We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the Word of Truth of the Gospel. (Colossians 1:3–5—NKJV)

Hope is the bolsterer of the human soul. When all hope is lost, then life is lost. Hope is a word that, for our current culture, carries a nuance of emotion and feeling, a dreamy quality, and is equated to wishful and wistful desires. Hope is often used in contexts such as, “I hope so,” “hopefully,” and “My hope is that….” This nuance is unknown to the biblical concept of hope and it is a shame that we have forgotten the certainty that used to attend the word in bygone days.

My English dictionary has this entry, “archaic: to place trust, rely, confident expectation; to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence, to feel that something desired may happen.” Not that very long ago it was expected that young ladies, in anticipation of their wedding, would prepare their trousseau by placing linens, clothing, and sometimes dishware in a specially-made chest. The chest would often be made of cedar and decorated according to the taste of the individual. The box, being gradually filled with dreams, happiness, and visions of the life to come, was called a hope chest. This sense of the word hope seems to retain the biblical use of the word hope.

The closest definition of the biblical word is “a favorable and confidant expectation.” One of the reasons that wishful thinking has no real relation to the biblical word is the fact that the believer’s hope is not energized by individual effort but is invested solely in the nature and ability of God! With God there is no wishing, nail-biting, or “knock-on-wood.” Remember: God is nothing if He is not able, and He is not God if He is not Truth. Our text points out the fact that hope and faith are inseparable since they are fully resting on the one principle of the faithfulness of God. Romans 15:13 prays, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in (literally—while) believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” The verse is not stating that God is the Subject of hope, rather He is the Author of hope!

In our text for today, Paul is giving thanks for the Colossian believers for their transformed lives of love for each other which arises from the “chest” full of hope which is “laid away” for them in heaven, based on the promises of the Gospel good news. Romans 8:24–25 illustrates this truth: “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” As the MacArthur Study Bible states, hope “contains no uncertainty; it speaks of something that is certain, but not yet realized.” Romans 5:2 reads, “through [our Lord Jesus Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” The believer’s inheritance, his chest full of hope, is not only laid-up in glory, but it is also laid-out in the glory of God. Psalm 16:5–6 puts it this way, “O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant place; Yes, I have a good inheritance.”

Every single believer has a treasure chest full to the brim of hope laid-by, in store, in glory. 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 speaks of good hope: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” Titus 2:13 concerning the believer’s blessed hope instructs us, “Looking for the blessed hope and [even] glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:3–4 goes so far as to call the believers hope a living hope: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

How blessed we are that born-again saints, washed in the blood of the Lamb of God, can never lose this incredible inheritance recognized as salvation! You will notice from many of the verses we reviewed that such solid belief leads to humble obedience and faithful service while we await the blessed hope! Trust and obey.