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Summary: Biblical hope: it is 1) Secured by abiding (1 John 2:28), 2) Manifested by righteousness (1 John 2:29), 3) Established by love (1 John 3:1), 4) Fulfilled by Christlikeness (1 John 3:2), and it is 5) Characterized by purity (1 John 3:3).

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On the closing day of the 41st Parliament last June, the Conservative government’s final gesture was to stand for the second reading of Bill C-53, the Life Means Life Act. Its stated goal was to lock up the most vile murderers for the rest of their natural lives. Nicholson, responsible for getting much that legislation passed, insists the effort was driven by a prime minister who believed law-abiding Canadians were getting shafted by liberal-minded beliefs that serious, repeat offenders deserve yet another break. The government hit that point home in 2009 by abolishing the faint hope clause, which allowed those convicted of murder to apply for parole after 15 years instead of 25. (http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/how-the-supreme-court-is-dismantling-one-of-the-key-parts-of-stephen-harpers-legacy.)

People seek hope from various venues, but one that has endured through time is spiritual hope. The concept of spiritual hope is analogous to turning on a blazing light in a dark place. It immediately illuminates one’s outlook, uplifts the soul, and produces joy in the heart. Hope introduces life and happiness into this sin-stained and death-filled world (cf. Ps. 146:5; Prov. 10:28; Rom. 5:1–2; 12:12; 15:13; Gal. 5:5; 2 Thess. 2:16; Heb. 3:6). Yet, sadly, most people in this world know nothing of the advantages and privileges that true hope brings. Unbelievers simply do not have “an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:19). In fact, all they have are superficial sources of security—things like narcotics, alcohol, sex, entertainment, materialism, surface-level relationships, and a human-centered desire for a better future. But all of these false hopes are only spiritual mirages that instantly vanish when this life ends (Job 8:13; 27:8; 31:24–28; Prov. 10:28; cf. Eph. 2:12). For the world, “hope” is a mere wish based on a desire or plan,

God always speaks the truth and is faithful to all His Word. Biblical hope is not a wish but an absolute future reality guaranteed by the Lord. Hope is not only foundational to Christian doctrine and the believer’s confidence, but it also has immense ethical implications. Genuine hope will purify the lives of those who possess it (3:3), and thereby verify that they are Christians.

In 1 John, John has already presented doctrinal and moral tests that can determine one’s true spiritual condition, and in 1 John 2:28-3:3 he further elaborates on the moral (ethical) test. Orthodox beliefs about the nature of sin and the person of Christ, the practical presence of sincere love and obedience, and now a personal pursuit of purity and holiness are all evidences that a person has true, eternal hope. 1 John 2:28-3:3 contains five perspectives that further define and clarify the essence of biblical hope: it is 1) Secured by abiding (1 John 2:28), 2) Manifested by righteousness (1 John 2:29), 3) Established by love (1 John 3:1), 4) Fulfilled by Christlikeness (1 John 3:2), and it is 5) Characterized by purity (1 John 3:3).


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