Do you have hope? Does it depend on circumstances? Or does it depend on whether you have a positive outlook on life?
Biblical hope does not depend on either of these things.
ROMANS 5:5 says:
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Let’s delve into this verse a bit. There is stunning truth behind this.
This verse in Romans reads differently in some other versions of the Bible.
Many translations read, “…and hope does not disappoint…”
Why, you may ask, do some versions say, ‘put to shame’ and some versions say, ‘disappoint?’ Good question!
Well, the Greek word used is ‘kataischunei’ - which has the meaning to ‘cause to blush.’ It also means ‘to mortify.’
That is interesting, because we have an expression, in English, “I am really mortified,” which means, “I am really embarrassed.”
Mortify also comes from the word ‘mort’ which means ‘death,’ therefore ‘to mortify’ means to put to death.
Biblical hope does not make us embarrassed, ashamed, or mortified.
I can understand why authentic hope would not cause disappointment. That is obvious, but why would true hope not make us ashamed. What has shame to do with it?
It all makes sense when we understand that we have been living in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Many of us have a hope which has its roots in the knowledge of good and evil. It is based on certain expectations. For example, if we go to church every Sunday, then God will make sure our kids turn out alright.
When we have ‘hopes’ or expectations (within the Tree of Knowledge) to be someone better, then when are disappointed when we do not measure up. We are also ashamed.
I know all about this. I hoped to be a radical, on fire Christian, with a lot of success in ministry. When I had a moral failure, I was viscerally disappointed and deeply ashamed. This disappointment and shame was because I had a misplaced hope in my own ability to be successful as a Christian. I also hoped that God would help me fulfil my ambition. It didn’t work out.
Disappointment and shame are symptoms of the knowledge of good and evil. They come from unmet expectations. Expectations set by the knowledge of good and evil can never be fulfilled.
Biblical hope is a substance that is deposited into us by God. It does not have false expectations based in the knowledge of good and evil. Biblical hope is not positive thinking about measuring up to some standard. Biblical hope comes to the naked, the poor, the wretched, the blind. It is real, substantive, and carries the seed of fulfilment within it.
More to come…