Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec, (Heb. 6:19-20KJV).
“Hope” in the Scriptures refers to the confident expectation we enjoy as Christians. It involves an anticipation of great things ahead. It operates as an “anchor” because it keeps us focused on eternity, rather than drifting off into the distractions of our earthly voyage, the despair or hopelessness of being lost. Because of the hope we have in Jesus, Christians can remain tethered, firm and steadfast amid the storms and trials of life. As Priscilla Owens so poetically reminded us, “We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll; fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love!” (see Col. 1:23).
Our anchor of hope is both “sure and stedfast.” The word “sure” means secure, certain, safe. It’s like stepping upon a well-constructed ladder which is on firm, level ground. We don’t have to worry about it giving way, because it is safe and dependable. Like a “helmet” it provides safety and security, (1 Thess. 5:8). The word “stedfast” means stable and continuing. Again, it suggests dependability, constancy. We can know it will always be there. Even entering into the “veil” of death, the Christian can maintain constant and abiding hope in Jesus Christ. He is not going to desert us at the crucial time.
The word “hope” appears many times in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. In the Old, it was often associated with God’s people, as “the hope of Israel.” God allows us to enjoy peace in this life because our flesh shall “rest in hope,” (Ps. 16:9). This feeling of security is well-founded because we “hope in the Lord,” (Ps. 31:24). Death is not dreaded by God’s child because “the righteous hath hope in his death,” (Prov. 14:32KJV). While life remains, there is hope, (Eccl. 9:4). Our ancestors who were faithful to the Lord, though departed, approached death full of hope, (Jer. 50:7). The Lord will continue to be “the hope of his people,” (Joel 3:16), and as we today read and meditate upon the Old Testament, living a life of patient faithfulness, it produces a comforting hope, (Rom. 15:4).
In the New Testament, this powerful theme of hope and comfort continues. Paul proclaimed that it was because of “the hope and resurrection of the dead” that he had been called in question, (Acts 23:6). Before Felix he acknowledged having “hope toward God… that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust,” (Acts 24:15). Later, after his appeal to Cesar, Paul would confirm that it was “because of the hope of Israel” that he was bound, (Acts 28:20). Indeed, Christ Jesus is our hope, (1 Tim. 1:1).
Practically every page of the New Testament is sprinkled with hope. Paul understood that our father, Abraham, maintained hope, even when all hope was seemingly gone, (Rom. 4:16-18); and that we Christians rejoice “in hope of the glory of God,” (Rom. 5:2). It’s what keeps Christians persistently faithful and strong, even in the face of trials and tribulations. It’s what keeps us from being ashamed in the face of criticism and mockery. What is it that allows a Christian to maintain a mindset of confidence and rejoicing, even when all the world seems to be against him? Hope! (Eph. 1:18; 4:4). Christians are different from worldly people because of the Hope which is within them, (1 Pet. 3:15; cf. 1 Jn. 3:3). The presence of Christ in our hearts and lives is truly the “hope of glory,” (Col. 1:27). Thus we frequently see the New Testament writers expressing their fervent prayer and desire that we may be filled by God with all joy and peace in believing, and that we may “abound in hope,” (Rom. 15:13). Hope gets us through this life because it envisions things in the next, (compare 1 Cor. 13:13 and 15:19; Gal. 5:5). It allows us to speak boldly about things which the world needs to know, (2 Cor. 3:12), including how to get to heaven, where our “hope is laid up,” (Col. 1:5). It allows us even in the face of death itself to “sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope,” (1 Thess. 4:13). Every day, Christians live “in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal,” (Titus 1:2; cf. 2:13; 3:7). Christians, thank God for our hope!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.