The other day, a friend indicated that faith and hope were the same. What do you think? Are they the same? I decided to do a little research on the two words to see if they were the same or different.
First, I decided to look up the words in a dictionary. I went to my online dictionary at http://www.merriam-webster.com/ and this is what I found.
Faith is a noun and has three variations:
1. strong belief or trust in someone or something,
2. belief in the existence of God or a strong religious feelings or beliefs.
3. a system of religious beliefs.
Hope on the other hand is a verb. Hope means: to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true.
If I recall my grammar education, a noun is a person, place, or thing. It is something capable of acting or being acted on. Since faith is a noun, it would be something capable of acting or it could be acted on.
Also, if I recall my grammar training, a verb is an action word. In other words, a verb explains what a noun is doing.
People often refer to Hebrews 11 as the ‘faith chapter’ of the Bible. In this chapter, the writer talks about several Bible characters that acted by faith. However, the first verse gives a definition of what faith is.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:1-3 (NIV)
Faith is being confident that something will happen even though it may never have happened before.
When we read Hebrews 11, we read about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, Rahab, etc. These were people who acted in faith. Their faith was based on an event that is still to happen. That event is when God will take his children to be with him forever.
Hope is usually based on what a person wants to happen during this lifetime. Our hopes, which are based on actions will change from time to time. For example; twenty years ago you may have hoped for a 1993 sports car. Are you still hoping for a 1993 sports car? Probably not. What we are now hoping for is a 2014 sports car. Hope is usually based on something that has happened before or can happen in our lifetime.
Hope is a desire for something to happen during our lifetime. If we hope to go to heaven, it will have to happen before we die. If our salvation is based on hope only,we are of all people most to be pitied.
When we die, we become inactive. Since we are inactive, our hope also dies. Faith on the other hand continues for eternity.
Paul also talks about faith and hope in 1 Corinthians 15 when he writes:
For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (NIV)
My conclusion is that faith and hope are not the same. Our salvation is based on faith. We are confident that Christ will return and take us to live with Him forever.
In Philippians 1, Paul talks about being confident that God’s work will be completed in our lives when Christ comes back for God’s children.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)
Do you have faith in God? Can you say with Paul that you are confident that you will make it to completion? Or are you just hoping there is a God that He will bring you to completion in this lifetime?
My prayer is that you will have faith in God.
And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. I John 2:28 (NIV)
NOTE: all references are from the New International Version of the Bible as retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com September, 2013.