The Christian’s hope is the sure and steadfast anchor for his or her soul, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast…” (Heb. 5:19a). What was the hope to which the inspired writer was referring? And, just what is hope anyway? The English word “hope” is defined by Dictionary.com as, “A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment…” The Greek word most often translated as hope in the New Testament carries the idea of anticipation with joy and confidence.
Simply put, hope is a desire plus a realistic expectation of its eventual fulfillment. The particular hope that is referred to by the Hebrew writer is God’s promise of eternal salvation to all who are faithful and obedient to him, as expressed in Heb. 6:9-11 “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end…”
Hope is also a realistic expectation that is based upon evidence, “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us…” (Heb. 6:18). The evidence for our hope of salvation is based on two indisputable facts. The first of these immutable facts is that it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2). Therefore, He will perform his oaths and promises, even as He did with Abraham (Heb. 6:12-17). The second immutable fact is that Christ made it possible for sinful man to be reconciled to back to God (Heb. 6:19-20; Eph. 2:14-16). Heb. 6:19b-20 states “…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.” “That within the veil…” refers to the Holy of Holies within the tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was kept and where only the high priest could enter. The ark represented the presence of God. Therefore, to enter “within the veil” means to come into the presence of God. Christ, as the “forerunner” for us, has gone before to make a way for us to follow so that we too, could enjoy the presence of God in eternity, even as he promised in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Christ is the forerunner of our salvation and He is the Eternal High Priest who mediates between man and God, bringing reconciliation. Thus He is, “an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
Hope is what enables Christian to withstand the various storms of life. Without the Christian hope to anchor his soul, man will drift through life without any direction; driven to and fro with every wind and current that comes along. Man’s only hope is in Jesus Christ. Our hope is founded upon the immutable facts of God’s faithfulness and of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
Another interesting fact about anchors is that the more wind blows and the current strains against a firmly grounded anchor, the deeper into the sea floor it digs and the more firmly it holds on. The same is true with our anchoring hope. Paul describes this process taking place as we patiently endure hardship and tribulation, “and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us…” (Rom. 5:2-5) This anchoring of hope can also be strengthened as we observe how other faithful children of God were able to endure the trials and hardships because of the hope that God provides, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Rom. 15:4).
Truly, “We have an anchor that keeps the soul stedfast and sure while the billows roll; Fastened to the rock which cannot move; Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.” -Priscilla Owens, 1882.