Biblical Hope- Hebrews 6:9-20

One of the many things which the Bible tells believers we have in Christ is hope. This, however, is not hope as people generally understand hope to be. The basic understanding of hope is generally as a form of wishing, as in I hope I get that raise at work or I hope my team wins the game this weekend. Biblical hope, however, is different, for it is not a wish, but an expectation. In biblical hope, we expect something to happen, so we act upon it because we are certain it will. Biblical hope may be defined as a confident action taken based upon a guarantee made by another, a guarantee made by God. Having given a definition of biblical hope, we will turn to Scripture in order to see an example of it, as well as to examine how living in this hope can positively impact our lives. We turn to Hebrews 6:9-20 to find our “example”, as well as a “definition”. The writer begins, in verse 9, with “Even though we speak like this, beloved, we are confident of better things in your case- things that accompany salvation”. The writer has just finished warning those who have “fallen away”, who have no real hope because they do not have Christ, and in this passage he is speaking to true believers, telling them of things he is “confident of”, because these things “accompany salvation”, are part of what the believer has in Christ. He first tells them (verse 10), that God is not unjust, but always rewards service to Him, and he also shows us exactly how it is believers serve God. They were doing so as they “helped his people and continue to help them”. We serve God primarily by helping others, and God rewards us for this service. He then tells them that each of them is to find their place of service and serve diligently “to the very end”. The word end here is teleos, and refers to end as a goal or purpose rather than a point in time. We are to serve diligently until we reach the goal set before us, with our service directed toward achieving that goal, we labor toward that goal because we have hope, we expect God’s promises to be fulfilled. We are also to serve diligently “in order to make your hope sure”. This verse gives rise to a question which needs to be answered: Is the “in order to” referring to the service or the hope? Does diligent service produce hope, or does hope produce diligent service? This returns us to the beginning of this post. If we see hope through the world’s definition (as a wish), then diligent service produces hope. If our wishes come true, we will act upon them. If we get the raise, then we will give money to charity. This will then make us more “hopeful” regarding our next “wish”. If we see hope through the biblical definition (as an expectation which produces action), then hope produces diligent service, for we serve diligently in response to (hope upon) what God has promised to those who do so. We expect God to do what He says, and we act accordingly. If God had promised us a raise (a very big “if” there), we would begin to give money to charity now in light of the expected raise. Each action based in hope produces more hope, which in turn will produce more action, make our hope “more sure”. The writer then reinforces this understanding of hope in verse 12, reminding us that those who diligently act in response to what God has promised (biblical hope), will “inherit” what has been promised, not falling away like those who have no real hope. In order to further clarify this understanding of hope, the writer then provides an example of someone living in hope, and that example will be the subject of our next post.

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