Going Deeper: Hope – Session 3

One Hope

We’re back after our week away and hope you’re ready to jump in deep!

Gather a brother or sister or two, your Bible and perhaps your journal and favorite pen. Let’s prepare to hear from Him.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit open our hearts to the truth You reveal regarding our One Hope.

Read Reflection Scripture:

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

1Timothy 2:5-6 ESV

Again this week, the word hope is not expressly used in the Reflection Scripture. Where did you see our one hope as you spent time in these verses?

The Scripture clearly states: there is one God. He is our Creator. At creation He set the foundation of righteousness and justice. He alone defines good and evil, right and wrong. He is the One Judge. The only one who can and will judge justly and rightly.

The Reflection Scripture also tells us clearly: there is one mediator between God and men.

What is a mediator and why is one needed?

The original Greek word translated as mediator means: 1 one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant 2 a medium of communication, arbitrator (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). An arbitrator being a person with power to decide a dispute and whose judgment is considered authoritative (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).

Mediators are needed to settle disputes, restore peace where conflict has turned friends into enemies.

Mankind’s dispute with God began in the garden of Eden where Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator and did what they thought best rather than obeying the one law given them. The penalty for breaking this single law was death. We brought death and dis-ease into the world, into God’s creation, by breaking relationship with Him. Not only did we become subject to natural death because of sin, but instantly, in that one moment, we became spiritually dead.

We need a mediator between us and God because we made ourselves His enemies. We broke the peace which could’ve been ours forever.

There is a price to be paid for every sin. As stated, the price for sin in general is death. For mankind to be ransomed, the debt had to be paid. Enter the One Mediator: Christ Jesus.

The world’s mediators work to bring reconciliation between two parties, but at the end of the day both parties must come to a compromise, which implies some degree of loss on both sides. The mediator walks away leaving the reconciliation up to those in conflict, he makes no payment, no sacrifice. Jesus, our Mediator, is unlike any other. He made redemption possible by paying the price.

Stacy says:

As I consider Jesus, my Mediator, I am astounded. There is no other god willing to pay my debt. No other who sees the impossibility of making things right, and says, “You know what, I’ll pay what she owes. I’ll sacrifice everything to make her righteous.”

This is the ultimate Love Story. His death and resurrection not only tells a story, it creates a way for me to be a part of the greatest story ever told.

Jesus’s work on the cross fulfills the debt owed. He gave His life in exchange for the lives of those who believe. And He gives this testimony at the proper time. Not only did He come at the proper time in history, but He shows up on behalf of the faithful at the proper time of judgment.

Only the One Mediator, Jesus, has the power and authority to stand before our One God and testify on our behalf to claim us fully justified in His name. Ransomed. Free from sin and death.

Read Romans 3:19-26

What is our only hope of being justified before God? What is revealed about God’s character in His means of justification available to mankind?

All men have fallen short of God’s glory, which is His righteousness. No one is justified by the law. It simply acts as a highlighter revealing all the ways we fall short. The righteousness of the law was manifested apart from the law through faith in Christ Jesus whom God gave as a sacrifice for our sins.

God’s desire for a mediator to be set in place, one with authority and power to justify those who believe by faith reveals His grace, patience, and love, as He waited for the proper time to send Jesus. We have an awesome God: Creator and Judge.

Scripture tells us it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31) because of our sin and rebellion. But our gracious God made a Way for us to be saved. He came Himself, to give Himself as a ransom to set us free.

Jesus’s ransom gives the only testimony needed for our justification before God. By faith in His work we are justified before the Father. Justification gives us our status of righteousness before God, it puts us right with the law. We are saved by faith.

Because we have only One God, One Creator, One Judge, He has given us the One Way, the One Hope of salvation. The One Mediator, Christ Jesus.

Reflection Thoughts:

How did the Reflection Thoughts help you process seeing the One Hope in the Reflection Scripture?

What evidence is there in your life regarding His testimony as a ransom on your behalf? What is your firsthand experience? What outward signs are evidence of His testimony given on your behalf?

