"Real Change Brings Real Hope"
January 13, 2023, 2:05 PM

Real Change Brings Real Hope

The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)

The Psalter is unlike any other book of the Bible. In it, we often read of believers crying out to God in desperate situations. Also, we read that God always answers believers’ prayers in ways that are best for them and glorifying to Him.

Depression is a condition that many experience. In Psalm 42, the psalmist asked himself, “Why am I depressed?” God’s answer was because he had no hope! Psalm 42:11: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” The psalmist was convicted to find hope in God!

Those in Christ have hope! They are new creations. They are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:8). Christians have a real and certain hope because of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 13:13).

Believers need to remind themselves of the nature of the hope that God gives as they face the challenges of life. In general, hope is defined as an eager expectation of fulfillment of a future blessing. When people hope they are expressing trust in or reliance upon the one whom they believe will bring fulfillment. Without hope, we wander aimlessly in life and are tossed around by every one of its circumstances. When we see no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, we get discouraged. We grieve over our lives and even feel guilty for being depressed.

Thinking men and women know that there is more to life than what we see. This is not all there is, answering an old ballad. And as there is more to life than this world, there is a greater hope than our political, economic, or personal relationships can offer. The hope God gives transcends this world.

We experience many expressions of hope. For example, many people place hope in men or women. That hope often leads to disappointment, discouragement, even depression.

Surely, you have your own list of hopes and dreams. There lies at the center of all our hopes and dreams a foundational hope. This foundational hope is real and certain, and it transcends all others. It is not man-given or even man-centered. We are unable even to will it for ourselves. Only God can give this ultimate and real hope. God said that the hope He gives is eternal glory. The Apostle Paul writing God’s words said “the mystery hidden for ages but now revealed to His saints” is ultimate hope. He wrote this clear description. Ultimate and real hope is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

It follows that God’s revelation of hope raises two important questions. The first is easy to understand. The first question is “Who gives ultimate and real hope?” The answer revealed in the Bible is that God is the Giver of real hope.

The second question is “To whom does God give real hope?” Scripture’s answer is God gives hope to His saints!

Saints are not those who have departed this life and have been determined by some religious body to be holy people. Saints are those who have been set apart by God. Saints in the Bible are those whom God has chosen to be His. Saints are those whom God has called, regenerated, converted, adopted, justified, sanctified, and will be brought to glory. That is, saints are believers in the Risen Lord Jesus.

Scripture reveals that God chose: a man (Genesis 12), a nation (Deuteronomy 7), and both Jews and Gentiles (Galatians 3 and Ephesians 2) to be “in Christ.” The fact of God’s choosing individuals to be His saints is declared by the Apostles Paul and Peter in Romans 9-11 and 1 Peter 2.

I’ve often asked myself why something so clear can be so confusing to some. The only answer that I can reasonably offer is that we don’t like to think that God must choose us. We like to think that He needs our help in selecting the “right” people. In this, though, it is only critical for us to know what God thinks and has told us. God chooses those whom He wills and has mercy on those whom He chooses to show mercy (Romans 9).

God’s word is clear on the issue of ultimate and real hope. God really changes individuals and those whom He changes receive the hope of glory! Do you possess this ultimate hope?