Risk and Endurance: Faith and Hope.

John Wimber once said you spell faith 'r i s k'. He meant that to live by and act in faith we risk something. The risk could be financial, or our pride could be damaged if our venture doesn't work, or the risk could cost us our comfort or security. Living a life of faith will certainly cost us something. In light of John's comment I began to think about endurance and wondered if there is a word that embodies it in the way that risk embodies faith. That word is hope. You spell joyful endurance h o p e. The biblical definition of hope is the 'confident expectation of good'. Hope is a primary missing ingredient both in society and much of the church.

Hebrews 11:1 says that ...'faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' You may conclude then that your faith will not be any more substantial than your hope, since it derives its substance from it. Looking now at the relationship between faith (risk) and endurance (hope) we must realize that to function successfully in any faith venture we must maintain a high level of hope.

True biblical hope is a by-product of knowing God. He is a God of mercy. Many in our day try to please God by living up to certain standards contained in the law. The law is good and holy but has no power to help us live well or please God. Jesus did both of those for us:

"For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God" (Hebrews 7:18-19).

The good news, the gospel of the grace of God imparts hope, the kind that enables us to draw near to God who in turn will draw near to us. The work of Jesus was a perfect work that enables every believer to relate to God with a clear and clean conscience. There is nothing left to do. We must simply rest in the grace of God. When that reality is in us, then we will live in a way that pleases Him.