Carol says:

His testimony as a ransom first came to me when my mom revealed her faith. Through her trust in Him during her fatal illness, He captured my heart and gave me peace. From there He began speaking His Word to me. Through relationship with Him, He led me to places of healing, joy, and peace.

His faithfulness is evident when He empowers me to do what He calls me to. Things I am wholly unqualified to do on my own. He graciously provides continued affirmation in my acts of obedience and in my pursuit of knowing Him better.

I see evidence in me pointing to Him as a ransom for all through an increased compassion and love for others. People who before I might have written off in my own judgment. His call on my life to tell others about Him through writing and teaching, I also see as evidence of His ransoming Himself for ALL.

His work in me can’t help but reveal itself through outward signs. I use my time differently than before, large amounts of my week are spent writing and preparing to teach. My own understanding and emotions are no longer the primary driving force in my life. I choose to obey Him instead. Fear and anxiety have all but vanished, making the gracious acceptance of mishaps and difficulties possible.

His testimony has greatly impacted my life, I hope in a way which others can see.

The Greek word translated as testimony in the Reflection Scripture is matyrion. A testimony is given by a witness, which in Greek has the same root as the foundation for our English word martyr. Christian martyrs illustrate the ultimate form of witness when they sacrifice their lives because of their witness for Jesus Christ (Tyndale Bible Dictionary).

If we extrapolate the picture of a witness giving their life as a testimony to what Jesus did for them, we see His testimony as a witness of our great worth. God thought it worth the cost of the ransom, to die on behalf of all mankind, even if not all would believe.

Carol says:

As I thought about Jesus giving Himself as a ransom as His testimony for me, it struck me: He thought me worthy of justification.

At the proper time, His testimony will be given specifically for me on Judgment Day. A day filled with potential to cause angst, and make me wonder if I’m measuring up to all He calls me to. Am I living a life worthy of His favor? Oh! But on that Day He’ll step up and give His testimony. He believed me to be worth dying for and worthy of salvation.

My one hope of being worthwhile, worth His time and effort spent on the cross, is all tied up in Him!

Can I just say: Amen!

Jesus as a ransom for those who believe is the Ultimate Witness of our worth and the reason for God the Father to include us in His glory.

Prayer of Praise:

Were you moved to a greater understanding of our One Hope through praising God as Hope? How?

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.

Psalm 65:5

His most awesome deed on our behalf, His saving us by Himself, is the One Hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. That includes you.

In the Word:

Read Psalm 62

The psalmist puts all his hope in God, sees Him as the only hope, and he calls others to claim Him as their sole source of hope too.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 62:5 ESV

The Hebrew translated as hope is tiqvah. It not only means hope, expectation of hope, ground of hope, things hoped for as in a certain outcome, but it also means cord (ESL). In this case, the psalmist is looking for a cord or lifeline to hang on to, and from his perspective God is the only sure Lifeline.

What metaphors for God used in the psalm encourage you to move toward Him as your One Hope? your lifeline? Why?

What other arguments does the psalmist use to move others to hope in God alone? How do they impact your hope and faith?

Have you had experience in placing your hope in something other than God? Are you still?

Elhoim is the primary name used for God by the psalmist in the original Hebrew. It means: God, Mighty One, Judge (Dictionary of Biblical Languages).

He is worthy of being our sole hope based on this name. We’ve already looked at Him as our One Hope when it comes to standing before Him as Creator and Judge, but here, the psalmist also emphasizes His might.

There is none greater or more powerful than our God. No force can come against Him. No matter how powerful or weak a person is on earth, before the Mighty One we are all reduced to but a breath.

God is the great Equalizer when it comes to people comparing themselves to one another. Power and Steadfast Love belong to God. Placing our faith in Him ensures the One Hope which will not fail.

The psalmist also mentions in his final words, that God will render to everyone what they deserve according to his work. We come again face to face with God as Judge.

