Hope

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HOPE

I. THE SURE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR HOPE

1. Hope is the triumph of faith.

“Religion, the conviction-faith of the personality, can always triumph over the superficially contradictory logic of despair born in the unbelieving material mind. There really is a true and genuine inner voice, that ‘true light which lights every man who comes into the world.’ And this spirit leading is distinct from the ethical prompting of human conscience. The feeling of religious assurance is more than an emotional feeling. The assurance of religion transcends the reason of the mind, even the logic of philosophy. Religion is faith, trust, and assurance.” (1104.3) 101:0.3 John 1:9.

2. Hope is the fruit of personal experience.

“We cannot fully understand how God can be primal, changeless, all-powerful, and perfect, and at the same time be surrounded by an ever-changing and apparently law-limited universe, an evolving universe of relative imperfections. But we can know such a truth in our own personal experience since we all maintain identity of personality and unity of will in spite of the constant changing of both ourselves and our environment.” (31.4) 1:7.4

3. The sure foundations of hope.

“It is because of this God fragment that indwells you that you can hope, as you progress in harmonizing with the Adjuster’s spiritual leadings, more fully to discern the presence and transforming power of those other spiritual influences that surround you and impinge upon you but do not function as an integral part of you. The fact that you are not intellectually conscious of close and intimate contact with the indwelling Adjuster does not in the least disprove such an exalted experience. The proof of fraternity with the divine Adjuster consists wholly in the nature and extent of the fruits of the spirit which are yielded in the life experience of the individual believer. ‘By their fruits you shall know them.’” (64.7) 5:2.4 Matt 7:20.

4. The basis of our hope.

“There is no limitation of the forces and personalities which the Father may use to uphold his purpose and sustain his creatures. ‘The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.’ ‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.’ ‘Behold, he who keeps us shall neither slumber nor sleep.’ ‘We know that all things work together for good to those who love God,’ ‘for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers.’” (55.2) 4:1.4 Deut 33:27. Ps 91:1; 121:3. Rom 8:28. Ps 34:15.

5. Faith grasps supermaterial realities.

“Although religious experience is a purely spiritual subjective phenomenon, such an experience embraces a positive and living faith attitude toward the highest realms of universe objective reality. The ideal of religious philosophy is such a faith-trust as would lead man unqualifiedly to depend upon the absolute love of the infinite Father of the universe of universes. Such a genuine religious experience far transcends the philosophic objectification of idealistic desire; it actually takes salvation for granted and concerns itself only with learning and doing the will of the Father in Paradise. The earmarks of such a religion are: faith in a supreme Deity, hope of eternal survival, and love, especially of one’s fellows.” (1141.3) 103:9.5

II. THE CERTAINTY OF OUR HOPE

1. The certainty of religious hope.

“The intellectual earmark of religion is certainty; the philosophical characteristic is consistency; the social fruits are love and service.” (1126.5) 102:7.5

2. God-conscious mortal is sure of salvation.

“The God-conscious mortal is certain of salvation; he is unafraid of life; he is honest and consistent. He knows how bravely to endure unavoidable suffering; he is uncomplaining when faced by inescapable hardship.

“The true believer does not grow weary in well-doing just because he is thwarted. Difficulty whets the ardor of the truth lover, while obstacles only challenge the exertions of the undaunted kingdom builder.” (1740.7) 156:5.20

3. The religious soul knows—and knows now.

“Time is an invariable element in the attainment of knowledge; religion makes its endowments immediately available, albeit there is the important factor of growth in grace, definite advancement in all phases of religious experience. Knowledge is an eternal quest; always are you learning, but never are you able to arrive at the full knowledge of absolute truth. In knowledge alone there can never be absolute certainty, only increasing probability of approximation; but the religious soul of spiritual illumination knows, and knows now. And yet this profound and positive certitude does not lead such a sound-minded religionist to take any less interest in the ups and downs of the progress of human wisdom, which is bound up on its material end with the developments of slow-moving science.” (1120.1) 102:2.4

4. Sublimity of the soul’s trust.

“True religion is an insight into reality, the faith-child of the moral consciousness, and not a mere intellectual assent to any body of dogmatic doctrines. True religion consists in the experience that ‘the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.’ Religion consists not in theologic propositions but in spiritual insight and the sublimity of the soul’s trust.” (1107.3) 101:2.13 Rom 8:16.

