Summary: the difference between faith and hope and how they work together to fulfill God’s purpose.
Expectation is something we all need to have if we want to see God’s promises fulfilled.
It is really another way of saying hope. When many think of hope they think along the lines of I hope I inherit a million dollars, or I hope I get that job that I applied for, or I hope it doesn’t rain tonight. This is worldly hope and not at all the kind of hope that the Bible talks about. Bible hope is confident expectation. You can never receive the promises of God without it. You can never have faith for God’s promises if you don’t first have a confident expectation knowing God is faithful and will fulfill His promise.
Hope is always future tense. In other words it looks at things to come, things that haven’t happened yet in the natural, but at the same time is fully persuaded that they will come to pass. Faith is always present tense and sees things now in the present. It counts those things that are not as though they are. Faith and hope always work together. If you can not look ahead and see God’s promises coming to pass then how can you bring those future things into the present by faith? You have to see the future before you can receive it by faith.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Many Christians get hope and faith confused. I often hear Christians make comments like I sure hope God heard my prayer. That is not true Bible hope, it is not confidence at all in God or His Word. God’s Word has much to say about this and we should not be ignorant but understand what God’s will is.
There have been times in my Christian walk where I thought I was walking in faith when I really wasn’t. The lord showed me where I missed it, and it became very clear to me at that point where I had missed it and how to receive the victory by faith. It always starts with understanding. God’s Word tells us …
Ps:119:130: The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
If we don’t know we’ve missed it we will not seek understanding. This is the case for many Christians. Instead of admitting that they are the ones who missed it or didn’t have understanding of God’s Word, they just changed their theology to line up with their bad experience. We will never grow up in the things of God with this type of attitude, and if we will not seek to know the truth. God is no respecter of persons, and He never misses it. So let us seek understanding and repent if we need to, and then see the victory that was freely given to us.
Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
Lets look at a Biblical example of this kind of confident expectation in God’s Word.
In the 17th chapter of genesis God appeared to Abram and changed his name to Abraham.
Genesis 17:5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6. "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7. "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
Abraham was 99 years old when God appeared to him. (vs. 1). The name Abraham literally means the father of many nations. He had to tell people His name was now the father of many nations.
The Apostle Paul talks about this in the book of Romans.
Romans 4:17 (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations’’) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18. who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be.’’ 19. And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
20. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21. and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness.’’