Sunday, December 7, 2008

Difference between Faith and Hope

Here is some great background information that influenced my sermon this past Sunday (Jesus, The Light of The World, Dec 7th 2008. This is an except from John Bunyan's book, Israel's Hope Encouraged.)

I look forward to sharing more sermon background information as well as life application challenges in this new blog. Jump on in and start and lively discussion!!!!

The difference between faith and hope
18 August 2007 by

John Bunyan (author of the Pilgrim’s Progress and other classics) wrote a treatise on the text in the Psalms which calls on its readers to ‘hope in the Lord.’ Here I’m quoting an excerpt from right at the start of the book, where he differentiates between faith and hope, two graces which are in some ways quite similar.

“[In the text in question ('Let Israel hope in the Lord,' Psalm 130: 7)] that which is preadmitted is Faith. For when we speak properly of Hope, and put others distinctly to the duty of hoping, we conclude that such have faith already; for, no faith, no hope. To hope without faith is to see without eyes, or to expect without a ground: for ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for,’ as well with respect to the grace [of faith] as to the doctrine of faith. … He that never believed, never hoped in the Lord. Wherefore when he saith, ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord,’ he presupposeth faith, and signifieth that he speaketh to believers.

“That which is … [implied] [in the text] is, that Hope has in it an excellent quality to support Israel in all his troubles. Faith has his excellency in this, Hope in that, and Love in another thing. Faith will do that which Hope cannot do; Hope can do that which Faith doth not do; and Love can do things distinct from both their doings. Faith goes in the van, Hope in the main body, and Love brings up the rear; and thus now abideth Faith, Hope, and Charity.

“Faith is the mother-grace, for hope is born of her; but Charity floweth from them both. But now we are upon Faith and Hope distinctly, to let you see a little. Faith comes by hearing, hope by experience. Faith comes by hearing the word of God; hope by the credit that faith has given to it. Faith believeth in the truth of the word; hope waiteth for the fulfilling of it. Faith looks through the word to God in Christ; hope looks through faith, beyond the world, to glory.

“Faith lays hold of that end of the promise that is next to us, to wit, as it is in the Bible; hope lays hold of that end of the promise that is fastened to the mercy-seat. For the promise is like a mighty cable, that is fastened by one end to a ship, and by the other to the anchor. The soul is the ship where faith is, and to which the hither end of the cable is fastened; but hope is the anchor that is at the other end of the cable, ‘and which entereth in to that within the veil.’ Thus faith and hope getting hold of both ends of the promise, they carry it safely all away.
“Faith looks to Christ as dead, buried, and ascended; and hope looks for his second coming. Faith looks to him for justification; hope for glory. Faith fights for doctrine; hope for reward: faith for what is in the bible; hope for what is in heaven. Faith purifies the heart from bad principles; hope from bad manners, 2 Peter 2: 11, 14.

“Faith sets hope on work; hope sets patience on work. Faith says to hope, ‘Look for what is promised;’ hope says to faith, ‘So I do, and will wait for it too.’
“Thus faith saves, and thus hope saves. Faith saves by laying hold of God by Christ. Hope saves by prevailing with the soul to suffer all troubles, afflictions, ans adversities that it meets with betwixt this [world] and the world to come, for the sake thereof [ie for the sake of the world to come]. … Hope has a thick skin, that will endure many a blow; it will put on patience as a vestment, it will wade through a sea of blood, it will endure all things, if it be of the right kind, for the joy that is set before it.”

John Bunyan, Israel’s Hope Encouraged, excerpt from the first section.


princesswarrior said...

I recieved this story in an email a couple of years ago (2004) and it was so profound that I still remembered it today as Pastor spoke. So I wanted to share it...

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole that was behind his house.

He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. In the house, his mother was looking out the window. She saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed, and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms, just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began a very incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go.

A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim,and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. On his arms, there were deep scratches where his mother's fingernails dug into his flesh, in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.

The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked the boy if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs.

Then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn't let go."

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. Not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past, sometimes, we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. Some of those scars are unsightly, and have caused us deep regret.

But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been right there, holding on to you.

locutus est said...

It's important to stress just how real hope is: hope is far more than empty wishes; it's the power to act on future promise.