Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 2012: Faith and Hope! Are They the Same?

Faith and Hope. Many times we speak of them separately--"saving faith", "hope of the resurrection", etc. But sometimes we speak of them almost interchangeably--"I put my faith in God." "I put my hope in God". Martin Luther asked the same question in his commentary to Galatians, chapter 5.

The question occurs to us. What difference is there between faith and hope? We find it difficult to see any difference. Faith and hope are so closely linked that they cannot be separated. Still there is a difference between them.
  • First, hope and faith differ in regard to their sources. Faith originates in the understanding, while hope rises in the will.
  • Second, hope and faith differ in regard to their functions. Faith says that what is to be done. Faith teaches, describes, directs. Hope exhorts the mind to be strong and courageous.
  • Third, they differ in regard to their objectives. Faith concentrates on the truth. Hope looks to the goodness of God.
  • Fourth, they differ in sequence. Faith is the beginning of life before tribulation (Hebrews 11). Hope comes later and is born of tribulation (Romans 5).
  • Fifth, they differ in regard to their effects. Faith is a judge. It judges errors. Hope is a soldier. It fights against tribulations, the Cross, despondency, despair, and waits for better things to come in the midst of evil.
Without hope faith cannot endure. On the other hand, hope without faith is blind rashness and arrogance because it lacks knowledge. Before anything else a Christian must have the insight of faith, so that the intellect may know its directions in the day of trouble and the heart may hope for better things. By faith we begin, by hope we continue.

In hope, may you remain in the one true faith to life everlasting.