By Tim Greenwood

Hope seems to have gotten a bad rap especially in faith circles.  I have heard it taught that faith is what we are after and that hope just doesn't measure up.  But the fact is that you can't have and operate in faith without hope.

I know that Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing.  But that is not all there is to it. Hebrews 11:1 says that, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, (past tense).  Therefore, hope is a prerequisite for faith.  But faith doesn't come automatically.

Here is how it actually works.  A person has a need that they cannot fulfill.  As they seek and fail to find anyone else to fulfill that need, the situation seems more and more hopeless.  Hope tends to leave a little at a time.

Then you hear something said about someone or something that may be the answer to your need and then, depending on the reputation of the source of what was said, hope returns on some level.  If the one whom you heard is of a impeccable reputation, your hope may soar because you now believe that there is a source out there to fulfill your need.  But how does one tap the source to fulfill the need?

Now, I am talking about hope.  Not wishing, not dreaming, but real Bible hope.  Real Bible hope is expectation or anticipation based upon something rock solid.  Let me ask you, what could be more rock solid that a legal, good faith offer made to fulfill your need, offered to you by someone that, according to testimony after testimony, has never failed to keep his word and never failed to fulfill every offer, promise, covenant or contract?

God is the one.  Mostly in the form of the Lord Jesus, He has never failed to keep His word.  And both Old and New Testaments of the Bible are loaded with eyewitness testimony of how God has never failed to keep his word.  God's word is good!  I'm not talking about the printed book called the Bible.  I am saying that His word is good!  He keeps His word.  He fulfills His word.  His entire reputation and Godhead is based upon Him keeping His word.

When the word of God is heard by us, offering us a means or method to fulfill our need, and we believe it in our hearts, and hope returns once again, we are half-way there.  For we now have the prerequisite hope, which is the rock solid expectation needed to take the next important step.

God has made you a legal, good faith offer that has the ability to fulfill your need.  The question is, are you now going to accept it? If a store made an offer in the newspaper, you would clip it out and take it to the store and claim or accept that offer.  Why not take the offer you heard before God and tell Him that you claim or accept that offer, and commit to doing everything in your power to see to it that you do not breach this new relationship, covenant or contract between you.  Wow!  

You just verbally signed a legally binding good faith contract with God!  That act of faith, sealed the deal, and now, faith is.  But don't throw our your hope.  No! Faith mixed with that rock solid expectation and anticipation, should have you celebrating already!

Hope - the hope talked about in the Bible is a necessary commodity to receiving from God.  This hope should not to be confused with "a wish."
When we think about it at all, we tend to focus on hope only being a verb or an adverb such as "a desire with anticipation," "a desire with expectation of obtainment" or "the expectation of fulfilment or success," all of which are true and applicable.

But what has been hidden from us is that HOPE is also a noun.  That is to say, "someone or something on which hopes are centered."

Too often we place our hope on something tangible.  When I became ill my future hopes were based upon the success of my open-heart surgery.  When the surgery failed and I was dying, (you can read my testimony of healing from terminal heart disease in my book "Walking in Faith"), I placed my last hopes in all manner of medications and therapies.  Even though each provided some temporary relief, they all, in turn, failed, causing my hope to flee like escaping birds, leaving only an empty cage.

In the first Star Wars movie Princes Lea placed a recorded message in the little droid that said, "Obewan Canobe, you are our only HOPE!" Well, that was fiction, but this is fact:  JESUS IS OUR ONLY HOPE.  You see, our hope, (your hope), should not only be based upon something but rather someone.  And that someone is Jesus.

Without JESUS you have no hope and here is why:

First, let's establish just WHO this Jesus person is.
John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.
John 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:5  And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness overcame it not.
John 1:10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
John 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 1:13  Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 1:15  John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
John 1:16  And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.
John 1:17  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, (the Anointed One and/or His anointing).
John 1:18  No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

In the above passage, we see that John, probably in Jesus' eulogy is unveiling the Godhead all the way back to Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  The Hebrew word translated "God" is Elohiym and it is plural which describes the Godhead.
Genesis 1:2 … And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Here we see one member of the Godhead, the Spirit of God, working individually.
Gen 1:3  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Here we see God (Elohiym) speaking as one.

