Investigating Faith With Lee Strobel

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Finding Hope in a Hopeless World

These three remain: faith, hope and love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Faith, hope, and love. According to the Bible these are three indispensable and eternally enduring commodities, ones we ultimately can’t live without.

Love, said Jesus, is the driving principle behind God’s greatest commands. We must love God first, with everything we’ve got. And we must love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:34– 40). It’s no surprise that these are God’s central values: the Bible tells us that at his very core “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16, emphasis mine).

Faith, biblically defined, is trust in God and in the payment he made for our sins when Jesus died on the cross. The apostle Paul said, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Grace is a blessing we have not earned—in this case the gift of salvation that
Jesus purchased for us—but faith is the means of receiving that gift.

And hope is the sense of expectancy and optimism that God wants to instill in all of us who love him and have faith in him. It’s an overriding confidence he gives, reminding us that, even in the midst of our greatest problems, God is still with us—and he is greater than any challenge we might face. Hope is the inextinguishable flicker God ignites in our souls to keep us believing in the prevailing power of his light even when we are surrounded by utter darkness. It’s the unswerving belief that better days are ahead, probably in this world and most certainly in the next. It’s the quiet resolve he hardwires into our spirit that clings to the seemingly impossible truth that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” and that, in the grand scheme of things, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:28, 37).

It was the apostle Paul—that unsinkable carrier of divine hope—who proclaimed, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).

That, my friend, is a great reason for our hope, a truth that we need to let soak into our very being, because we live in a culture that seems bent on spreading, with evangelistic zeal, its relentless message of complete hopelessness.

Maybe that message has been getting the best of you. Perhaps your future feels uncertain, or a sense of guilt from your past weighs you down. Problems never seem far away.

“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus warned. “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

We must, with God’s help, learn to cling to that rare and wonderful thing called hope. Otherwise, we’re destined for despair.

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