The Identity of Hope
The role of spiritual hope in sanctification is so vital that God anointed a special prophet, New Testament-style, to write the definitive book on hope. Weaving through all the great themes in Hebrews, hope is the “New Covenant life.”
“Christian! Your new identity is hope,” Hebrews says. This hope is eternal: it transforms, overcomes, and produces.
Here’s how Hebrews builds hope:
- The hope of our amazing identity in God’s Eternal Plan, firmly established by Jesus (chapters 1-2). The person, authority and victory of Jesus adopts us into the family of God as heirs.
- Live in hope today! (Chapters 3-6.) The road is open, the way is clear, all is ready but the only barrier is unbelief and unwillingness to follow Christ “behind the curtain” into new life.
- Hope supercedes the Mosaic Covenant and replaces it (chapters 7-10). Established long ago, this hope is the superior, substantive, God-designed road to life.
- Hope overcomes anything and changes everything (chapters 11-13). Hope produces a victorious, joyous and fruitful lifestyle despite the worse opposition in a way the Old Covenant never did.
In short, New Covenant Hope is fixed on our new identity in Jesus, while the Old Covenant was driven by works and rituals and all about receiving forgiveness. New Covenant Hope goes far beyond forgiveness, was fully obtained by placing our faith in the finished work of Jesus at the cross. What remains unfinished is obtaining our inheritance, and therefore it is a superior hope. This is the argument made by the author of Hebrews.
Think about it. Check it out. See if it’s true.
As the writer intended, the effect of his letter is life-transforming to those with a spiritual heart open to change:
- When burdened with guilt or failure, I am living under Old Covenant hope (7:19; 10:1-3).
- When I am consumed with my own self-worth, I am still living under Old Covenant hope and struggling with “Milk Truths” about the finished work of the cross (5:13; 6:1).
- When worried about the future, I am fixing my hopes and dreams on something uncertain which cannot possibly be my real hope (12:26-28).
- New Covenant hope builds substance in my life (6:10-12) and I become useful and significant to people God has placed in my life (6:7).
- People are scared of me or shun me if I’m living under the performance and works of Old Covenant hope (12:18-21).
- People enjoy being around me when I am pursuing New Covenant hope (12:14).
- When I “settle down” I’ve lost sight of New Covenant hope (11:9,10).
- I cut the ties to my past living under New Covenant hope (11:15-16).
- My sinful habits become boring and dissatisfying under New Covenant hope (11:25-26).
- I experience real joy even in the midst of terrible suffering under New Covenant hope (12:2).
Here’s the big question: does anyone else see “hope” mentioned in Hebrews?
(You can get my Hebrews teaching series at the Podcast site.)
- The Identity of Hope
- Hope in Failure