THE DR HAS A QUESTION
FAITH VS HOPE AND CHARITY
The postulate of the what’s of it: Standing around in the kitchen today, the thought (oh, from whence did it come?) that hope is a figment of the mind, and that it steals from one the reality of FAITH. As I search for the meaning and nuance of hope, will I find that which will support the thought? The Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthian believers in Jesus as the Christ/the Messiah, “now abideth faith, hope charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity,” (I Cor 13.13). Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible says that the Greek word for hope, is elpis, form the root, elpo (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); an expectation (abstract or concrete) or confidence: -faith, hope,an expectation. Thus I deduce from that, that hope is not a reality, but a pleasurable expectation. One would possibly expect that hope will result in faith. However, we do well to understand that hope is not faith.
Discussion of the question: Paul discusses the concept of hope. See Rom 8. 20ff. In verse 19, he says that the creature waits in expectation until all the sons of God are manifested (meaning that all who will ever be saved are saved). The creatures, then, have no faith, but only an expectation, a hope that they too will be saved unto God? “ Heb 11. 1, “Faith is the substance (reality) of things hoped for,, the substance of things not seen.” Again, hope is not reality, but only a pleasurable expectation of it.
To please or not to please God: “But without faith it is impossible to please (God). Hope does not fill the bill. Is is by faith and faith alone. It is by grace, THROUGH FAITH that one must be saved, Eph 2. 10. It is not by grace alone, but faith plays an extremely important role in one’s relationship with God.
What is it not? Hebrews 11 is called the faith chapter. If one substituted the word hope for faith in each instance one could see the matter more clearly, e.g., vs 3, “Through (hope) we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (solid material things).” And so on, “by (hope) Abel…by (hope) Enoch…by (hope) Noah…by (hope) Abraham…, etc. Hope might satisfy until true eality but faith is more important.
What saith faith? AS I search for the meaning and nuance of faith, Strong’s Concordance says that the Greek word for faith is pistis. The root is pitho, As a verb it means to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate…to assent (to evidence or authority), etc. That is to say concerning hope and faith, that there is no evidence in hope, but there is in faith.
Clarity of charity: Strong’s says the Greek word is agape, i.e., affection or benevolence. Benevolence, charity, is when one gives but expects nothing in return. Charity bazaars are not charity in the truest sense. One expects something when he buys something at a bazaar. But charity love, is the purest form of love. When I say that God has given me a love for someone and I tell the person so, I can’t deceive that person for long. One’s natural discernment will (see) whether I really do so in reality. Charity plays an important part in both hope and faith. But it is not faith. It is greater, Paul wrote, than the other two. One must conclude that neither will replace the other two. Each has its role in our lives.
Conclusion of the confusion: Rather than hope being a figment of the mind, hope is very real, but not the strongest of one’s system/philosophy/theology of life. Faith holds that distinction. Charity, the love of God, Agape, God who is LOVE, and Jesus who was born as were the rest of us humans, holds it all together. He is the way, the truth and the life. Amen! Comments and questions welcome.
Lyn Barnes, DMin, CH(LTC) USA Ret. MOG