HOPE vs. hope

Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be”. Romans 4.18

Note that the word “hope” is used twice in the beginning of this verse. How can one hope be against the other?

This situation would not make sense, and this is why we conclude that the apostle Paul is using the word hope with two contrasting definitions here.

There are basically two kinds of people in the world, and both certainly feed one of the two kinds of hope.

 

Which kind of hope do you have?

1 – The first kind is governed by “hope” in the Greek sense of the word, where “hope” means “uncertainty of the future”. It refers to a hope in something that is humanly possible. This natural hope excludes the supernatural power of God’s work in us, denying that all things are possible for those who use their faith. So this definition of hope can be characterized as “hoping everything goes well”.

This is the kind of hope that Paul states Abraham opposed. It is the spirit of this world, which we should reject as long as we walk by faith. With this “hope”, when things “don’t happen”, people become powerless. These people will never change their own story! Instead of dictating the rules in their lives, the problems are the ones that dictate them. Instead of reigning, they surrender to the echoes of past failures, present challenges and their future perceptions become the most miserable. They are essentially negative individuals.

A synonym for this kind of hope is “unbelief”. The hope that is rooted to the natural, can only produce fear. And fear is the spirit of unbelief, which acts in the mind to destroy our dreams. Fear is a kind of faith, but it works on the negative. Always expecting the worst is the truest definition of unbelief.

2 – The second kind follows the traditional Jewish interpretation that hope is the “expectation that things will work out, because God is faithful”. Abraham’s faith was characterized by this hope. He had faith in the Promises and the Character of God. There was no reason for Abraham to have hope in himself or in his human condition, but his hope was in what God had promised, and that He would surely fulfill what He had promised. This is the “hope” that pleases God and nourishes faith. And, faith is for your spirit, what hope is for your mind.

 

There is something else we should understand, when you have hope that God will do the impossible, you are challenging the spirits of hell and everything else that is not of the faith. These spirits will try to manifest in your thoughts, as well as use people you highly regard. People who are used by the spirit of unbelief or a religious spirit will oppose you. (Take a look at the example of Jesus and how He dealt with Jairus’ “friends” when they said his daughter had died and there was nothing that could be done – Mark 5.35,36).

Paul highlights the battle that took place in the mind of Abraham: “against hope (Greek version)… with HOPE (Jewish version)…”

During your journey of faith, this is the battle you have to face first. It is fundamental for true hope to win, because the kind of hope that wins will inspire your faith and determine the course of your life!

Remember: Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham”. John 8.39

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