I’ve been working on Sunday’s sermon on hope, and last night Calvin’s Institutes sparked an idea. He discusses the connection between faith, hope, and love (3.2.41-43). After sleeping on it, I wrote this for my sermon. There’s still time to change what needs fixing, if you spot something.

There’s a reason why 1 Cor. 13:13 puts hope together with faith and love. Hope requires faith. It’s more than a mere wish, “hoping” that something turns out for the best. Biblical hope is a firm and certain confidence that what God promised will come true. We say “hopefully” when we’re not sure if events will break our way. God says “hope fully on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming” (1 Peter 1:13).

Hope requires love. It’s more than expecting a future event to happen, it’s hoping that it does. Biblical hope brims with desire. Hopers don’t merely believe that God will keep his promise, they need him to. They yearn for his return more than anything.

Tell me what you hope for—what you dream about when you don’t have to think about anything—and I’ll tell you what you believe. Tell me what you hope for, and I’ll tell you what you love.


Add yours →

  1. Amen, Mike. Very good thoughts. Completely agree. Best, accessible explaination on hope I’ve read in a while. Where are you preaching Sunday?

  2. This triad (faith, love, hope — the “normal” order, but flexes via context) may be one of the most repeated items from the Bible (just google it). It surfaces in most of Paul’s epistles. I think it is the answer for the consistent structure of Paul’s epistles: First half theology proper (=faith, not believing but belief), Second half praxis that flows from theology (=love=ethics), Third, the motivation and promises of the future integrated throughout (=hope).

    When I research Acts 17 (Areopagus Address) years ago, I argued that it is a thorough Jewish-Christian sermon, containing the ingredients that Second Temple Jewish literature wanted Gentiles to know and own as proselytes: God as Creator, monotheism, an ethic to which you repent, a future judgment…with the addition of Christ in due time. As I continued thinking about it, the categories of Faith (theology), Love (ethics), and Hope (eschatology) actually flow from these themes (which, IMHO, I think Paul as a good Jew joined with Christ and thereby flowed his missionary proclamation and eventual writing to the churches).

    I have written/papers in piecemeal on this, but I need to pull all of these pieces together and write it up … if only I had more time in retirement 😉

  3. You hit it right on the head. Hope has content and basis; that content and basis being the things believed. Love is the fuel that gives hope life. I like how this understanding gives meaning and context to the 1 cor. passage…

  4. One more thing on a lighter note… Here is a possible sermon illustration… May be Gary Meaders can do a banjo version of it for you…. 😉

  5. Since I read this can I skip out of Sunday’s sermon?

  6. Preaching 1 Peter 1:13-25 this week. I find it interesting that the first imperative in Peter’s letter is “set your hope fully on future grace.” A strong hope in that future grace at the return of Jesus is the launching pad for being holy as a He is holy, conducting ourselves with a healthy fear of God, and loving one another as Peter goes on to command. I love that his first command is in essence, lean heavily on the gospel of grace, I command it!

  7. “We say “hopefully” when we’re not sure if events will break our way.” Comment: Perhaps not the place in your sermon, but when I get an opportunity I like to emphasize to Believers how the world system has hijacked Biblical words and assigned its own definitions to them, making them “accessible to all” and self-defined. Think of someone, a Christian even, stating, “Hopefully, if I am lucky I’ll get the job.” The point is that the enemy is not only constantly trying to make sure that people don’t come to faith, but also trying to take away the faith that Believers have in an attempt to shipwreck them and render them powerless.

    To turn a phrase that may be familiar to the author, The church “says” what it believes (as opposed to sings)

    In addition, I’m not sure if you attempt to unpack any of Hebrews 11:1 in this sermon, but if you plan to, I would be interested to see it. I try to put that scripture in front of people as much as I can as I never seem to be able to penetrate it. I’m apparently in good company:
    Wesley’s comment on Hebrews 11:1: Many times have I thought, many times have I spoke, many times have I wrote upon these words; and yet there appears to be a depth in them which I am in no wise able to fathom. Faith is, in one sense of the word, a divine conviction of God and of the things of God; in another, (nearly related to, yet not altogether the same) it is a divine conviction of the invisible and eternal world.

    In conclusion, this sounds more like a sermon series than a single sermon. Funny how that happens.

  8. I have faith in you and I hope all goes well. I’d love to be there.

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