Let’s read what Jesus had to say about the work of God.

Read John 6:28-29

What are the works of God we are to be doing?

The only work we need do is believe, place our trust in Jesus as our One Hope. This is the work which puts us in good standing before our Almighty God.

Read John 5:19-29

Jesus is explaining who He is to the Jews set on killing Him for blasphemy. He tells them of His hope in God and Father God’s hope in Him without using the word hope.

Where do Jesus’s words reflect the hope He’s placed in His Father? Where in these words do you hear Jesus tell us of the hope God has set on Him?

Jesus laid aside His own will as the Son of Man to do only what He sees the Father doing. He does nothing on His own. All His hope is placed in the guidance and the direction of the Father to show Him what to do and when to do it.

Jesus’s hope is in the Father’s love for Him. He recognizes His love because He shows Him what He is doing so Jesus can be a part of it.

We see Father God, our Creator, placing His hope in Jesus by giving Him the power to raise the dead and to have final judgment over all mankind.

Jesus reveals his hope in the relationship He has with the Father. He proclaims all hope is anchored in knowing God, not on the circumstances of His earthly life or the outcome of what God will do. Like Jesus, Believers who hope in a full, complete relationship with God bring honor and glory to the Creator no matter what is happening in this world.

We’ve seen God’s heart to rescue His creation with a costly ransom. His hope for the rescue operation is placed wholly in His Son’s hands. There is no plan B and no one else is in the wings waiting as a stand-in. In turn, Jesus, who also loves us, sets all His hope in His Father to enable Him to succeed in the mission.

What does this tell us about the possibility of other hopes for life being available to us in the world? or heaven?

The fact that the Son puts His hope in the Father for the ability to fulfill His mission, and the Father puts His hope in the Son as the means of salvation tells us there is no other place to hope. The Triune God trusts the persons of Himself. There is no other power, person, or place on which to set our hope for life.

The final verses of this passage show us the importance of placing our hope in the right place. There are eternal consequences: an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

It matters where you place your hope. If you hope in the things of the world, working for money, power, wealth, it all leads to evil. It’s all self-centered and self-glorifying. Placing hope in Jesus, in God and His promises — believing, trusting, obeying — leads to doing good and eternal life.

There is only One Hope. The One Hope God Himself entrusts with His creation and plan for redemption. Himself.

Read John 5:30-47

Jesus continues explaining His relationship with God to the Jewish leaders. They believe eternal life is found in the Scripture, in keeping the law, so they search them constantly. But Jesus says the word is not abiding in them, therefore they do not believe.

How are they missing the point of Scripture, which is to lead us to Jesus as the One Hope? What is the difference between knowing the Word and having the Word abide in you?

Stacy says:

In my wrestling with hope this week she asks, “Why are you so emotional about this?” And so I ask, “God, why AM I emotional about this?” It would be easy to blame the emotion on my weariness, or this season of life. Maybe even hormones, but honestly I know better.

You see, I know what God’s Word says about my issue. I “understand” the truth. But for me, the emotion I feel signals a deeper work. I’m not abiding yet. I want to. Oh, how I want to. I yearn to never question this issue again.

For now I pray, Lord, transform me. Do your work so your Word will abide in me. I trust your proper timing and hold fast to Hope. Amen.

The Jews attempted to live in the Word by living them out, but they did not allow it to penetrate their hearts and live in them. Living by Scripture is an external exercise which always leads to failure because it is based on our understanding and power to do what it says. As noted earlier, the law was given to reveal our sin.

Having the Word abide in you is different. Here is where we come face to face with the living active nature of Scripture. When the Word lives in us it reveals our sin, transforms our lives, does its purifying work and leads us to Jesus.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 ESV

There is a way to be in the Word and not of the Word, just like we can be in the world but not of it. Without seeing Jesus as the Word made flesh, the Lamb of God, and His mission in coming to save sinners, we miss the whole point of who He is and who we are before Him. Until we let the Word live in us through this understanding, they are just words on a page.