Now lets go back to John 1:1-2:
"In the beginning was the Word."  We already know from reading the passage that John is talking about Jesus, so JESUS IS the WORD.  John goes on to say, "the Word was with God, and the Word was God" and "The same was in the beginning with God." So, Jesus was, from the beginning, (Gen.1:1), part of the Godhead.
Verse 3 tells us that JESUS created everything in the material realm in which we live.  Every electron, proton, quark, fermion, lepton, boson of every atom of every element in every universe, star system and planet and everything on, above or under every planet.  And this includes every mineral, plant and living thing including man (Adam).

There is a Kingdom of God in Heaven.  That kingdom is made up entirely of "spirit" and everything and everyone in it is composed of spirit.  And the Godhead decided to expand that Kingdom to a material realm where they would create man:  A spirit being like the Godhead, with a soul made up of a mind, will and emotions, but existing in a material, physically living body; designed to rule and reign on Earth, just as the Godhead rules and reigns in Heaven.  The entire material creation was created to support the existence and the expansion of this material Kingdom, which would begin on Earth, the dominion over which Adam was installed ruler, (King or even god, little 'g', if you will).

The purpose, from the beginning, was The Kingdom of God - in Earth - as it is in Heaven.
Adam, as you may know, not only refused to rule, but also legally transferred his crown and scepter to a spirit being who had more leadership experience.  His name is Satan the enemy of God.  This act by Adam (our ancestor) was judged as high treason against the Kingdom of God, and Adams breach (or sin) has been passed down through every subsequent generation.

With out repentance (a legal contractual change) before the Godhead, we (mankind) are treasonous, rebellious lying, thieving followers of our father Adam and subsequently citizens of the devils kingdom; and thereby cut off from the Godhead.

History as recorded by Moses in the Torah, (the first five books of the Bible), and later books recorded by others, reveals interaction between a member of the Godhead called the LORD (or LORD God or just God) and Adam as well as subsequent attempted interactions with other individuals.  In every single case, this member of the Godhead was the one that we now call JESUS.

It was He that cast Adam from Eden.  It was He that instructed Noah in building the Ark.  It was He that stayed Abraham's hand from slaying Isaac.  It was He that spoke from the burning bush.  It was He that that split the Red Sea.  It was He that that spoke to Israel from above Mt. Sinai.  It was He that set up a separate autonomous contractual system (what we now know as the 'old' covenant) within the devil's Kingdom to allow those within that system to temporarily free themselves from sin, judgment and condemnation.  It was He that set legal precedents through Israel and the Mosaic Laws to make legal and binding his later sacrificial atonement for our remission and redemption.  It was He that spoke to the prophets.  It was He that that inspired King David to write the Book of Psalms.  It was He- the WORD - that would become - JESUS!

In verse 14 John says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
Here John reveals that Jesus, born of Mary, was a member of the Godhead born in a human body.  But WHY would He DO THAT?

Paul reveals this to us in First Corinthians 15:45 quoting, "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a life-giving spirit."

With all of the legal groundwork now laid, Jesus came:
1.    As the second and last Adam to re-establish the Kingdom of God - in Earth - as it is in Heaven.  This was His primary mission.
2.    To remit man's sins and transgressions (personal and generational) and expunge every record.
3.    To redeem mankind from the devil's Kingdom by paying a sufficient legal ransom or penalty to cover all of mankind.
4.    To set up a new, separate, autonomous, contractual system, as part of the Kingdom of God, (we now call this the 'new' covenant), governed through deputization and power of attorney.
5.    To teach mankind through both word and example how to rule, reign and be successful, as well as who they really are, what they can do and what they can have.
6.    To EQUIP mankind with a Bible loaded with legally binding Kingdom contracts, promises and agreements between the Godhead and mankind that are applicable to every need.

And as we know, Jesus did accomplish every bit of His part.  He did it through His teaching and example; He set up a five-fold ministry leadership of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers and Pastors to equip and build the assembly of the Kingdom; He gave His body to be beaten, broken and brutalized to redeem us from the curse of the law, back into the blessing of the Kingdom of God.  He shed His own lifeblood for the remission of our sins and expunged our records.  And on top of all that, after He left to receive the throne over the Kingdom of God, both in Heaven and Earth, He saw to it that we could have access to the Bible and access to He and Father God through the Holy Spirit. This is WHO Jesus was and IS.  Do you now see why your only hope is JESUS?

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
In this case it is talking about things.  FAITH (good faith) creates substance, (or something substantive) from HOPE (expectation, anticipation or desire).

Therefore HOPE is a prerequisite to FAITH. But, Jesus, our only hope, was and is the basis and source of that hope.