Faith vs. Hope-Do You Know the Difference?
Faith vs. hope are two parts of the ultimate trifecta of virtues (love being the third). Faith is believing in something that we cannot see. On the other hand, hope is the expectation of something we want to happen or achieve.
In this article, we’ll review how integral faith and hope are in Christian teachings by illustrating with examples from the Bible and early Church. We will also explain how faith and hope work together to deepen our understanding of God. We will learn of how to develop a more intimate relationship with Him.
Why Is Faith Important to Christian Teachings?
The letters of the New Testament, especially the Pauline epistles, give numerous examples of how important faith is to the Christian community. Faith in Jesus as the Messiah was a new, and often unpopular, opinion in the early days of Christianity.
Paul’s definition of faith which can be found in Hebrews 11:1 is a powerful virtue that is not easy to acquire. To believe in what you hope for even though you’ve never seen or may not have physical proof to offer is a hard sell for some people.
As the Christian community spread to generations beyond the earthly life of Jesus, faith became evermore integral because the people had to trust the oral tradition and eventually written tradition which teaches of the Messiah without having seen Him for themselves.
Jesus’ parable about having faith like a mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32) is a powerful metaphor that demonstrates the awesome strength that pure faith embodies.
Why Is Hope Important to Christian Teachings?
Hope is the expectation that what God has promised to us will come true if we stay faithful to Him. In the early days of Christianity right after Jesus’ crucifixion and Resurrection, the disciples believed that the Second Coming would occur in their lifetime.
They hoped that the Messiah’s promise of the kingdom of heaven would be realized during they time on earth. However, when those who bore witness to the life of Jesus began to die, they had to accept that they may not see that hope fulfilled.
Even today, Christians still await the Second Coming of Jesus, and they place their hope in the promises of eternal life from God. Having the hope of eternal life makes death less scary and continues to keep the Spirit of God alive in His people.
Without hope, religion would be pointless because we wouldn’t truly believe that what God want to give us is true.
How Do Faith vs. Hope Work Together?
Faith and hope are two parts of a three-part puzzle. You cannot have one without the other. Faith relies on believing in something or someone we cannot see but we know has good things in store for us. On the other hand, hope is having faith that a good thing will be accomplished because we believe in the Promiser of the good.
Believing in God without any physical proof of His existence beyond what our hearts tell us is faith. Furthermore, trusting in His goodness- even if we have no logical reason to-is an extremely powerful virtue to possess. However, they are not easy to achieve.
This is why Jesus used the example of a child when asked how to enter the kingdom of heaven. Children are fully dependent on their parents. They have faith in their parents without evidence that they will be taken care of. Also, they hope in the good things their parents will provide them with, namely love.
So must we be with God. We must have full faith and hope in Him to honor the promise of eternal life He has made to us.