III. JESUS TAUGHT A GLORIOUS HOPE

1. The sublime hope of Jesus’ gospel.

“The teachings of Jesus constituted the first Urantian religion which so fully embraced a harmonious co-ordination of knowledge, wisdom, faith, truth, and love as completely and simultaneously to provide temporal tranquillity, intellectual certainty, moral enlightenment, philosophic stability, ethical sensitivity, God-consciousness, and the positive assurance of personal survival. The faith of Jesus pointed the way to finality of human salvation, to the ultimate of mortal universe attainment, since it provided for:

“1. Salvation from material fetters in the personal realization of sonship with God, who is spirit.

“2. Salvation from intellectual bondage: man shall know the truth, and the truth shall set him free.

“3. Salvation from spiritual blindness, the human realization of the fraternity of mortal beings and the morontian awareness of the brotherhood of all universe creatures; the service-discovery of spiritual reality and the ministry-revelation of the goodness of spirit values.

“4. Salvation from incompleteness of self through the attainment of the spirit levels of the universe and through the eventual realization of the harmony of Havona and the perfection of Paradise.

"5. Salvation from self, deliverance from the limitations of self-consciousness through the attainment of the cosmic levels of the Supreme mind and by co-ordination with the attainments of all other self-conscious beings.

“6. Salvation from time, the achievement of an eternal life of unending progression in God-recognition and God-service.

”7. Salvation from the finite, the perfected oneness with Deity in and through the Supreme by which the creature attempts the transcendental discovery of the Ultimate on the postfinaliter levels of the absonite.” (1112.4) 101:6.8

2. Hope in the teachings of Jesus.

“It is just because the gospel of Jesus was so many-sided that within a few centuries students of the records of his teachings became divided up into so many cults and sects. This pitiful subdivision of Christian believers results from failure to discern in the Master’s manifold teachings the divine oneness of his matchless life. But someday the true believers in Jesus will not be thus spiritually divided in their attitude before unbelievers. Always we may have diversity of intellectual comprehension and interpretation, even varying degrees of socialization, but lack of spiritual brotherhood is both inexcusable and reprehensible.

“Mistake not! there is in the teachings of Jesus an eternal nature which will not permit them forever to remain unfruitful in the hearts of thinking men. The kingdom as Jesus conceived it has to a large extent failed on earth; for the time being, an outward church has taken its place; but you should comprehend that this church is only the larval stage of the thwarted spiritual kingdom, which will carry it through this material age and over into a more spiritual dispensation where the Master’s teachings may enjoy a fuller opportunity for development. Thus does the so-called Christian church become the cocoon in which the kingdom of Jesus’ concept now slumbers. The kingdom of the divine brotherhood is still alive and will eventually and certainly come forth from this long submergence, just as surely as the butterfly eventually emerges as the beautiful unfolding of its less attractive creature of metamorphic development.” (1866.3) 170:5.20

IV. HAPPINESS—THE FATHER’S OVERCARE

1. Fundamentals of genuine hope.

“‘Simon, some persons are naturally more happy than others. Much, very much, depends upon the willingness of man to be led and directed by the Father’s spirit which lives within him. Have you not read in the Scriptures the words of the wise man, 'The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts'? And also that such spirit-led mortals say: 'The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.' 'A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked,' for 'a good man shall be satisfied from within himself.' 'A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance and is a continual feast. Better is a little with the reverence of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred therewith. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without rectitude.' 'A merry heart does good like a medicine.' 'Better is a handful with composure than a superabundance with sorrow and vexation of spirit.’” (1674.4) 149:5.2 Prov 20:27; Ps 16:6; 37:16; Prov 14:14; 15:13-17; 16:8; 17:22; Eccl 4:6.

2. Seek true consolation.

“‘Much of man’s sorrow is born of the disappointment of his ambitions and the wounding of his pride. Although men owe a duty to themselves to make the best of their lives on earth, having thus sincerely exerted themselves, they should cheerfully accept their lot and exercise ingenuity in making the most of that which has fallen to their hands. All too many of man’s troubles take origin in the fear soil of his own natural heart. “The wicked flee when no man pursues.” “The wicked are like the troubled sea, for it cannot rest, but its waters cast up mire and dirt; there is no peace, says God, for the wicked.”

