger idea and hope is a necessary part of biblical faith. Hope is that part of faith that focuses on the future. In biblical terms, when faith is directed to the future, you can call it hope. But faith can focus on the past and the present too, so faith is the larger term. Wherever there is full assurance of hope, there is faith. Faith is the full assurance of hope. Biblical faith is a confident expectation and desire for good things in the future.
But faith is more than that. It is also the “conviction of things not seen,” and some of these are not future. For example, verse 3: “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God.” Faith can look back (to creation) as well as forward. So faith is the larger idea. It includes hope, but is more than hope. You might put it this way: faith is our confidence in the Word of God, and whenever that Word has reference to the future, you can call our confidence in it hope. Hope is faith in the future tense.
“Why is the relationship between faith and hope so important?” One reason is that it helps us grasp the true nature of biblical hope. Most of us know that biblical faith is a strong confidence. Doubt is the enemy of biblical faith. But if hope is faith in the future tense, then we can see more clearly that hope, too, is a strong confidence and not just wishful thinking. The other reason it is important to see this relationship between faith and hope is that it shows how indispensable hope is. We all know that we are saved by grace through faith. Faith is necessary for our salvation. But we don’t as often speak of hope in those terms. But we should. Hope is an essential part of faith. Take away hope and the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 is destroyed. We are not merely saved by grace through faith. We are saved by grace through hope.