Hope vs. Optimism

As we have been studying through 1 Peter together, we have thought much about hope. Peter begins the letter by saying that as Christians, we “have been born again to a living hope” (1:3). Often when we speak of hope today, we simply mean “wishful thinking”. Biblical hope is so much more than wishful thinking. J.I. Packer explains this well when he explains the difference between hope and optimism. Packer wrote:

We can…clearly see that the word hope signifies two distinct, though related, realities. Objectively, it means the divinely guaranteed prospect before us; subjectively, it means the activity or habit of looking forward to the day when what is promised will become ours in actual enjoyment. It is thus quite distinct from optimism. Optimism hopes for the best without any guarantee of its arriving and is often no more than whistling in the dark. Christian hope, by contrast, is faith looking ahead to the fulfillment of the promises of God…Optimism is a wish without a warrant; Christian hope is a certainty, guaranteed by God himself. Optimism reflects ignorance as to whether good things will ever actually come. Christian hope expresses knowledge that each day of his life, and every moment beyond it, the believer can say with truth, on the basis of God’s own commitment, that the best is still to come. (Never Beyond Hope, pg. 15, emphasis mine)

Thanks be to God for the hope we have in Christ. As Peter says, it is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (Christian)” (1:4).

About Pastor Matt

Matt Baker is the Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship Church.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.