Hope that Purifies

By Lorin Bradbury

September 2018
Pentecostal Life 

Download the September 2018 Facilitator/study guide to accompany this article.

Objective: To understand, appreciate, and apply the hope we have in Jesus Christ

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (I John 3:2–3, NKJV)

In today’s world, most people see hope as wishful thinking, like when someone hopes they will win the lottery. However, the hope that Christians have is far greater than this. Biblical hope is something that is certain. It is a confident expectation that God will help us in our daily struggles, and take us to Heaven someday. It is something certain because it is based on what God has said He will do. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4, NKJV). The world needs this kind of hope, and it is available only through Jesus Christ.

Hope is powerful! It inspires; it motivates; it causes people to act. “In the German and Japanese prisoner of war camps of World War II, it was observed that the prisoners who survived were the ones who had hope. This hope was seen in many forms, namely, some prisoners were busy planning an escape, or expected to be set free one day. Others had a strong will to live or became too angry to quit trying. Still others swore they would get even with their captors one day. Whatever their reason for living, those who had hope survived, and those who lost hope eventually died” (Parkway Apostolic Church Home Fellowship Group #2, Saved by Hope). 

As Christians we have a living hope: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Peter 1:3, NKJV). We have been born again into a living hope. The “living hope” to which Peter referred is the living Christ Himself. Believers do not place their hope simply in a historical Christ, but in a living Lord who is able to speak personally to them. In fact, if you have not already experienced this living hope, you can experience it today. This “living hope” comes packed with many benefits. “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits” (Psalm 68:19, NKJV). “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:2–5, NKJV).

The greatest and most exciting benefit a Christian receives is the hope of Jesus’ soon return. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:16–18). National Public Radio reported on May 12, 2011, that according to the Pew Research Group, 44 percent of Americans believe Jesus will return by the year 2050. And this hope purifies; it causes us to take steps to make certain that we can stand before God pure. John wrote, “We know that, when [Jesus] shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:2–3). It is this hope that causes us to act, to take whatever steps are necessary to make certain that we can stand before God pure on Judgment Day. When Paul wrote to the Roman church, he emphasized, “We were saved in this hope” (Romans 8:24, NKJV). 

Since the fall of man, man has longed for a better place than this sin-cursed world. Job declared: “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (Job 14:14). Likely, it was this hope that sustained him through his long and terrible affliction. Again, he declared, “After my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26). This hope drove him to maintain his integrity. Paul declared, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Corinthians 15:19). Hope of eternal life with Jesus purifies. 

Jesus is our hope! If you are lost in sin, Jesus i s your hope. If your life is without meaning, it’s probably because Jesus has not been allowed to take up residence and to reign as King of your heart. If the relationship between you and your children is strained or damaged, Jesus is your hope. He can restore those relationships. Likewise, if the relationship between you and your spouse is hurting today, don’t give up. The Living Hope—Jesus Christ—is your only real hope, and the hope of making your home with Him for an eternity will drive you to action to make whatever changes necessary to be ready when He returns.