Because the Jews trust in the law instead of Jesus, Moses will be their judge, the one on whom they have set their hope. Jesus says Moses will be the one to accuse the Jews because he wrote about Jesus but they missed Him. Their hope was in self-righteousness rather than the revelation of Scripture. They spent their time trying to make sense of the Word rather than letting God make sense of them through His Word.

By hoping in the law, they hope and trust in their own ability to keep the law and refuse to let the evidence of the Word reveal them as sinners in need of a Savior.

How can we be in the Word, yet miss the whole point of the One Hope, Jesus?

Read Romans 5:1-5

By faith, which is being sure of what we hope for, we gain justification, peace with God, and access to the grace in which we now stand. These gains based on hope cause us to rejoice.

In what do we rejoice?

We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, and because of our hope in the ultimate glorification of God we also rejoice in our sufferings.

How is hope produced? And why does it never put us to shame or leave us disappointed?

Our hope is produced through suffering, at least that’s where it begins. Without suffering there would be no need to hope for something better. Suffering is the means by which we increase endurance, which in turn produces character, and what’s found in our character produces hope.

The Greek translated as character means approved or tried character, a specimen of tried worth (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). The character which produces hope is not just who you are, but what sufferings and trials prove you to be. The one who endures in their suffering, finds themselves rejoicing in the future glorification of God through their trials is the one who exudes hope.

Hope in the glory of God is the one hope which moves us through the suffering in difficulties whether they be physical, emotional, spiritual, or relational.

This one hope never puts us to shame or disappoints because of His love poured into our hearts by giving us the Holy Spirit.

All the joy and confidence of hope is grounded in our justification through faith in Jesus’s work on the cross. Because of His love we stand in grace and within us is the power of the Holy Spirit to produce a hope-full character.

Our hope in Christ spills over on others as we live out the joy and peace of placing more and more hope in His resurrection power to work wonders in our lives and the lives of others.

Wrestling with Hope

Based on the premise of faith being sure of what we hope for (Hebrews 11:1) and Jesus telling Thomas in his doubt: Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe (John 20:29), we have been wrestling with hope through the underlying faith and hope expressed in the Beatitudes.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

This week we wrestled with hope in view of His unchanging grace, our one hope, our lifeline.

Did you notice a darkness veiling Grace? Some issue you feel is hopeless?

Spend a few moments in prayer imagining what words of hope Jesus might speak into our storms. Ask God to bless you with a beatitude which speaks to where you are today.

***

When you hear what He says, write it down.

Put it in a hidden place, maybe in the pages of your Bible next to Matthew 5. Here at the shop, we place our hope of blessing in a basket of coal.

Sister Talk Faith-Hope-One Hope.jpg

The coal symbolizes the darkness we are asking Him to turn into a precious eternal blessing of faith fueled by hope.

What beatitude did God speak over you in our prayer time? or during your study this week?

What new perspectives of hope did you gain through the exercise? Would you like to share your personal beatitude?

Carol says:

I considered the places of darkness pressing on my spirit lately. Places where I cannot see Him at work or evidence of His love.

Even though I see how my hopes in the specific outcomes can AGAIN lead to disappointment and in a sense shame in being fooled once more to hope, the week’s work in the Word reminds me: Hope in Him NEVER puts us to shame.

Hoping in Him, His steadfast unfailing love and unchanging grace, steadies emotions with peace and decreases the burden.

The beatitude I heard this week:

Blessed are the hope-full,

for they shall be steady and stand firm in faith.

No rocking and rolling.

No doubt.

No fear.

That is what I find when I cling to the One Hope.

The heart of faith is the One Hope of Jesus as our Savior.

Next: We continue the wrestling by exploring how to increasingly Instill Hope into our lives.

Click here for a PDF of the homework: Hope Week 3 – Instill Hope – Homework

Lord, You alone are our One Hope. Fill us with the faith and confidence to live it out for Your glory and the building of Your Kingdom.

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