Why Are so Few Christians Asked About the Hope That is in Them?

"But sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that ask you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15 - ASV).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13 – ESV). 

Has anyone recently asked you why it is that you seem to be a person abounding in hope, especially considering current world conditions? Perhaps the reason is because you are like so many other Christians who are living with a sense of depression, despair and desperation that stems from the loss of hope in Christ’s promise to be powerfully present always in every age. Loss of hope is causing multitudes to quit on God in one form or another. This is nowhere more evident than in the lives of the pastors and leaders of our churches. It is statistically verifiable that the number of people in pastoral leadership in America that are living in quiet desperation is epidemic. Every month 1,700 leave the ministry. In addition, each week in America, 53,000 parishioners forsake the Church, never to return. Over 80% of U. S. congregations are either stagnant or dying. A recent denominational survey uncovered thousands of pastors (80%) who confessed that their biggest struggle is with “melancholy” or depression – and depression’s greatest cause is loss of hope.

Perhaps another reason why so few non-Christians are asking about the hope within us is because our security and happiness in the future is based upon the same things as theirs - a hope in the security of money, of power, of womb to tomb government provision, or in the security of houses, lands, and portfolios.

In the turbulent 1960’s one popular folk singer said, “We are orphans in an age of no tomorrows.” One only must read and listen for a moment to what is being written and said in Christian circles today to conclude that most Christians feel the same way – time’s about up – we’re the terminal generation, the worst is yet to come. Instead of believing in the power of the gospel to change lives and make disciple of all nations, far too many Christians have gotten caught up in the unbelieving world’s sense of hopelessness, disappointment, disillusionment, and despair. There is a general sense of feeling that the best days of history are in the past and that the future will only get darker and darker.

Loss of hope or making our hope to be getting off the earth and into Heaven as quickly as possible, or into some future millennial period were everyone gets orders from Jesus, and His headquarters in Jerusalem, has caused millions of Christians to be paralyzed as to a whole-gospel ministry, terrorized as to the threats of evil, and neutralized as to the cultural and historical impact they are having for the kingdom of God.

The greatest need in the Church today is for the people of God to go on daily being filled with all joy and peace in believing by the power of the Spirit (Romans 15:13). And in so doing they would begin to "abound in hope" which would constantly prompt people outside the church to be asking, “What makes you so different? How can you be so positive about the future when the present is so negative? What is the reason for the hope that you have within you?”

The Greek word for hope is "elpis." It is used 145 times in the Bible, 26 times in the New Testament. It does not mean something we wish for but probably won't get, or something that we wish would happen, but probably won't. The word means anticipation and expectation combined with desire. Confident expectation of promised blessings not now present or seen. It is God's guarantee that what He has promised will be fulfilled.

Biblical hope is a future certainty grounded in a present reality – and the present reality is the indwelling, infilling presence of the Holy Spirit – who is the Other Jesus without a body.

Our text in Romans 15:13 declares that we are to abound in this true and sure hope because it is life-giving, faith-supporting, love-affirming, joy-creating, peace-giving, power-imparting, and victory-assuring. This hope in future certainty is based upon the Word of God; it springs from the power of the Holy Spirit; it centers in and celebrates the Presence of the Person of Christ and is certified to be genuine because of his resurrection from the dead. This hope is designed to permeate, enliven, fill, embolden, and energize the believer – enabling them to enjoy God, irrespective of how dark the times, difficult their troubles, or how powerful the enemy appears!

“Believing in the resurrection of Jesus suddenly ceases to be a matter of inquiring about an odd event in the first century and becomes a matter of rediscovering hope in the twenty-first century. Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible, a worldview in which the rich, the powerful, and the unscrupulous do not after all have the last word. The same worldview shift that is demanded by the resurrection of Jesus is the shift that will enable us to transform the world. The claim, advanced in Christianity is that Jesus of Nazareth, by his resurrection from the dead, ushers in not simply a new religious possibility, not simply a new ethic or a new way of salvation, but a new creation.” (N.T. Wright).


What will revive Biblical hope and cause unbelievers to begin to ask the reason for the hope we exude? It’s the truth of the gospel of the kingdom of God. Once heard with the ears of faith, it comes as a lifeline, for it is future-oriented, hope-centered and victory-oriented throughout. The hope that the gospel of the kingdom of God brings will arrest and reverse the drowning experience here and now, generating inward vitality and renewed joy, and banishing forever the sense of having the life choked out of us as the waves break over us. When a man encounters the reality of the kingdom of God, it enables him to reverse his past experience, experience the joy of the world to come NOW, and empowers him for action that he didn’t have before!

My dear friend Dudley Hall summed up our great hope: “The apostle Peter states that our “living hope” is all about resurrection, not rapture. We have hope for living, not for escaping. The resurrection of Jesus made possible our receiving resurrection life, and that brings hope. We have hope that we can not only face, but also conquer any obstacle this world can present. We have “other-world” power. We offer hope to the sinner for forgiveness. We offer to the addict the hope of deliverance and freedom. To the sexually confused, we offer the hope of wholeness. To the lonely we offer the hope of a family who cares. To the oppressed we offer the hope of justice and to the guilty we offer the hope of mercy. In fact there is no human dilemma too great for the power that raised Jesus from the dead, and that power is in us who believe Jesus is the resurrection and the life.”

We must recover all the hope that is available to us! And as our hope in God is re-energized, reactivated, and redeployed, it will serve not only as an anchor for our soul in stormy times, but it will by proclamation and demonstration show to a hopeless world that the God of all hope offers them true hope, more hope, a better hope, a blessed hope in the gospel of Christ!