“‘Seek not, then, for false peace and transient joy but rather for the assurance of faith and the sureties of divine sonship which yield composure, contentment, and supreme joy in the spirit.’” (1674.5) 149:5.3 Prov 28:1. Isa 57:20,21.

3. Hope based on the Father’s overcare.

“‘Consider the lilies, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is cut down and cast into the fire, how much more shall he clothe you, the ambassadors of the heavenly kingdom. O you of little faith! When you wholeheartedly devote yourselves to the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom, you should not be of doubtful minds concerning the support of yourselves or the families you have forsaken. If you give your lives truly to the gospel, you shall live by the gospel. If you are only believing disciples, you must earn your own bread and contribute to the sustenance of all who teach and preach and heal. If you are anxious about your bread and water, wherein are you different from the nations of the world who so diligently seek such necessities? Devote yourselves to your work, believing that both the Father and I know that you have need of all these things. Let me assure you, once and for all, that, if you dedicate your lives to the work of the kingdom, all your real needs shall be supplied. Seek the greater thing, and the lesser will be found therein; ask for the heavenly, and the earthly shall be included. The shadow is certain to follow the substance.’” (1823.3) 165:5.3 Luke 12:27,28.

HOPE AS PRESENTED IN THE BIBLE

1. Our hope is in God.

“My hope is in thee.” Ps 39:7.

“The eye of the Lord is on.... those who hope in his steadfast love.” Ps 33:18.

2. We hope continually.

“But I will hope continually.” Ps 71:14.

3. Hope in the word of God.

“I hope in thy word.” Ps 119:81.

4. God is pleased by our hope.

“The Lord takes pleasure in ... those who hope in his steadfast love.” Ps 147:11.

5. Hope brings joy and gladness.

“The hope of the righteous ends in gladness.” Prov 10:28.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace.” Rom 15:13.

“Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation.” Rom 12:12.

6. We are called to hope.

“That you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.” Eph 1:18.

7. The strength of trust.

“In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isa 30:15.

“He who trusts in the Lord is safe.” Prov 29:25.

8. We hope for eternal life.

“In hope of eternal life which God...promised ages ago.” Titus 1:2.

“And become heirs in hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7.

9. Faith the assurance of things hoped for.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for.” Heb 11:1.

“So faith, hope, love abide.” 1 Cor 13:13. (This is Paul’s TRIAD - variously arranged.)

10. Hope and supreme trust.

“I will trust, and will not be afraid.” Isa 12:2.

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Ps 37:5.

11. Hope is the ancestor of confidence.

“And you will have confidence, because there is hope.” Job 11:18.

12. Hope in Christ.

“This mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 1:27.

“For in this hope we are saved.” Rom 8:24.

13. Love hopes all things.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Cor 13:7.

14. Hope and endurance.

“Endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Rom 5:4.

15. Deferred hope.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Prov 13:12.

Note: The rainbow was an Old Testament symbol of hope. In the Old Testament faith and hope are not well differentiated. Trust and confidence are used in place of hope.

HOPE AMONG THE PHILOSOPHERS

1. Zeus, mad at mankind, ordered Pandora to open up her box to pour all sorts of evil upon mortals. Among these evils were insect pests, but the last was hope.

2. These fatalistic philosophers looked upon hope as an illusion—an evil fiction.

3. Look at some Greek opinions:

Aeschylus— “The food of exiles.”

Euripides— “Man’s curse.”

4. The Hebrews dared to entertain some small hopes for mankind. See Ps 4:2 and Isa 40.

5. Paul heroically rescued hope from these pessimistic fatalists when he declared— “so faith, hope, love abide.” (1 Cor 13:13.)

6. Later, Luther said: “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”

7. Said Tennyson: “The mighty hopes that make us men.”

8. But not all later philosophers caught Paul’s inspiration. Note these sayings:

a. Cowley (1647)— “Hope—fortune’s cheating lottery, where for one prize a hundred blanks there be.”

b. Shelley (1819)— “Worse than despair, worse than bitterness of death, is hope.”

c. Nietzsche (1819)— “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man.”

9. Hope is based on FAITH—it is more than optimism.

10. I have seen hope cure the incurable and keep the dying alive—even for days and weeks.

11. The Greeks were wrong. I would put Paul’s Triad in this order—love, faith, and hope.

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